Khris and I recently celebrated our 10th year of marriage. 10 years is a long time in today’s culture. But I’ve actually known this dashing, handsome fellow for over 21 years! And I can honestly say that I am still in love with him just as much as I was when we first started dating. We were best friends for 10 years, dated long distance (California to North Carolina) for a year, and I think both dynamic situations were for the best as God was preparing us individually before marriage. Here are 10 lessons learned from 10 years of marriage.
*These are in no particular order. All 10 are just as important!
1. Keep laughing.
I can’t express this enough. Life will be difficult, marriage can be challenging, and raising children can be tough, but if you are able to laugh, you realize that it’s going to be ok. Laughter is also so healthy for the soul! People often say, I have to laugh to keep from crying. And I would add that you should laugh for the sake of laughing.
2. Say “I’m sorry” (frequently).
Whew, now this is a tough one to do when both people have strong personalities – and Khris and I were both born with strong DNA. Saying “I’m sorry” early is one of the first things in year one of marriage that I realized would help reel, deal and heal anything that came our way. Even if you think you weren’t wrong, just say those two words and your marriage will be all the better for it.
3. Talk, talk, talk.
Communication is SO key in marriage. Jesus, thank you for one mouth and two ears. I’m guilty and definitely need to do a little more listening, but communicating your thoughts, feelings and concerns about life, marriage and your individual being are critical.
4. Be ready to work.
Marriage won’t be all peaches and cream. Yes, there will be peaches and there will be cream, but you have to put in the work in order to enjoy the sweetness of marriage. It takes sacrifice, a selfless mentality, and definitely a lot of sweat equity. But it’s some of the best work you’ll ever do!
5. Date your spouse.
Khris and I often reflect how much we traveled, dated, and spent frivolously time and money before having children. But everything we do now has intention. Dating is very intentional for us. We don’t date nearly as much as we’d like to, but when we get the opportunity, we absolutely enjoy every minute of it. Get dressed up, have a date day, enjoy a new experience. Just date!
6. Always play on the same team.
Yes! Whether you are playing sports, participating in a health challenge, training for a race, or even trying something new, you and your spouse should always be on the same team. Even, if you are out and about in a conversation with others, you are still on the same team.
*Random quick story: Before marriage, Khris and I played basketball against each other with some friends. It was supposed to be a friendly game at the YMCA. Khris guarded me and let me just say, that was our last time ever competing against each other. Lee Rivers, if you are reading this, thank you for taking up for me 😉
7. Flirt with each other.
Yes! Flirt. It doesn’t cost any money to flirt and if you spouse’s love language is physical touch or words of affirmation, this lesson is absolutely a winner!
8. Continue to learn.
You should grow every day, every month and for certain, every year. Married or not, this is a life lesson that can transcend who you are as a person and who you will become. Don’t settle. Don’t coast. Keep learning. Keep living.
Take a few moments and think of ways you can celebrate. Of course, you should celebrate birthdays. But celebrate life, goals, accomplishments, milestones, holidays, anniversaries, random moments and surprises. It could be something elaborately planned, or sweet and simple. Regardless, it’s the intention that matters.
We, as you may or may not know, are Christians. And let me just tell you that everyday as a Christian has been sweeter and sweeter. We could not and would not be the people we are today if it wasn’t for our faith. So wherever you are on this particular topic is completely fine. But praying has by far been the best lesson we’ve learned from 10 years of marriage.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Looking ahead, I marvel at what God’s perfect plans are for us.
Thank you so much for reading! We love marriage and want everyone, that desires to and is able, to also experience God’s most precious union! Khris and I, also have to keep reminding ourselves to do the 10 lessons learned from 10 years of marriage listed above.
Cheers to the next 10 years of marriage!
Photo Credit: Chronicles Photography