It has been 12 years since my husband said I do in front of our friends and family, this seems like a life time ago but also just yesterday. 12 years into this marriage gig, we have learned what works for us and that is what it is about, meeting each other’s needs and building a life around that. I thought I would share what works for us and some fun pictures from our big day. We look so young, but we have learned so much, I would not trade any of this.
We are in the kid stage of our life which can consume our attention, but leading up to our anniversary it has made me reflect on why we started our family and the purpose our marriage has not only on my husband and I, but on our kids. I don’t pretend we have this figured out, but this is what works for our marriage and I hope works for yours as well.
Faith – we were married before God, our friends and our family. Our commitment to each other is not only that, but also a covenant with God. We are believers that our marriage is also an extension of our faith, to love one another through it all. God sustains us and provides for us through out our marriage, even when we forget he is there.
Communication – be honest, but know the words you say can not be taken back. If you are not honest with your spouse/partner then why are you with them? We are not great at communication so we have really had to work on this, lots of fights and hurt feelings, but say what you mean and do what you say. You will start to learn how you like to be communicated to and be honest with your partner about what you need.
Laugh Daily – we love to laugh, I love to laugh. Thomas doesn’t laugh quite as much as I do, but when he laughs it is the most true, authentic laugh. Laugh at the mistakes, craziness and whatever else happens, just laugh it is good for the soul.
Don’t Go to Bed Mad – make peace with each other, say you are sorry and kiss before you go to bed for the night. You don’t always have to have the last word to be right.
Plan for the Future- spend time together talking, wishing, dreaming for what you both want for the future. Trips you want to take, experiences you want to have, and whatever else you want for your future. Your spouse can’t read your mind and if you both share what you want for the future you can help get there together.
Compromise – I debated on putting this one in, but it is so very important I can’t leave it out. Compromise, but don’t let go of yourself and what you want. Marriage is made up of two people, compromise is part of it, but talk about it, what you want, what your spouse wants and what giving something up means to you. Compromise is not easy, but if it is going to hurt you or stay with you, then you MUST talk about it. Marriage is for the both of you, not just one person.
Build Each Other Up – be your spouses biggest cheerleader, if they succeed, you succeed. You are in this together and should be building up each other’s hopes and dreams.
Let Each Other Have their own time – let your spouse have their own interests and their own time. When I asked my husband for his advise on this post, this was one of his top items, which I fully agree with but also want to refer you back to compromise as well. Marriage is about balance just as life is, 3 nights out with my girlfriends in a single week, would be more than we can handle as a family, this puts a lot of pressure on the other spouse, but this may work for others. Talk about it, what works, what doesn’t work and structure your time around that. But always come home refreshed and ready to chip in.
Let your spouse deal with their family – someone gave me this advice before we were married and I looked at them like they were crazy, what did they mean deal with your own family? We were getting married, we are family now. 🙂 As a mother I now understand this a bit more, but a parent is always going to love and forgive their own child much easier than their child’s spouse. Stay in your lane, pick your battles and fight the big ones in your own family, something I say to my mom will come across totally different coming from my husband. This is the same of my in laws, I give my opinion, but my husband has more freedom to say what he wants and get away with it. 🙂 Our families don’t fight, let me be clear about that, but I deal with planning things with my family and Thomas deals with his family. This is easier for us and have found it to be really healthy for our family.
Intimacy – making sure you make time for each other and intimacy. I am not going to give you specifics, but do what works for your marriage, but this is something you both need.
Selfishly I think this post is more for me to reflect on our past 12 years of marriage the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is amazing the bad is bearable and the ugly is just that. If the ugly gets to bad, get help. We were there and it was a rough ugly year, too much change for us and not enough focus on our marriage. We are not promised tomorrow, so enjoy today!
My last bit of advice, is to show your kids how to be in a marriage, hold hands, talk, kiss each other, disagree and work it out in front of your kids. They are sponges and you are creating the type of relationship they will build in their future. You started your marriage or relationship with hopes of building something bigger than just the two of you, keep dreaming and working on it!
Thank you to all our friends and family for supporting our marriage these past 12 years. Surround your self with people that will help build your marriage up, it takes a village and we have a great one!