10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

Hi, friends!

As you guys know, Mal and I recently celebrated the big 1-0 of marriage, and, jeez, does time fly! It feels like just yesterday we were dancing our night away at our wedding.

After experiencing all of the ups, like becoming parents to our tiny human and some of the downs, like facing a chronic illness (and more than a dozen skin cancer scares), we’ve learned our fair share of lessons in this little ol’ life we’ve built together.

I want to share the top 10 things I’ve learned from spending the past 10 years with my favorite guy – and whether you are in a new relationship or have been married for 30 years, I hope they will resonate!  

  1. Just say it already! If something is bothering you, don’t play the passive-aggressive game, no matter how non-confrontational you want to be. Mal or I sometimes do something that the other person finds annoying, and this one thing alone could be easily fixed. However, when we don’t address it immediately, those little things just kept building and building until we have a much bigger problem. So, if something needs to be discussed, do it! Otherwise, you will just waste time and energy.
  2. You can’t change people – they are who they are. Sure, you can do things like help your partner create healthy habits or change how you communicate with each other. But personalities and beliefs are pretty much shaped and set in stone – as well as the good and bad qualities of a person. Over time, we’ve realized that we both have imperfections, and marriage is loving your partner because of them, not in spite of them. Mal’s quirks (and overall weirdness) are why I love him! 
  3. Live according to reality, not expectations. There are going to be times where things don’t go the way you expected. Rather than try to fight it, just accept it and work through it together. Endlessly hoping for something that just won’t happen or for your partner to possess a quality that they never will, just leaves you feeling frustrated. I’ve found that when I accept things for what they are, no matter how much I don’t like it, I’m much less anxious (and annoyed with Mal for no real reason).
  4. History repeats itself – and so do arguments. Many of the problems Mal and I have faced over the years are ones that we had 10 years ago – just altered a bit with age. In fact, we often have a good laugh about how our arguments just play on a repeated loop. They’re nothing major – and we still bicker about them from time-to-time. Some things just don’t change – people included – and that’s okay as long as you can live with it.
  5. Marriage isn’t always 50/50. Of course, that would be ideal, but sometimes reality demands it be 70/30 or 40/60 – and that’s ok! For example, during the school year, I do A LOT to keep our family running – cooking, cleaning, childcare, dog care, etc. But during the summer, Mal takes on a ton of he responsibilities because he’s off from school, and I get a little more me time. In the end, it all evens out. Don’t keep a scorecard – marriage is teamwork! Think about it that way when you’re annoyed that you have to put away the dishes again! 😉
  6. Pick your battles. The random receipts all over the house really, really don’t matter (I promise). Nor do the socks next to the hamper instead of inside it. But, seriously, why?! 🙂 In the day-to-day, little things like this seem like a big deal, but before blowing up, ask yourself – in two years, will this matter? Will you even remember? If the answer is no, let it go.
  7. Have separate interests. Spending time alone developing yourself matters immensely. Plus, sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder! While Mal and I have a lot in common, we each have our own hobbies and pursuits, and we will periodically hang out with our friends separately. Rather than drive us apart, it actually brings us closer together because we can’t wait to see each other and catch up!
  8. Admit when you’re wrong. This is a tough one for me sometimes because I can be a tad stubborn (Mal too). Wanting to be right all the time is only human, and no one wants to backtrack and say they made a mistake. But if you want to find success in your relationship, just bite the bullet and be humble – you will have mutual respect for each other.
  9. Keep falling in love. Ok, I’m going to get a little mushy here, but it’s so important to keep the romance alive. After 10 years of bills, a kiddo, work, struggles, and illness, it’s easy to forget what brought you together in the first place. So, spend time together, even if it’s something as simple as taking a walk. I can’t tell you how important and valuable our regular date nights and happy hours before we pick up Quinn from school are. It gives us a chance to reconnect without the stress of daily life surrounding us.

And lastly…

  1. Laugh!!! Laugh during the fun times. Laugh during the hard times. Laugh when your kid is absolutely losing it in Target. Or at the grocery story. Or at a friend’s party. When all else fails, pour yourself a drink, turn on a funny movie, and just zone out the world together. Life is too short!

Question of the Day

What have you learned from marriage/committed relationship?

 

14 Comments

  1. 11 years today (just 1 official as marriage but 11 living together). I second the laugh, couples that laugh together and drink together stay together. He is my other half, a fantastic dad and my best friend. We survived 16m of sleepless nights so we can do it 🙂 congrats on the 10 years

  2. You have a great list! I especially like the one about letting the little things go. It’s so easy to get catch up in bickering the small stuff. I would add that we have found it is key not to hold grudges and use it as future ammunition in disagreements. Once an issue to addressed it’s done and if it’s a bad habit i haven’t confronted him about yet, it’s not worth throwing in his face as a low blow.

    Also, sticking to “I” statements makes conversation so much less confrontational!

  3. I love #5! Once I left the military, I started making less money than my husband (one year ahead of me in service). It still makes me anxious because he takes care of majority of the finances while I’m pursuing my masters. I have to stop and remind myself that marriage is a team, and that I’ve sacrificed quite a bit to support my husband’s career. Keeping score can be so toxic, and even if my husband doesn’t mind, I’m just dragging myself down.

  4. Love this post! Choosing your battles is a big one for me. I am a neat freak and my husband is NOT. So I just accepted that I will be putting shoes where they belong and wiping up our kitchen counters everyday all day for the rest of my life 🙂 I’m actually more okay with it now that I just let it go and it hardly bothers me now. This is a great list it sounds like you guys have it figured out!

  5. I love this list!! Congrats on a very successful relationship, you guys really seem like you have it figured out. Man is it hard work!

    My husband and I just passed our 13 year mark this past May. One point that really resonated was #7 on your list. Now…that being said we have always had separate interests, or so I thought. Until I realized that HE had lots of separate interests (hunting, golfing, reloading, etc.) and I had NO real passions or interests. I was slacking on working on myself. I was giving everything to my marriage and work. Since changing that little by little, our relationship is blossoming again!

    One thing I have realized is that no matter how bad/hard your day was, if his was worse, yours doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a hierarchy of crappy situations LOL.

  6. Love, love, LOVE this. It rings true even in my relationship of 3 years with my boyfriend Felix. As I’m sure you know (because I’ve been talking about it nonstop), we just moved from D.C. to Southern California. We’re finally, finally getting rid of the boxes in our home, but life lately has been a whirlwind of tasks, duties, responsibilities, a whole lot of work and little down time. I found myself getting lost in all of that and disconnecting from what brought me into this relationship and into this life. After a lengthy chat and reconnecting over a happy hour at a local brewery, we’re back on the same page. The whole bit about sometimes life isn’t 50/50 is also too true. I needed to hear that. THANK YOU! – Kaitlyn | http://www.poweredbysass.com | @poweredbysass

  7. I love this list! It took me a while to figure out that a relationship isn’t always 50/50 and that that’s okay. I used to feel a lot of guilt when my boyfriend had to pick up the slack and some resentment when it was my turn, but I’ve learned that that’s just the ebb and flow of a relationship.

    If I had to add anything to the list, it would be to try and notice the little things you love about your partner. After the initial honeymoon stage of the relationship, you go back to focusing on everyday life and you lose that magical feeling of discovering yet another thing you love about your partner. But, if you stay present and look closely, there are always things still to be learned and loved.

  8. “We are on the same team”

    If we argue, I always try to come back to this sentiment. Often times we aren’t even mad at the other person – just feeling stressed and be overwhelmed. It’s good to remember that we want the same things, and just need to work together to support each other.

  9. I really loved this list, very very much! I actually just copy pasted it to read it sometimes and remember certain points (khm hello #8 ;)) in the future. Congratulations and keep on keepin’ on 😀

  10. Great, wonderful and fabulous post. Spending time together is a really big one, and sometimes a really hard one (which seems so weird), when you’re jugggling kids, jobs, home and time you desperately need for yourself. Loved reading your list and all you’ve learned. You guys are a great inspiration!

  11. Congrats on a very successful relationship, you guys really seem like you have it figured out. Marriage is not easy at all.

    My husband and I will be making 11 years this September.

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