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 😉
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂