10yr marriage; where does the time go? Honestly a decade flew by so fast. Last week marked our 10yr anniversary and what an emotional journey it has been. Looking back, we have been through a lot. We’ve created a family. I’ve given birth to two amazing kids. We’ve been through sleepless nights and way too many birthday parties . We’ve moved house. We’ve traveled. We’ve lost jobs. We’ve fought. We’ve made up. We’ve loved and lived and done our very best to make things work.
And while our marriage is far from perfect, it works. It works better than I ever imagined it would. And over the years we’ve learned so much about how to make it work.
1. Sex is Important…er than other things.
I am not going to go into details here, but if you want a happy marriage you need to be having sex. Like… way more than you probably think you should be having. Men (most men) need sex. It is what makes them feel connected to you and secure in your relationship. Imagine if your husband never told you that you looked pretty, or always said he was too tired to give you a hug and kiss goodbye… well, that’s kind of how it feels to them when they don’t get any cookie. I believe that sex is a big part of how couples stay connected. I could be wrong. Lucky for us we are both F.R.E.A.K.S.
2. Don’t try to change the other person
Think about how hard it is to change yourself and you will understand how hard it will be to change someone else. If you think there are things that your spouse could change, model the behavior you want to see and hopefully, they will catch on! Also, realize that each of you WILL change as time goes by, so you need to accept that early on and love one another unconditionally. My husband hates everything with gardening, while I grew up with a dad who took care of the outdoors. I screamed, nagged, lost my mind and finally made peace with it.
3. Fight fair
You’re going to fight. Everyone fights. Maybe some people call it arguing or having differing opinions or my favorite, “intense moments of fellowship.” Early in our marriage, we fought dirty. Name-calling, ultimatums, slamming doors. We knew each other better than anyone and that meant we knew how to surgically slice each others’ tenderest areas. These days, we still fight, but we fight fairly. We try to avoid bringing up the past because it’s just fair. I’ve taught my hubby how to apologize and he’s taught me how to look at something from the other point of view.
4. Believe the best in each other
We naturally assume the worst about people, especially in marriage. If I can’t find the keys, I assume that my husband didn’t put them back on the hook after he used the car. I’m learning to redirect my thoughts and assume the best in him. If he said he was going to call the plumber a few days ago and I still haven’t seen the plumber show up, I believe that he made the call and the plumber was just busy, rather than assuming he totally forgot. When he’s late for dinner, I believe that he had several clients call him at the last minute and he’s doing his best, rather than assuming that we’re not that important to him and he’s completely rude. This practice has gone a long way toward establishing trust in our marriage and creating an atmosphere of we’re-on-the-same-team.
5. Laugh through it all
Life is hard. Life is crazy. And if you don’t laugh at life, you’re screwed. In our toughest moments, when we were sleep deprived, broke, angry and lonely and scared, Hubby and I have done the unexpected. We’ve laughed. We’ve laughed at each other. We’ve laughed at ourselves. And we’ve laughed at the insanity that is our lives. Sometimes I think that laughter is the only thing that gets us through. It really is the best medicine.
6. Date night is a must have
Ahhhh, to shed the role of mom and dad, to free ourselves of the world of peanut butter and pizza, and to miss the bedtime shenanigans is nothing short of glorious. When Hubby and I manage to get out of the house and to a restaurant, I immediately feel reconnected. I feel like me–the old me before I had kids. And I look at him, not as a dad but, as my date. The hunk who gives me butterflies.
7. Be on each other’s side no matter what.
There’s no way someone you share a bathroom with isn’t going to get on your last nerve sometimes, but resist the urge to throw each other under the bus in front of other people. In order for real trust to grow, you need to know there’s someone in the world who always has your back, even at your most annoying or neurotic. This us-against-the-world mentality doesn’t mean you can never tell your spouse you think he’s wrong, but you can make sure you always do it in private, and always with kindness and the benefit of the doubt.
8. Don’t expect your husband to fulfill you
I’ve had times where I have felt unusually frustrated with the husband and it’s usually when I am feeling restless or unfulfilled personally. I found having my own passions and interests are vital. We have to make ourselves happy. It’s too much responsibility to put on our spouses.
9. Understand that your spouse is going to grow and change
So are you. Sometimes these changes are wonderful and additive to the relationship, and sometimes they can feel threatening. For instance, your spouse might’ve wanted kids before you got married but now has changed his or her mind. Or your partner once held conservative beliefs and now is becoming more liberal. Or your partner has changed their views on religion. Sometimes you have to realise that it’s a personal journey. This is where you have to decide to either compromise or end it all.
10. There’s no need to lose that identity
By spending time apart and keeping up the things you love, you can still be the person you always were. It’s incredibly important to maintain a sense of independence outside of your relationship. I have girl nights, schedule weekends away with my sisters and sometimes just do movies by myself. It works for us and gives us something to talk about.