This weekend we are celebrating 10 years - I honestly can't tell you where the time flew and how we got here but here we are.
Fall is my absolute favourite season so it makes sense that we got married in the fall. Hard to imagine that we are celebrating 10 years married. Along the way we have learned a lot and we have come to the conclusion that marriage is fun and it's what you make it.
1. Marriage is your biggest career decision
My hubby always says that marriage is a career. My variation to that is that marriage is your biggest career decision. The person you are partnered with will determine how you far you can go - they will either make or break your path. When we were dating I was really clear that I had big dreams and I wanted to BUILD together and he not only supported this he has shown through and through that he meant what he said.
2. Marriage is patience
And by patience I mean endurance and perseverance. Once the niceties are done and the cake is finished and everyone goes to their corners and once you are done with playing nice, your real personalities come out and it takes patience to work through your weaknesses and insecurities - LOVINGLY. You will always LOVE your partner but sometimes you will not like them. They will yawn too loudly, or squeeze the toothpaste from the wrong side. You have to work through these and get through those seasons even the extended ones.
3. Build each other UP
Sometimes you have to see the pretty parts in your partner when they can't see it for themselves. Its being a coach, it is praying for him, its prodding and pushing and yes sometimes its backing the heck up and giving them space to become. It is having a front row seat to the work that God is doing in his life and knowing when to interfere and when to back up. Just like baking is messy before the ingredients all come together, it requires you to trust the process sometimes for him so that you can get through to the other side.
4. Learn to celebrate even when you are not winning
Both hubby and I have had seasons where we are not winning when the other person is. I remember when doors were opening in my career while things seemed SHUT in his. I had to celebrate my own success without gloating and he had to celebrate my success even though he was hurting. The tables got turned when I had the accident and was at home and things were quite gloomy for me while doors started opening for him. You don't always win at the same time but when you know that you take his success as yours and vice versa it helps you work through those times when you seem to be in different seasons.
5. Remember the 80/20 rule
Especially when you're fighting. At the beginning its so easy to sprinkle your marriage with a million I love you's and I believe in yous. But with time, you begin to focus on what's not working because those are the things that frustrate you and are therefore front and centre. Just as with ourselves, we can spit out a million things we don't like about ourselves, slowly it becomes that - we often default to the parts that aren't working. Hubby and I were praying and thanking God for the past 10 years and when we began to name the things that were working and that were blessings they far outweighed the frustrations. Don't quit because 20% isn't working: focus and build on the 80% that's working and bring to remembrance the things that are working especially when you're frustrated. Bonus: take the 20% to God in prayer instead of trying to suss it out of your partner. I am working at this latter part.🤐
6. Have at least ONE trusted couple you can confide in
One of the myths we hear is keep your business private and don't let ANYBODY into your marriage. While there is SOME truth to this, it keeps a lot of couples in marriage prison where they have to keep up appearances meanwhile they are suffering in silence. While posting all your business online is not wise, you need to have at least ONE couple that you can trust to talk real talk. We have three couples and they talk real with us and we talk real with them and it HELPS!
7. Marriage is a blessing🙌
There's a lot of trash talking marriage but let me tell you marriage is a blessing. The person I have become after 10 years is so much MORE than who I was 10 years ago. I am less selfish, I am more loving, more patient, I am more empathetic, more compassionate, I have crushed more goals and achieved more that I ever could on my own. Hubby helped me finish my PhD by encouraging me, taking the toddler out so I could work. I had given up and he helped get me to the finish line. Marriage makes you MORE!
8. Parenthood will change you
The dynamic changes when kids enter into the equation. If you thought adjusting to living with and doing life with the hubby was an adjustment, the biggest adjustment of all happens when kids enter in. From the sleepless nights which lead you to be impatient with each other to having to build your whole schedule around childcare and kids activities: it is a MAJOR adjustment. The biggest part of my resentment to hubby came when the kids came because it felt that MORE is always expected of mothers and yet any and all things father's do is HYPER celebrated never mind that we did the same thing 🙄. I am still getting over it but we are working through shared responsibilities and I am making my peace with the fact that our journey as parents is different our goal is to do the best for our kids. Having kid-free time is important too even if you can't do it regularly - take a day off when the kids are in school/daycare and enjoy some quality kid-free time.
9. Strive to be in agreement🤝
One of the BEST pieces of advice we got when we were dating was to do as much as we can in agreement. In 10 years, what we have learned is that you have to STRIVE to be in agreement. Disagreeing is so EASY but agreement takes compromise, putting aside your own thoughts and listening. Whenever we have done things in DISAGREEMENT it literally falls apart before our eyes. But in agreement, its hard but the outcome is always a blessing.
Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion for there the LORD commanded the blessing - life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3)
10. Keep it spicy! 🌶
This one doesn't need explanation. Make-up with the same level of passion that you fight. Have your little routines 😉. Don't use sex as a weapon. Enjoy and discover each other. Replesh your lingerie collection. If you haven't renewed your lingerie since you got married, this is your reminder: do it on your/his birthday and valentines day and that way at least twice a year you'll have something new. Heal emotionally so you can connect and enjoy each other. Enjoy the unlimited access that marriage accords you in JOY.