10 things in 10 years of marriage.

10 years!! You guys I can’t believe we’ve been married for 10 years! How does time go so fast?! Its been one wild ride with high highs and low lows. If you’ve been married for longer than a hot minute than you know it’s not all blissful! I want to share 10 things I’ve personally learned in my 10 years of marriage. Please know that with me writing this that I don’t want you to think I have a perfect, blissful marriage. Today I have an amazing marriage but I can tell you that we have been through so much hardship. Although I won’t be going into detail about those trails I want to share what I’ve learned through it all. I hope you find this encouraging and useful. I also would love to hear from you and what things you find help so much! So please comment on this post for me and others to read!! (side note: I’m horrible at spelling and grammar, so please forgive me for all the mistakes you’re about to see! lol)

1. We all want to feel loved by our spouse. Have you ever read or heard of the book “The 5 love languages“? It’s so important that you and your husband get to know each others love languages. Here are the 5: Gift Giving, Quality Time, Physical Tough, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation. Typically you will find 3 that apply to you. Personally mine are Gift Giving (or getting…wink wink), Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. My husbands are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. Typically we show love in the way we feel loved so I would buy gifts for my husband thinking he would feel so loved when in reality he didn’t care about gifts at all. I’ve had to learn to help my husband out in the gift department because it’s not his strong suit. But he’s gotten so much better (today is our 10th wedding anniversary and the door bell just rang with a flower delivery! I feel so loved!) Do you know your own love languages?

2. You’ve probably heard this a lot but RESPECT. Men want to feel respected and women want to feel loved. Saying this is a lot easier than doing. Personally learning to show respect to my husband when I don’t always feel like I respect him is hard! Biting the tongue, not giving the eye roll and other things we can do that are disrespectful need to stop. Some helpful books that I have enjoyed reading about this are “Love and Respect” and “Cracking the communication code“. We got married when I was 21 so learning how to communicate in a healthy, respectful way when we disagree was something we’ve learned over time.

3. Invest time into your marriage. Life is busy I get it! When we first had children we would go months without going on a date. Over time we’ve learned that going on a date bi-weekly has been amazing for our marriage. My hubby works hard physically so once the kids go to bed and he has a moment to sit and relax I can almost guarantee he’s sleeping. Going out we can talk, connect and speak our love languages. We have found an amazing babysitter that we trust and the kids love which makes it easier to leave them. I know that it can be super expensive going on dates, paying for babysitting but adjust the budget and try and make it work because you’re married to your husband not the kids. I understand life happens and it’s hard to get out so planning fun “at home” dates have been awesome as well.

4. Pray for your spouse. I could go on and on about this one but take time in your day to pray for your husband. Life is hard and we are in the thick of it (working hard, raising children)! If you’re in a hard place in your marriage right now pray that God would open your eyes to see the good in your spouse. Prayer changes things! I promise! I said above we’ve personally been through a lot and if I didn’t pray as hard as I did then and continue to, I don’t know if we would be where we are today. Sometimes it’s easy to see what our spouse isn’t doing right. Take time every night to think of 2 good things you noticed your spouse do and focus on those things. Focusing on the good in your spouse and praying for them will change your perspective and help you through the hard times.

5. Counselling . We’ve had our share of counselling. Sometimes you need an outside perspective and advice to help your marriage. Seeking counselling doesn’t mean your failing but that you are wanting a better marriage.

6. Selfless. It’s so easy to become selfish in today’s world! Marriage will be hard and almost impossible if we are selfish and not selfless. Putting our spouses needs before our own. From little things like making dinner when I don’t want too, but doing it anyway because I know my husband worked hard and will be starving when he gets home (nobody want’s a “hangry” husband 😉 ).

7. In marriage we will need a lot of grace/forgiveness. We all make mistakes, say or do the wrong thing. Forgiveness is not always easy but if you choose to hold onto the mistakes it will eat away at you and your marriage. Bitterness will destroy your marriage. Ask for forgiveness and if your spouse needs forgiveness and you’re finding it almost impossible to forgive them pray. Pray for God to help you let go of the hurt and anger.

8. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over this past year was how to really rely on God. God is your constant and he will always be here for you! I’m going to leave it at that because I’m pretty sure nobody wants to read a book on my thoughts and experiences about that lol.

9. After 10 years of marriage I know love isn’t just a feeling but a choice. Love is actions not just feelings. Replace “love” with your name. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does note envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, is is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

10. When I look back on 10 years I can’t believe how much we’ve grown and changed. The hard times have made us stronger. Because we got married young (21 years old) we grew up and changed. Many times not at the same time which is hard. But it’s made us stronger because of it. I think of our future and how much we will continue to learn/grow and I’m excited.

All this in saying marriage is hard work but worth it. If you’re going through a hard time in your marriage right now, I’m sorry! I have been there! I’ve been in the low lows and now being on the other side I can tell you that it will get better. It may get harder before it gets easier but it will get better.

Now for a good laugh! I’m sharing some photos of our wedding from 10 years ago…keep that in mind you guys! It was 10 years ago and we were practically babies! Weddings have changed so much since then! Enjoy the photos and comment below your thoughts. (I’m going to open my wedding dress that is sealed in a box and try is on right now…wish me luck! haha. I bought a tie up back so I could put it on in the future. 10 years, 2 kids later…this should be interesting!)

Photos by Erin Gilmore Photography