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10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

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Lauren and Gordon

If you are a follower of mine on Instagram, you saw that yesterday Gordon and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. Holla! Can you even believe that? TEN years. Holy moly. In those ten years, we did a TON of stuff like move a bunch of times, graduate with our bachelors degrees, have three kids, buy and sell two houses, put my husband through grad school and start this wee little blog of mine. If you wanted to, you can go back and read through my archives all about our lives from the time this blog started when we had one very little Brookie cookie up until now.

So, I thought I’d write a quick post about the things I’ve learned in marriage, since I’m like an expert now. Ten years means expert, right? I thought so 😉

  1. Be as selfless as possible. Someone at some point gave me this sound marriage advice when we were engaged (I have a really great memory, clearly), and as I have thought it through and tried to exude this characteristic over these last 10 years, I’ve found it is totally true! If you are selfless in your marriage, meaning putting your spouse first before yourself, then everything else seems to fall into place. I think a lot of arguments happen in life because of selfishness. So, we try to be the exact opposite of that.
  2. Agree to disagree. I suppose this is the most basic principle there is to marriage, but compromising on things is probably a forte of ours. We have come to realize what is really important in life and me proving that lemon cake is waaaay better than chocolate is just something that will never get resolved. (Our personalities really help our cause: we hate confrontation. We never yell or fight….disagreements, yes! But nothing beyond that.)
  3. Give in a little. Out of the small little disagreements we have, and even in our day to day conversations, I think it’s human nature to want to have the last word, to be right, to want to paint the front door red because YESITREALLYLOOKSBETTER, or to convince your partner into wanting to go to Olive Garden instead of Red Lobster. But sometimes, its good to give them what they want because at the end of the day, Red Lobster is nearly as good as Olive Garden, right? And 95% of the time, I like to go to bed happy. (See #7)
  4. Tell your spouse exactly what you want. Men aren’t mind readers. And they surprisingly won’t take offense if you say “honey, I’ll be expecting flowers on Valentine’s Day” or “Before the day is over, I really need you to take the garbage out”. You can’t expect spouses to know on their own what you need and yes, they need to be reminded from time to time, but more often then not, they will get it wrong than right. So set them up for success and tell them your expectations. It makes for a much happier marriage.
  5. Put out a decent amount. I’m exhausted 130% by the time I fall into bed every night, but, sometimes you have to find energy somewhere and make it happen for my husband’s sake. Plus, you know what makes spouses waaaaaay more likely to help around the house when you ask? Putting out.
  6. Find out their love languages and do something about it. A few years ago, I took the free love languages test online and emailed the results to my husband. (Not even a little bit ashamed about it.) I think its important to note that I made him take the test later too. It has been SO helpful!! Now I know that he appreciates words of affirmation way more than anything else and I can ensure he feels love from me. Seriously, so helpful.
  7. Go to bed ticked off. But wake up with a clear head.(Gasp!! So controversial!!) I know of a lot people recommending never going to bed angry, but you know what? 99% of the time, my exhaustion is a big contributor to the disagreement in the first place. Therefore, I just go to bed and work it out in the morning, which mostly just consists of “do you remember why I was mad at you last night? No? Me either.” Works like a charm. Haha!
  8. Be honest. Problems get solved when you tell the truth. It’s like magic! Being upfront is way better in the long run, instead of trying to hide secrets…unless the secrets have something to do with an impromptu tropical getaway. Just throwing that out there.
  9. Try!! Everyday, regardless of whats going on around us, I’m consistently looking for ways to make my husband smile or ease his load. He likes certain foods, he likes my hair a certain way, he appreciates other little, totally random things that I’ve learned over the years so, I cater to those needs and he does the same.
  10. Time away from each other. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but in my experience, distance DOES make the heart grow fonder…especially when it has been…cough cough…8 months of training for a certain someone’s new job. You don’t know what you got til it’s gone, folks! If you’re the one away from the spouse and family, its a great opportunity to recharge, rest and come back refreshed! If you’re the one staying back, it’s a surefire way to create appreciation the other person. “we missed you so much while you were gone; never leave us!” It really can help in small doses 🙂


So there you have it! My list of ten things I’ve learned in my marriage.

What were the hardest years of marriage for you? A lot of people told me year 7 was hard and year 9 was hard. Thoughts? How long have you been married?

Also, don’t you love the love languages? It is making a world of difference 🙂

Lauren and Gordon

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47 Responses
  1. This Week at the Brennan's | Lauren's Latest

    […] to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary together somewhere warm and sunny. (Recommend reading this post.) If you have any recommendations for us, please leave a comment. Also looking for easy, fun, […]

  2. Denise Fonda

    Lauren, I previously read this blog, however, didn’t comment at the time. I wanted to tell you that, in October, 2017, my husband and I celebrated 46 years of marriage. With the things you’ve listed in Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage, I think you and Gordon are on your way to many great years ahead. Thank you for sharing with us.

  3. Katie Semrad

    LOVED this article. I’ve only been married for just coming up on 2 years next week and ALL of those ten points ring soooo true. One of the biggest things we’ve found helps with things is the Love Languages. Understanding how you feel loved and how your spouse feels loved is a huge thing for us because our love languages are so different.

  4. Judy DeLacy

    Whoever gave you those tips regarding marriage is a smart person. I have three married children and have passed along advice very similar to those you posted. So many young married couples think marriage is a 50-50 agreement. It’s not…it should be 100-100. Each giving a 100% of themselves and being selfless, as you said. Honestly and good communication is also key. As you said, your spouse is not a mind reader. I also told my kids to pick and choose their battles. When things don’t go exactly as they’d like, I’d tell them, “build a bridge and get over it.” there are more important things in life to work out. I’m so happy for you and Gordon and wish you both many, many more blissful years of marriage.

    P.S. Having God the center of your marriage is of the utmost importance.

    P.P.S. Gordon looks pretty cool with hair. You both look beautiful in your wedding picture. That’s not to say you’re not a great looking couple now.. The shaved head look is very trendy these days. 🙂

  5. Skylar Munster

    Loved reading this and all of your thoughts! Newlywed here going on 4 months of marriage so thank you for sharing your advice and tips that you have learned over 10 years!! 🙂 Also love that you are going on a vacation to celebrate! Have you thought of renewing your vows for any specific “years of marriage” if you will?

  6. Deb Showalter

    Omg….putting out makes spouses WAYYYYYYYY more likely to help out, so funny you said the words we all know are true. Thank you for putting together this list, all very valid points, very good things to remember, although I never thought to figure out my husband’s love language. I’ve figured out the kids but not the hubby ☹ Bad wife, have to pull the book out tonight.

  7. Megan McInturff

    I totally agree with the afeee to disagree! Sometimes it’s not worth it to say something out of anger that you can’t take back!

  8. Amanda Elliott

    Thank you so much for little insight into your relationship! Your advice seems like something that can be applied to all types of relationships and I will definitely be using this advice in mine, especially the going to be bed when ticked off, as I totally just fight till the end sometimes and it doesn’t solve anything

  9. Richelle

    I love this post. As a mama of 4 kiddos myself I have followed your blog for many years. I have to agree with all them…especially the putting out, haha. It really does make a happier life.

  10. Aubrie Hansen

    I love that you say to go to bed angry, it totally works! We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year as well. Year 1-2 were the hardest and thankfully never had he “7year itch”.

  11. Sara

    Congratulations on hitting 10 years!! That’s so exciting for you guys! Also I loved this list! The expectation one especially I think is so important!!

  12. Lora Wilson

    Thanks for sharing! My husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage in April! 10 years and 5 kids for us! I love your blog!

  13. Melissa

    Number 7 is so true! Sometimes I just need to go to bed. Then usually I wake up much happier and level headed. Sleep does wonders!!

  14. Dennis Rutherford

    Congratulations on 8 years. I appreciate all the tips you’ve given. I’ve only been married for 6 months now so I haven’t passed that Honeymoon bliss stage yet but I take in all the information I can.

    Also the #5 comment stood out to me, in that it felt like you were uncomfortable talking about it but still felt that it was important to say. I read it when you posted it and had expected you would have revised it but still, I appreciated that it is there and sent my wife to this page to read all of your tips.

    1. Lauren

      Oh no, not at all uncomfortable talking about it!! I get red flagged by google as a ‘different’ kind of site if I start using more specific terms if you know what I mean 😉

  15. Bonnie Hepworth

    Thank you for your post I love it when people celebrate the reality of marriage, its highs and lows! Congratulations on 10 years!

  16. Emily Prine

    I love this! This June my husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage as well. We also have three littles about the same ages as yours. It’s busy, but so fun!

  17. Laura O.

    I most definitely agree with #7. We go to bed ticked off and all seems less serious in the morning… and we don’t hash it out angry and say things we don’t mean!

  18. Vanessa Sanders

    I absolutely love this post because I love you two!! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years but I am so grateful that I got to be around for the beginning of those 10! (Btw…holy cow! 10 years!!) After you took the love languages test I did it too and it helped me to know myself and my needs so much better. I think it’s super smart! You both are wonderful and I love ya both tons!! Here’s to another 10!!

  19. Stacey

    Happy 10 year anniversary!! I️ love following along on your family’s journey and enjoying all your recipes! Congratulations on the first decade, and here’s to many more!

  20. Colleen

    I absolutely affirm your “it’s OK to let the sun set on your anger” sentiment. We have a saying we live by in our house: “The shortest path between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” I am never still upset with my husband of 28 years after some shut-eye! Blessings on your sweet marriage and happy anniversary!

  21. Jody Carr

    This list rings true no matter how many years! We celebrated our 21st anniversary this summer. There are so many things I wished I would have done differently as a wife, but so thankful he loves me no matter what!

  22. Jordan

    I think this list is excellent. I’m not married (yet) but still am always looking for ways to be the best future spouse i can be!

  23. Rachel J

    Congratulations Lauren and Gordon! What a feat! I’ve followed along for many years now and it’s been so fun to see your family grow and you two grow together and stronger! 🙂

  24. Deborah’s

    Happy 10 year wedding and 8 year Anniversaries! I may argue with you on one point – married 32 years and have never gone to bed angry !! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  25. Debbie Mikesell

    Where have all the years gone? Seems like yesterday we were playing Phase 10 and laughing around your parents’ dining table. ???? It is wonderful to see you so happy. Here’s to many more anniversaries for you two.

  26. Janelle

    Congrats on 10 years! Love all the advice; spot on! We did a ‘little’ getaway for our 10 year last year and didn’t realize how badly we needed it until it happened- enjoy!!

  27. Kathryn Johnson

    Happy anniversary! We just celebrated 12 years in September, but finally had a little trip last week. I agree with all of the things you have learned as well. Marriage is awesome, and I’m grateful I’m married to my best friend.

  28. karlee wallin

    My husband and I are approaching 10 years next year and I loved this post. Especially your mention of the Love Languages – it actually got us chatting about it and we took the test. This was so valuable, thank you!!

  29. Jennifer

    Love this advice! My husband and I have been married 8 & 1/2 years and it’s still work! But worth it! Congrats on 10 years, you still look as fabulous today as your wedding day!

  30. Cynthia Birt

    Hey Lauren I Love your blog it brings a smile to my face… I recommend it all the time when people are looking for recipes haha .. I am so happy you found your forever with your hubby what a wonderful blessing to have forever with the ones we love you are a wonderful mom and wife ❤️

  31. Autumn Vigil

    I seriously love your posts and look forward to them. This one is no different, you never disappoint! #5 totally caught me off guard and I just had to laugh. You always keep it so real and don’t hold back. But seriously, #5 is definitely important for our marriage ????

  32. Stephanie Diaz

    My husband and I have been married 17 years this past June.. I agree with your list considering now he is away more for work. We sometimes only see him from Friday night’s to Sunday night. He leaves around 4 am on Mondays and we are not even up yet. Our rough patch was year 5 and year 12.. He started a new job and all the fun began. Traveling in and around the world. We have spent birthdays apart as well as holidays so I cherish everything he brings me and does for me. I dislike that txt has become our new method of verbiage and video chat is sometimes the only way we see each other.. We have our 4 minions and love each other more now than probably before..

  33. De

    I’ve been married for 23 years…time sure flies by fast. Love your list and is on point. Wishing you many more years of happiness and love together.

  34. Kara

    My husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary in October- we have been together for six years. I love your advice! We took the love languages test a few months ago and it has seriously made such a big difference. We have always had a really strong relationship but now we understand each other so much better. Thanks for your tips! I love your blog and recipes.

  35. Kimberli

    Happy Anniversary!! We celebrated 11 yrs this year…I don’t remember any particular year being harder then another because we’ve had struggles even before we got married. Due to my husband’s kidney failure, subsequent transplant & losing our first pregnancy to miscarriage, all in our first year of marriage, we learned very quickly how unimportant the small things are & how precious life is. Communication & selflessness are so important for sustaining a healthy marriage! Thank you for keeping it real on your blog, I love reading it! Enjoy having your family all under one roof!!

  36. Kathy

    Hello–I really enjoy your blog. My husband and I just celebrated 31 years and I could not agree more to your list of 10! You’ve got it!!! Happy Anniversary and wishing you many more!!!

  37. Dawn

    I just joined the 10 year club too 🙂 This list was wonderfully written and I relate to these points as well. Thank you for providing the love languages link – I have been curious to discover my own love language for a little while but hadn’t gone looking for the resources yet. Congratulations on your anniversary!