This year, on August 30, we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary.
Reflecting back, there is so much that has happened in 10 years.Traditionally, the tenth year of marriage is marked with tin or aluminum. Both materials represent the durability and flexibility needed to sustain a loving union. Just like every marriage, we’ve had struggles, trials, tribulations and heartache. But we’ve also come through so much - battled and conquered so many things...together, We are very proud of where we stand today. I could write a novel on life about our past 10 years. Instead, I thought to myself, what would I have told myself 10 years ago? What advice would I have given myself?
Thinking of this inspired me to share 10 things that I have learned in 10 years.
1. Have each other’s back. They’re always going to be times in a marriage and in life where there is controversy. We’ve had a lot of this with family. Whether it’s fights on moving, fights on who goes to whose house on Christmas and for how long, who is invited to birthday parties, who is allowed to babysit, it’s a constant battle; constant. Who spends more time with who? But at the end of the day, Michael and I have each other‘s back’s. And what I mean by that is that it really doesn’t matter who has more time or who goes to his house. It’s all about us just doing the best we can for our family. It’s not worth making other people happy knowing that we are going to get in a massive fight about it. No one’s going to ‘win’ which means that as long as we find peace in our home and we are confident with our decisions, everyone else is just going to have to trust that we’re doing the best that we can. And that we can’t make everyone happy, but we try and that’s all we can do.
2. Choose your battles. I feel like they should probably be number one. This is the thing that has helped me survive the most in 10 years. I have learned the hard way and just overtime that there are some things that are just not worth fighting for! Or even fighting about. Everyone has their differences and if we were all the same then life would be boring. So there are just some things that I just let go. It’s harder at first but in the long run life is easier. I have been asking my husband for over 10 years to put the toilet seat down. Especially now having a puppy and having her snoop around any area that has standing water, it’s imperative. But I’ve been fighting that battle for 10 years folks! It’s just not worth it. I’ve asked my husband to shut his cabinet doors and drawers when he opens them. I run into them constantly in the middle of the night when I’m up with the kids or the dog. But again, things sometimes just got to the point where it’s easier to just do them yourself. I think I’ll survive.
3. Love always wins. It’s true. When in doubt, even though it’s hard, just complement one another and be rock. Love spoken and Love acted will somehow always find its way and your spouses' heart and things will be OK. You just have to try it.
4. Know and recognize your priorities. I’ve known and felt that this was very important for a long time. We have to be on the same page about what is important to us. Before we had kids, it was important that we were on the same page about trying to get out of debt and also trying to get a house so that we weren’t throwing money away on rent. We wanted equity and we wanted it to grow. Once we had kids, the priority switched to making sure they were taken care of with all of their necessities but also that we start a savings for them for their college. We both always been on the same page about how important education is.
5. Fight for your marriage. Whatever you have to do. If things are just starting to get really low, find out what your options are. Can you try counseling? Does your insurance cover it? Do you need more time with each other? Or possibly more time for yourselves? Instead of just giving up, it’s important to find out what areas are missing attention and try to solve it. Even if it means evaluating one by one.
6. Perspective. When you’re in an argument, remember, it’s not you against your spouse, it’s you against whatever the issue is. You aren’t fighting each other you’re fighting an issue.
7. Give things time. I learned a trick along time ago that has really helped me. If something is really bothering me, whether it’s in my marriage, my personal life, something big or small, I give it some time. I write down whatever challenge I am facing on a note card, fold it up and place it in my freezer in the kitchen. I’m basically freezing my problem or issue or putting it on hold. On hold to give me some time to make sure I make a rational decision. After 48 hours or two days, I take the card out of the freezer and if the problem still bothers me that much, then I devise a plan to appropriately addressed it. But if it doesn’t and I found some peace in those two days, I simply rip it up and throw it away.
8. Remember where you came from. It could be a slow rainy day, in the middle of an argument or just a happy day when you’re sitting around the table reminiscing. Bring up fun memories of the past as often as you can. Reminisce about them and don’t ever let them fade away. Talk to your kids and friends about how you met. Your first date. Things like that are so important to remember and to carry-on.
9. Celebrate milestones. Milestones are so important. And because they are so important, it’s critical that you celebrate them! This could mean something simple like a card to each other, going on a date, or just recognizing the milestone at the dinner table. Anniversaries, birthdays, first house, first meal all sitting down the full meal without high chairs, whatever it is that you celebrate, do it! Celebrate!
Michael and I have had to make some tough choices in our marriage, especially after we have had children. But we’ve learned the hard way that life is short and a marriage can be short too! And we don’t want that. So if someone is causing negativity in our lives, they need to be removed. It’s tough, especially when it’s a loved one or even family member. In saying that, the positive people are such a blessing and an up lift! We hope and pray that we too are good for them and have done a good job of supporting them, celebrating with them when their accomplishments but also helping them when times are tough. That’s what a real relationship is all about!