It’s honestly amazing to me that I’ve been married for 12 years. I’m grateful that we’ve made it this far and for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I remember when I was dating my husband, I was so into him and the possibility of getting married. When we got engaged, I knew our marriage would be great and I wanted that goose bump feeling to always be there.
Something that bothered me, were other married couples that had been married for years. They made snide comments of how it won’t always be like that, and just really seemed like each other’s ball and chain. I wondered why so many married couples seemed unhappy the longer they were together and actually willing to “speak into my relationship” that the same thing would happen to me.
I got mad!
I told my [then] fiancé, “That can’t happen to us!” “We can’t get bitter! We have to do what we must in order not to be negative and just unhappy!”
Oooooooohhhhh but then I got married!!!
I won’t say I quickly learned what these married people were now referring to, but over the course of 12 years with my spouse I have experienced every range of emotions that a relationship can bring.
It’s amazing because we are still here. We’re still fighting, pressing, working, learning and growing in our relationship. We’re doing it together with the intention to always be on one accord.
Here are 12 lessons we’ve learned over our 12 year marriage, feel free to add your own in the comments:
1. intimacy | takes the marriage to another level in my opinion. It allows you to connect with your spouse on a level that can spill over into other aspects of your relationship. It’s something that can fade if you allow the day to day life issues to get in the way.
There are times when one wants intimacy but the other person can care less. Sometimes it’s important to fight through it. Your spouse wants to know they matter and are desired.
2. sacrifice | who would have known how many things you would have to give up or give in to, when it comes to marriage and parenting. When you’re married, it’s not 100% about you, but the family.
Whether you have children or not – you’re a family and your decisions now affect all parties involved.
3. forgiveness | this is must-do in marriage. In my marriage, I’ve forgiven him and I’ve needed to be forgiven on more than one occasion. No one is perfect, so when you make mistakes and your spouse loves you enough to accept your, “I’m sorry!” is worth it’s weight in gold.
I’m grateful for all the times my husband has forgiven me for the big and small things. His forgiveness has allowed me to grow and actually take a good look at myself.
4. power of agreement | Two is better than one. When a couple is on one accord, it puts you on the path to achieve common goals. It also brings clarity for the direction and vision of the family.
5. love | this is tricky because being in love with your spouse sometimes seems to come and go. After speaking with other married individuals it’s more common than not. We love our spouse but sometimes the goose bumps do leave but they do come back if you’re open to working on your relationship.
6. patience | I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to take a deep breathe and hold my tongue. I’ve learned to wait because everything doesn’t always happen when I want it.
7. growth | I’m not the same person I was when I got married. I’ve grown as a woman, into a mother and in even as a wife. Life is a process and a journey, and it’s constantly changing. I recognize my growth and even welcome it. What helps is a spouse that sees my growth, then participates & supports my growth versus hoping I stay the same.
8. prayer | See War Room! We believe in prayer. We’ve seen first hand how prayer works in our lives and changes certain situations. I’ve prayed for my husband when I didn’t want to. He’s prayed for me when I didn’t know it. It strengthens our relationship with God and each other.
9. balance | It’s important to know when to spend time with family versus working too much. Over the course of 12 years, our children are growing and careers are changing. It’s a constant thing to re-evaluate where we are in our relationship & household management to make sure the family is operating correctly.
10. communication | You have to talk. Period. Whether you need to read books, take a class or see a therapist to get it right… do it! A marriage works well when you two can talk about what you desire, dealing with, do not want, personal and family goals.
Over the years we have just recently learned how to talk to each other without placing blame. We choose our words carefully and make sure not to tear each other down.
11. fun | find things to do or incorporate things in your relationship that make you laugh and allow you to enjoy each other. With three kids, we laugh daily at the things they do but we also find time to laugh and joke when we are alone.
12. compromise | it’s simply give and take. I’ve learned that in marriage you personally may not always get 100% of what you want, but neither is the other person. So when you compromise, you are willing to make your spouse happy because you know eventually, they will do the same for you.
If you are a business owner, it would be in your best interest to always know the current trends of your market. If you work in Corporate America, your probably get leadership training that will help you grow in your career climb.
It’s no different with marriage. Being married 12 years, I can surely see why those couples appeared unhappy. Life sets in and can get the best of you – if you let it. I’ve learned that Marriage, like a career or business, needs to be nurtured and tended too.
We take day dates, read books on marriage, watch videos on relationships and attend conferences. You get out of your relationship what you put in. If you just say, “I do” and let the chips fall where they may … guest what, they will!
You control the destiny of your marriage. If you want to make it great, do it! Work on it.
What things would you add to this list? I really want to know.