5 things I’ve learnt in 5 years of marriage.
3rd March 2012: The day we formally said “I do”. The day we made a covenant between each other and God. The day I became your wife. The day you became my husband. The day we became one. The day we became a team. The day we promised to love each other until death. The day I will never forget.
5 years seems like such a long time and although I would say that time has gone by so quickly (because it has) at the same time I feel like I have been married to Andy for so much longer. It now almost feels like I don’t know what life was like to not be married to Andy. We are so much one unit now that it’s hard to imagine life when we weren’t there in each other’s lives. I must say though, we certainly have been blessed in our marriage. We have never found it hard (I know I’m speaking for myself here but I’ve also had many an in depth conversation with my better half and he would say the same). We have just really embraced and enjoyed being married and all that it brings with it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not perfect, Andy’s not perfect and we do get things wrong and we can bicker like an old married couple but we have learnt when to just let it go. That helps.
So…this post is about 5 things that I think I’ve learnt through marriage. This totally fits my marriage and may not for yours but these are just things that I have found have helped to keep our marriage strong and the spark alive.
***FYI*** My points have been written in a random order, I don’t think one is more important than the other because I believe that all are crucial in helping a marriage to flourish.
Patience is something I’ve always found really hard – particularly when it comes to surprises (birthdays, etc) …I can never wait! However, one of the major things I’ve learnt through marriage is patience. When you move from home to live with someone else; they have their own ways of doing things – that are different to your ways – and you have to learn to be patient and to understand one another. It takes time but eventually they’ll start to leave the toilet seat down and clear up the mess after cooking dinner and eventually you’ll learn to put your clothes away in a draw or a wardrobe rather than on the floor (still working on this!) or turn off the light when you’re not in the room. It just takes time; everything takes time and you have to be patient. Eventually you’ll learn and understand each other’s quirks and you’ll know how to “deal” with it together without ending up in some silly argument over dinner. I do joke but it’s not about being patient and eventually your other half will do what you want or you will get your way. It’s being able to compromise, working together as a team and having the patience to ride it through until your surfing the waves of marriage like a pro.
This is a big one, if you can’t forgive then you’re really going to struggle with marriage. “I’m sorry” is something I say daily to Andy and he will vouch for it. Even if you feel like you’re not at fault; apologising and moving on will save a whole lot of heart ache…”I’m sorry and I love you” …something that should always be said between husband and wife. Learning to understand each other’s faults, accepting, forgiving and MOVING ON. The more you hold onto a little niggle…the bigger that niggle will become until it becomes a grudge and then you will find you haven’t properly spoken to your spouse for days because you’re still hung up about something that happened at the weekend. Get over it, forgive and let go. Marriage is bigger than the small petty things. If you really care about the other person then you’ll learn to forgive and you’ll learn to accept flaws – like I said above nobody is perfect. Therefore don’t expect your wife/husband to always be perfect because you will be disappointed. They’re going to do things that really get up your grill and you’re going to get annoyed (and likewise you will do things to really grate on them) but if you don’t forgive once sorry has been said (or even when it hasn’t) then you won’t get very far. Sorry to be blunt but forgiveness is a major thing in making a marriage work. My parents always taught us growing up to NEVER go to bed angry or upset…
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil”
…my parents taught me well. To this day I will refuse to go to sleep angry or upset or still bickering with Andy. If that means we are up until 1am sorting it out…then so be it. Andy and I have never woken up the next day still angry about something that happened the night before. We sort it because if we go to sleep without sorting it then “we give the devil a foothold” in the sense that it can then fester and become even bigger than it ever was. Let go of the little things and learn to forgive.
It’s always good to laugh – especially when you’re laughing with each other. The longer you’re married the more you get to know the other person and understand what makes them laugh and also understand where to “take the micky” without causing offense. It’s good for the soul to laugh and you should always try and laugh, smile and be silly with your spouse. Make each other happy daily. If you’re not a jokey person or you have quite a serious other half then find mutual things that you both enjoy…maybe a show that you both find amusing or a funny film you like to watch. When we first got married Andy and I set a day every week as a ‘date night’ this was a night where we didn’t make plans with anybody else and we went out to do something fun together. Most of the time we would end up on the ferry over to some lovely restaurants and sip cocktails and beer all night but we had a great time together. We had fun. These days we aren’t so good at date nights every week (mainly because we have a little boy so cant sneak out) but it’s something I want to get back into. I’ve seen a few ideas flying around on instagram lately for how to date your spouse as a parent to young children…so I think we will be embracing some of those! Marriage shouldn’t always be about serious matters like finances and lifestyle…marriage should be a place where you can be your true self. Be able to do that really ugly belly laugh where you’re uncontrollable and crying with amusement and not care what your husband/wife thinks because you’re comfortable and content.
I feel like I’m saying this about every point but this is another big one. If you don’t communicate with your spouse then you’re in for a very lonely ride. You need to constantly be telling each other and asking each other things. Keeping the lines open, friendships are lost by missed communication …don’t let that happen in marriage. Andy and I have always been quite good at this one (not that I’m trying to blow our trumpet) but I think the nature of his job means that we are always communicating with each other. By text, email, phone or just a general chat when he is home from work at the end of the day. We talk through life together. There is not one bit about my life or day to day that Andy doesn’t know and the same for me with him. I know the ins and outs of his job (except all the secret stuff) and I love to hear about his work, I love to learn about what he does because I love him. Just having a conversation over tea or in the car on the way to the shops keeps those communication lines open and the spark alive. It’s not hard to put down your phone and have a real conversation with your spouse….or if you’re like us …it’s not hard to pick up the phone and give your spouse a call, ask them about their day and have a conversation. It’s what keeps your love real and it’s what helps you to live life together and in harmony.
A big thing in marriage is love (duh) if you don’t love your husband/wife then something has gone wrong and you need to speak up and seek help. Marriage has taught me love in ways I never thought I’d feel. I fall more in love with Andy every single day, just in the little things. It’s crazy because on our wedding day I never would have thought that I could love him more than I did in that moment… but I do. I really do. We have been through lots in the 5 years we have been married; we moved to the south coast away from both our families and battled with trying for children and miscarriages just to name a few. However, throughout it all our love for each other has only multiplied and we have learnt to rely on one another for support and lean on each other when we need to. Andy has had to put up with a lot with my thyroid being all over the place – when I’m low on thyroxine then I know I’m not very nice to live with because of the anxiety and depression side but through it all we love more. In sickness and in health. Love isn’t about all the sparkles and fireworks and about all the romantic evenings under the stars or watching the sunrise in the Maldives. Love is about real life. It’s about loving someone when it’s chucking it down outside and there’s nothing in the fridge to eat and you both look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge. It’s about loving someone despite the extra pounds they’ve added or the red blotches on their face…it’s about all of that and more. Learn to love your spouse and love them for the real things not the temporary.
So yes, that’s my five. There are so many more things that go into making a marriage work but I stuck to 5 because today we have been married five years. How blessed am I? Andy is the most wonderful husband and I am so grateful for every day that I spend with him. He makes life easy because I get to share it with him. Thank you for always being my rock Andy – you’re not perfect but you’re my perfect!
I will leave you with a verse that was read out on our wedding day.
‘Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’
x A x