What 7 Years of Marriage has Taught Me
This past Monday marked 7 years of marriage for us. I feel like that's a big deal! We've had a lot of experiences over these 7 years (more than that if you count friendship + dating time). Many good experiences, our share of bad experiences, but we have faced each storm and sunrise together. We are stronger together now than we have ever been, and I am so excited to see what the next 7+ years have in store for us. We've got big plans!
April 22, 2012
So, in honor of our 7 years of marriage, here are 7 things I've learned along the way:
- Marriage is work. It is hard work, it is rewarding work, it is absolutely worth it work, but it is work. You cannot expect to get married and everything will always be wonderful without putting time and effort into it. A neglected marriage will quickly become an unhappy marriage. Put the work in. It's worth it.
- Communication is key. You need to be on the same page as your spouse, and in order for that to happen, you need to communicate. You can't just guess at what your spouse wants & wishes are - you actually have to take the time to discuss these things. And when talking, don't listen to formulate a response - listen to truly listen. If you are trying to figure out what your response will be while your spouse is talking, then you aren't truly listening.
- Enjoy time together. I know this one can be tricky to find time just the two of you - especially if you're both working, or you have kids, other obligations, or all of the above. But it doesn't have to be big. One of our favorite things to do together is to cuddle up on the couch together and rewatch Santa Clarita Diet (for the 90th time...). But it's nice, because we can have a random free hour and we look at each other and say, "hey, want to watch some Santa Santa?" - super easy, small time commitment, and we really enjoy doing that together. (P.S. - we call it "Santa Santa" because we tried to get Alex to say "Santa Clarita Diet" and his response was "Santa Santa". He still struggles with speaking, but he's getting better. And no, the kids don't watch the show.)
- Complement in public, discuss in private. Complements are nice, and can be done anywhere, publicly when you're out and about, or privately in your own home. But discussions should be kept private. Don't air your "dirty laundry". The only people in your marriage are you and your spouse. Discussions need to happen (see number 2 above), but they don't need to happen in front of other people or at inappropriate times.
- Don't talk down to each other. You both will have different opinions on many things. Use these differing opinions as a conversation or healthy debate. Don't turn it into an "I'm right, you're wrong" contest. Marriage is not about winning. It's about learning from each other, growing together, and becoming ultimately stronger with your spouse.
- Be flexible. Things rarely go the way you anticipate. Sometimes they turn out worse. But many times, things turn out even better than expected. Our years together have taken a lot of twists and turns, but we are convinced that things have happened the way they needed to. We've gained experience, knowledge, strength, and compassion along the way. Be ready to reinvent yourself, make changes. It's worth it.
- Do things with your spouse that make them happy. Take an interest in your spouse's interests. Whether it's playing a video game together, looking at the 300th (identical looking) RV your spouse wants to buy, or whatever. Even if you aren't as excited about it as they are, it'll still mean a lot to them that you are taking the time to be involved. And who knows, you just might find an interest you never knew you had!
This got pretty long, so I'll end it here. Happy anniversary to us. I can't wait to see what the next years bring!