Brandon and I celebrated TEN years of marriage last week! I truly can’t believe it! And while I wish I could report that every single day was wedded bliss, I just can’t. But most days are pretty dang good, and I’ve learned a lot about relationships in the past decade.
So today, let’s talk about marriage.
1.It’s hard work
I’d like to think that when people see Brandon and me, they see a couple who really loves each other. But loving each other and staying married doesn’t just happen because you said your vows at some point in the past. Nope. You actually have to work at marriage. The relationship can’t stay strong if you aren’t dedicated to it. You have to talk, communicate, challenge each other, be there for each other, and sometimes sacrifice to make a marriage last. And that takes work!
2. The grass is NOT always greener
In an Instagram world, it’s so easy to compare our marriages to others’ marriages. We might think that someone else has the perfect spouse, or that we’d be happier if only (fill in the blank). But comparing marriages doesn’t help—it actually HURTS. And who knows if the marriage we see on social media is the real deal anyway!? So stop the comparison and focus on the marriage you do have and how you can make it stronger.
3. Compromise is a must
News Flash: You will not always agree on everything. There are going to be times when you have to sit down together and figure out the best way to move forward. Sometimes, there’s a perfect middle ground, and other times…not so much. You’ve got to be able to give a little in a relationship.
4. It should be fun
Remember how much fun it was in the beginning? It should stay that way! Yeah, of course you’ll lose the new-ness of the relationship, but it doesn’t mean you should lose the fun. Laughing together, inside jokes, finding similar interests, watching a movie you both love, or anything else that brings enjoyment should stick around no matter how long you’ve been together.
5. Having kids makes marriage harder
Back before kids, it was so easy to do to dinner, to have fun together. Now, it seems like we can hardly get a sentence out before someone needs something. Forget going on dates! Even though we have kids, and it does make it harder to connect and communicate with each other, we make a point to spend time together every night after the kids are in bed.
6. God is pro-marriage
God designed marriage, and He wants it to be held in the highest regard. Marriage was made to be forever. Through the great times and the really, really bad times.
7. Honesty is the best policy (mostly)
Be honest in your marriage. Have open and truthful communication. Don’t shy away from conversations that need to be had just because it might get a little uncomfortable. BUT: Even though it’s good to be honest, that doesn’t mean every little thing that pops into your head needs to be said aloud. You realllly don’t need to tell me that my outfit isn’t cute or my teeth could use a good brushing. (Not that Brandon does this. It’s just the example that came to me!!)
8. You should share the same values
I’m gonna call it like I see it–don’t hate. But I don’t get it when couples don’t share the same beliefs and values. I mean, not liking the same sports team is one thing. But if the things that are important to one are not important at all to the other, how do you find the balance? If the beliefs are polar opposites, how does a couple reconcile that? What about when kids come along? Again…I get that not everyone agrees with my assessment, but I personally think that a big reason my marriage works is because we have the same belief system.
9. Selfishness won’t get you far
Sure, I suppose you can be married and be selfish. I just don’t think it’s a great recipe for success. Thinking of and anticipating the needs of your spouse is a way to show them how much you love them. In the marriages I admire, both people are not only doing things for the other, but also showing appreciation when something is done for them.
10. If you’re married, it’s the most important relationship you have on Earth
My most important relationship in my life is the one I have with Jesus, which is why I added “on Earth” to number 10. But after Jesus, you know who I want to spend the most time with? My husband. And I have the proof too: We are married, we work together, and he is also the photographer and webmaster of this blog. (#instahusband) Yes, I absolutely want to spend time with my beautiful kids. Right now, our kids are young and need us practically every moment, so date nights and epic conversations might go to the wayside a little too often. But our kids are going to grow up. And I don’t want to be another example of an empty-nester divorce. So I’m going to take the time now and, well, forever, to make sure I’m paying attention to my marriage.
I am so thankful for my husband. We’ve been together for FIFTEEN YEARS (and obviously married for ten) and I know how much of a pain I can be. And still, day after day, he loves me! Mostly.
What do you think truth #11 should be?!?