Today is a special day in our lives!
Our car has 100,000 miles on it.
Oh! Aaaaaaannd, we have been married for 10 years.
We have been through so much that it feels like even longer. Moves, new life/work schedule, another new job, another new apartment, travel. Oh, the travel.
Wouldn’t it be smart if they put a diagnostic test on your marriage like they do on your car?
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“Oh, honey. Will you please take the marriage in…we are due for that 10,000 mile/1 year tune up.” I bet a lot of things would be fixed before it got really, really bad.
I think about my life before marriage, and I can see how I would have made better choices if he would have been there to talk it through. That’s the power of marriage. You have your own team..If you choose to work together as a team. You have your own support system, provided you are working to be supportive.
And clearly, by no means, do I consider myself a marriage expert. We still have work to do. We are working on it, but are aware there is plenty of work to do to make it better.till, here’s the top 10 lessons we’ve learned in 10 years.
Still, here are the top 10 lessons we’ve learned in 10 years.
Oh my, the power of patience. Looking back at so many fights that have occurred, they would have been really insignificant if one of us would have been a bit more patient.
Instead of jumping to conclusions and assuming what I heard was exactly what he had meant, we could have done so much better.
This one lesson has actually improved all of my relationships in life. Learning to be patient and listen, even when it was so intense, emotions were running high, and we both wanted to something has had an incredible impact on my life.
I am so grateful for my husband’s patience with me and how we have grown together.
I’ve noticed that some of our challenges and big things to work through required no fancy gadget, no incredible bonding tool just good old fashioned hard work. Oh, need to make another change? Let’s get to work.
But the work became much more enjoyable as he was with me. When we chose to work together as a team, things have gone much smoother. There was one point where we packing up the house and my Mom was really, really sick in her battle with cancer…and I was, quite honestly, checked out. I didn’t have the power to make decisions, knowing what to throw away as we were moving, what to keep and which items to put where. He just went to work, quietly, probably so frustrated, while I just sat there trying to think. He just did the work.
My heart is still overwhelmed with gratitude and love as I remember that time. And the hard work he gave made all the difference.
Listen to each other.
Listen to each other.
And talk to each other. And listen more. More than you think is necessary.
I have learned that being more of a talker, the expresser of feelings isn’t always the best thing in every conversation. Frankly, what I feel on a particular topic doesn’t matter as much I had always thought. My way was not always the best way.
I needed to listen.
What I’ve learned is that listening helps you find clarity.
Listening builds trust.
Listening, and knowing that you are being heard, is the real magic of a relationship. It’s what makes a co-worker become a real friend, an acquaintance become a confidante, and a good marriage into a great one. Because you’ve listened and built that trust.
Sometimes you just need a nap.
Oooohweeeeee!!! This has been a big one for us! There are times in life where you have worked so dogged much, when you have pushed all your reserves of energy, thought, and emotion to work, or a project or the other stresses of life that you. just. need. a. nap.
That doesn’t mean you’re a toddler, it means that you need to fill your personal tank before tackling the next big thing.
I usually can say when I’m about to hit that wall and need a nap, my husband doesn’t acknowledge it as well. I’ve learned to watch his eyes and his body language and suggest we go have a family snuggle time…he’s usually the first one asleep and we will talk when he is ready.
When was the last time you gave yourself a break and said, “I need a nap,” and then gone to take one? The quick 25 minute power nap does wonder for me!
Next time you think a fight may be coming, a nap could be just the thing.
Enjoy life! It’s your time!
Some of the best moments are those awkward, weird moments that no one meant to happen. For example, at our tax appointment, we had just sat down and the guy was giving us the whole intro “We’ll check this and that…”speech and my husband took a squirt of hand sanitizer from the bottle on the desk and started applying it to his hands. I thought, “Good idea.” So, as not to distract Mr. Tax Man, I held my open palm in front of my husband. He looked at my palm and started rubbing in the sanitizer on my hands. I was weirded out so I pulled my hand back and he still kept rubbing. Mr. Tax Man looked over like we were playing some “touchy-feely” creeper game…and well, awkwardness achieved. We mildly chuckled it off in the moment.
Then laughed ourselves silly all the way home. I don’t know which prescription first determined it, but good medicine is that laughter!
Try something new. Regularly.
One of my cool aunts says regularly, “What is the last thing you did for the first time?”
When was the last time you decided to try new activities, games, sports, make an aquarium….anything! It’s about doing something to create the opportunity to discover, to learn, to enjoy being curious again.
I’ve noticed that we continue to learn more from each other as we are trying new projects, taking on new service projects for the community, and giving more.
By trying something new, we give ourselves opportunity to grow. And that keeps the marriage alive.
Make time for each other.
The priorities are the things we make time for. When you stop making time for your spouse, you send a message that he/she is not a priority. How do I know?
We’ve missed the boat on this one.
We had forgotten to take our 15 minutes daily to talk about where we are. And we have forgotten about date night.
It really hurt our marriage. We knew that we wanted a good marriage, but we didn’t make it a priority.
How can we ever expect anything to improve, if we don’t focus on improving it?
Know each other’s Love Language.
Do you know about the Love Languages? you don’t??? Oh my goodness. Go to your library, find it in Amazon, Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.
My husband’s love language? Time. He needs me to spend time with him. There are situations where we’ll be out shopping on the weekend and I’ll think, “we could easily pick this up later,” but then I realize that the experience isn’t really about the shopping, it’s about enjoying time together.
My love language? Words of affirmation. I need him to speak positively. I just can’t handle negativity. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. At times when we are talking it out, he’ll say something about the situation and I don’t respond in healthy way because I’ve not heard it.
You totally knew this one was coming up, didn’t you?
That’s been the big enchilada for both of us!But once you’re working together as a team, it doesn’t matter as much.Tough times come. Be a team.
You know what’s crazy? The big money challenge for us wasn’t really about the money at all.
It was more about being able to hold each other accountable. Honest, concerned, genuine accountability. The kind of accountability where we are looking for the best in each other and ways to help one another improve, not to point out weaknesses or faults. Because we know we’ve got them.
I had to learn that spending on the little things to make us happy is really just a form of “glorified squandering.” He needed to learn that a little breathing room brings a lot of freedom and gives us both room to grow. We have both had to learn how to talk something out when we have completely opposing views. Taking time to listen, understand, and really see the situation from each other’s view has helped us make great strides.
Tough times will come. No matter who you are. Be a team.
You can plan and organize and create all the best options possible, but you’re still going to have tough times.
That’s just part of this crazy ride we call life. This marriage is your team. Your partner is your support system. The key is to work together as part of that team.
Have faith in your sweetheart! Tell him/her how good they are at their job, big project they have coming up, and believe in them! Really believe in them. There have been times when my sweetheart’s faith is what has kept me going!
Tell me now, what is one thing you do to keep your relationship strong?