My husband and I are celebrating ten years of marriage this year. And to say that I’ve learned a lot over the years would be an understatement! We have had our fair share of ups and downs. We’ve experienced victories as well as failures… both together as well as individually. We’ve had seasons when things seemed easy, and seasons when things were extremely difficult. But through it all, we are nowhere. Ten years and two kids later, we have grown in ways we didn’t know were possible. Here are ten things I’ve learned from ten years of marriage.
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Marriage is harder than it looks. – When we first get married, everyone tells us this fact; but it doesn’t really sink in until things get hard in our own marriages. But difficulties are what allow us to grow, not only together as a couple of individually as people.
Marriage is marked by seasons… both good and hard. – There will be seasons when love is in the air. Things are running smoothly, and our feelings for one another are strong. But then there are slumps. Sometimes these seasons are due to hardships. Other times it’s simple things like small annoyances or not being on the same page. Understanding, however, that marriage endures seasons gives us hope that a brighter season may simply be around the corner.
Communication really is the key. – If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that communication was the key to a good marriage! But truthfully… it really is the key. I have found over the years that during hardships, we like to close up. But things only get harder when we fail to communicate. Two are always stronger than one, but you can only operate together when you’re openly communicating.
Learn to pick your battles. – Some things are worth fighting for… others are not. The truth is that marriage involves two imperfect and often very different individuals. No two people, no matter how compatible, are going to see eye to eye on everything.
Choose your accountability and wisdom wisely. – Everyone has an opinion, but not all of it is worth listening to. Be sure to listen to godly wisdom when it comes to your marriage. After all, it’s the only type of wisdom that counts. At the same time, be careful with who you share your troubles with. It’s normal to have one or two people in your life you go to for accountability or wisdom. But telling the world your personal marriage drama isn’t good for your marriage.
Don’t compare your marriage to others. – Remember how marriages go through seasons? When you compare your marriages with others, you could potentially be comparing your winter to their summer. It’s not fair to your spouse or your marriage. Also, if they are wisely keeping their marriage to themselves, chances are high that you don’t have an accurate picture of their marriage anyway.
You are only responsible for you. – I say this to my daughters all the time, but honestly, it applies to marriage as well. You cannot control your spouse. Their attitudes and actions are all their own. But your attitudes and actions are all your own as well. You can’t blame your bad attitude or choices on your spouse. They can’t make you be angry. That’s all on you. A good marriage involves two people who take responsibility for their own actions, and they apologize when necessary.
Love is patient… even when your spouse isn’t. – This one is hard. Sometimes our spouses are less than perfect. (And we are often less than perfect ourselves.) But love has the power to conquer more than we realize. Showing love even when our spouse isn’t at the moment, is hard. But it’s quite powerful.
Love is kind… even when others aren’t. – There’s something to be said about showing kindness to your spouse. It’s easy to take things out on our spouses when we are experiencing stress or having a rough day. But an act of kindness from our spouse has the power to break down communication barriers. It lets them know that we are there for them no matter what.
Love never fails… God’s love never fails, and His love flows through you as His child. – As children of God, we have the love of God flowing through us. It gives us the ability to love in every circumstance… even when it seems impossible. His love is unconditional, never gives up, and allows us to give one another grace in our faults.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:14 (ESV)
The love of God gives us the ability to love in every circumstance.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.