On January 17th 2011 Mike and I walked into our town hall and eloped. It was a cold Monday. There were just 10 people there. A very quiet and intimate ceremony. Afterwards, we headed to a local spa called The Elmhurst Inn and had a little reception with just 15 people.
It seems like just yesterday, but that was 7 years ago. In that 7 years; we have moved twice, had 3 more children, and adopted 3 dogs. We have both gone back to school and changed careers. We have been through deaths and life together. And, as cliché as it sounds, I couldn’t imagine going through life with anyone else.
We were young, in love, and ready when we tied the knot. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced our fair share of challenges. We got married fairly young (early 20’s) and have had to ‘grow-up’ together. We are not the same people we were when we got married.
We have changed and learned a lot in 7 years of marriage. These are just a few of the lessons we learned on this journey together.
7 Lessons Learned In 7 Years Of Marriage:
Learn Disagree Respectfully:
Mike and I are both very competitive. Like, super competitive. But we are 2 different people who don’t always share the same opinion on every topic. Okay – a lot of topics. One of the first things we had to learn about marriage is that it’s okay to just say that you respectfully disagree with your partner and drop it.
Marriage Takes Grit:
It’s s easy to love when everything is going amazingly. When you both seem to agree on everything. There are minimal stresses in your life. When everything is rainbows and butterflies. But that’s not real life. It’s not easy to love when money is tight. When it seems you are always disagreeing with your spouse. When things are gloomy and hard. It takes a lot of grit. Sometimes you just have to dig in together when things get hard.
Being Near Doesn’t Always Mean Your Present:
This is one that I’m guilty of. Being a work at home mom with 4 young ones, I really just like to tune out at the end of the day. So I’d grab my phone and scroll through Facebook while Mike would be trying to have a conversation with me. I thought everything was fine because I was physically in the room and even nodding my head sometimes. But it wasn’t. Proximity doesn’t equal presence. I’m not perfect at it, but now I make a conscious effort to have an actual conversation without my phone before I tune out.
Romance Is Not Dead:
Marriage doesn’t have to equal the death of romance. I know first hand that it’s easy to let the romance die. Life gets busy, and you get tired. But I think it’s important to let your spouse know that you still love them and that you are thinking about them. Little notes, gestures, flowers – it doesn’t have to be something grand. Just something that says:’ Hey, I’m still here and still in love with you.’
Setting Boundaries To Protect Your Marriage Is A Good Thing:
I feel like this one gets a lot of people worked up really fast. But I don’t see an issue in sitting down with your spouse and discussing some boundaries in your marriage. For me, I like privacy. So if Mike wants to use my phone, he asks first. I have nothing to hide, and he knows that. But when he asks he’s really saying is: ‘I respect your need for privacy’ I never say no. But I appreciate his effort to respect my feelings around privacy. We fight less because of it. Our faith also plays a huge role in where we set boundaries. But all these boundaries are personal and agreed upon for the sole purpose of protecting our marriage.
Don’t Say You’re Sorry (Ask For Forgiveness Instead):
As much as I don’t like to admit it – less than 10% of all our disagreements end in me being wrong (joking, don’t worry). But seriously, there are so many reasons why someone would need to admit fault in a marriage. What I have learned is that there is a big difference between saying ‘I’m sorry.’, and saying ‘Will you forgive me’. The difference is the feel of each phrase. Saying a simple ‘I’m sorry’ seems generic and open-ended. Asking for forgiveness make the apology much more personal and highlights the desire to rebuild the relationship.
Love Trumps All:
I could go on and on with this list. But none of this means anything without love. It gets you through the hard times and adds meaning to your relationship. ‘It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
Marriage is a journey. And, like with any journey, there are some lessons learned along the way. But I feel incredibly blessed to have the husband I do and look forward to many more lessons we learn together along the way.
Questions? Comments? Crys of outrage? Leave them below!
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