In honor of our tenth anniversary, here are 10 lessons I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage! I hope they encourage and help you!
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This week (June 19), Levon and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary!
And while we’re not marriage experts by any means, we have learned a few things that have helped us survive, thrive, and build a beautiful marriage this past decade together.
Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage:
10 Marriage Lessons From 10 Years
1. APPRECIATE YOUR DIFFERENCES
If you’re anything like us (and the majority of married couples out there), you and your spouse are probably pretty different. You think differently, act differently, have different preferences and opinions, and may even have different priorities.
That’s ok! In fact… that’s great! Our differences are what make marriage such a good partnership. When we learn to appreciate them and capitalize on them, our whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Related Post: How Marriage Is Like a Puzzle
2. You can’t change your spouse
While we’re on the topic of differences — if you’re feeling frustrated that you can’t change some aspect of your spouse’s personality, character, or behavior, just stop. You’re most likely never going to, and all your attempts are only going to frustrate both of you.
Only God (via the Holy Spirit) can change a person’s heart, so give it over to Him! Pray over your spouse and ask God to do the kind of work only He can do.
In the meantime, focus on what you can control — YOU! Ask God what needs to change in you, concentrate on your own growth, and seek to be the best wife/mother/woman of God you can be.
3. Focusing on “Fair” will get you nowhere
Inevitably in marriage, there will come a time when each spouse thinks he/she is carrying more weight than the other. This leads to thoughts of “It’s not fair!” But this is rarely a good road to go down, as it almost always leads to bitterness and resentment.
The reality in most healthy (keyword: healthy!) marriages is that you are both likely carrying more than your “fair” share at different points and in different seasons. That’s life! And marriage.
The key is to communicate, communicate, communicate! Share your feelings with each other, and consider sitting down sometime to draw up an arrangement and distribution of responsibilities you both can agree on.
4. A Partnership mindset is key
Marriage works best when we stop thinking about “me versus you” and more about “us versus [insert situation here].”
Instead of seeking our own desires, trying to prove we’re right, or fighting to come out on top, we need to think of our spouse as our partner, taking on the issues of life together.
5. There are seasons of not feeling “in love”
I don’t care what anyone says or what you see on TV, there are absolutely seasons of marriage when you won’t feel “in love.” Expecting otherwise is a recipe for discontent, discouragement, and disappointment. Not to mention giving up when the going gets tough!
These “dry” seasons aren’t cause for alarm, however. Rather, they’re opportunities to choose love. To show true love — love that is action, not emotion.
And this is the kind of love that will deepen your marriage beyond those superficial butterfly feelings.
6. Intimacy takes intention
Having said that, there are absolutely things you can do to keep the spark alive, and it takes a lot of intentionality.
Choose to continue to pursue your spouse. Choose to work to deepen your intimacy. And choose to focus on his/her positive attributes.
The irony is that oftentimes, our spouse’s biggest annoyances are flipsides of the very things that attracted us in the first place! Which means we have to be intentional about which perspective we’re going to dwell on on a daily basis.
7. Kids add extra challenge
On that note, I’ve also learned that kids make intimacy (of all kinds, not just the obvious) in marriage extra challenging. The busyness, the demands, the exhaustion… not to mention the disagreements that pop up over raising them!
That’s why it becomes even more crucial to be super intentional about investing in time (alone) together to deepen your relationship and keep it a priority.
Related Post: 10 Practical Ways to Put Your Husband First
8. Marriage is full of spirals
Marriage (and relationships, in general) are full of spirals. When we love our spouse well, it sets us on an upward spiral. When we treat our spouse badly, it sets us on a downward spiral.
Therefore, always try to be the one to set it on an upward path.
It may not seem “fair”, but in a downward spiral, someone has to decide to reverse the direction or it will only continue to worsen. And as I said before, the only person each of us can control is him/herself.
Apply the golden rule, and seek to meet your spouse’s needs as you want him or her to meet your own.
9. Use your words carefully (and maybe sparingly!)
I’m a talker and a wordsmith by trade, so I’m pretty comfortable using my words. Unfortunately, that sometimes gets me into trouble.
One of the biggest and hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in marriage is the importance of biting my tongue. Nagging, criticizing, needlessly arguing, responding unkindly… all of these are damaging to a marriage.
I’m learning to ask myself before I speak, “Will this edify my marriage or tear it down?” “Will it lead to reconciliation or further division?” And, in the words of Karen Ehman, “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”
10. Don’t avoid the ugly — work through it
As an enneagram 9, there’s little I dread more than conflict, especially ones that have the potential to get heated.
But I’ve had to learn not to avoid them, but rather to lean into them. To see them as opportunities for growth rather than something to fear.
In the same way that some things need to be taken apart before they can be fixed, some of our most difficult conflicts — the ones I dreaded and avoided for so long — actually ended up making us stronger and closer than ever.
Those are 10 marriage lessons I’ve learned over the past 10 years, though there are many others I could have shared.
What about you? How many years have you been married, and what are some of the lessons you’ve learned? Share in the comments below!
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