On Valentine’s Day 2022, my husband and I celebrated the conclusion of our seventh year of marriage. It’s been seven years of beautiful companionship in matrimony, and nothing makes me happier than realizing that I love it and that our marriage is a truly happy one. There isn’t a single thing I would do differently. That’s not to say our union is perfect, but it is strong and there isn’t any part of it I would trade for something else. In that, I consider us blessed. So I thought I share some of the lessons marriage taught me in the journey that brought us here.
As always, the disclaimer to this post is that if marriage is not your prerogative, then this post is not for you. Sit this one out.
Lesson One: A Wedding Does Not a Marriage Make
Unfortunately for our generation, marriage is often equated to a wedding. Many people will tell you they will not get married simply because they cannot afford their dream wedding or that they will not get married if the ring is cheap. My response to that is always the same. Marriage isn’t the destination. You’ve not ‘arrived’ when you have a wedding. That’s where the work begins. Incidentally, some of my friends with the strongest relationships have had particularly small and intimate ceremonies. The point is, having a wedding is neither here nor there if the foundation of the marriage is sand.
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Lesson Two: If They Want to, They Will
My husband and I got married on stage with 13 other couples. Is that how I thought I would get married? Certainly not. But the opportunity came up, and we dived into it as an adventure. At the end of it, we’d be married. That was the goal. We wanted to get married to each other. This perspective is something that I think more people pursuing committed relationships need to hear. I’m not telling you to be superficial about it, but one of the things I have learned in the ten-plus years my husband has been together, it is that if a person wants to do something, they will find a way. Period.
Look at it like this, irrespective of whether it’s good or bad, if they want to, they will. If a person wants to commit, they will. If she wants to compromise, she will. If they want to work on your relationship, they will. If he wants to listen to you, he will.
Similarly, if she wants to ignore you, she will. If he wants to cheat, he will. If she wants to prioritize something or someone else, she will. A partner who cares will want a partnership and care about their participation level in such a partnership. Such a person will care about how you feel and what makes you happy, what you need just as much as they considered these things for themselves. Reciprocity is a beautiful thing, but it must be self-engineered.
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Lesson Three: What’s Behind is as Important as What’s Ahead
Marriage is a journey. If you’re blessed, a long one. One of the most precious things to me is the memories my husband and I share. I love looking at our early 20 something photos and knowing that 10+ years later, we accomplished so much of what we set out to do. We are at this beautiful place where we’re starting to have multiple grey hairs, and I’m trying to convince myself that I need to go to the gym and work out regularly now since I’m getting a belly (that I can’t just pull in) and that will not do. We cherish our marriage and history while recognizing so much is still ahead.
Lesson Four: Your Marriage is Important to Other People Too
Hear me out. When you get married, you join two families. In my case, two pretty big ones. Over the years, each side had gotten to know and love their loved ones’ spouses and viewed them as a permanent fixture. I’m not suggesting they get shares or say so in how your marriage operates. I’m saying, recognize that the sisters-in-law I gained in my marriage are no different to me than my biological ones and vice versa. I love his family, he loves mine. My family loves him. We are all joined. It’s one of the main reasons you will hear people say divorce is like a death in the family.
Lesson Five: Money is a Threat as Big as Infidelity
Family finances are essential. As young people, a lot of focus is placed on building a future. When young folks get married, building stability is at the forefront of your home life. Pay attention to your finances. Enduring you’re both in agreement about your goals ms spending habits can strengthen your marriage.
Lesson Six: You Will Change. Both of you. You’re supposed To.
I feel like people forget that marriage is usually intended for life, and no one remains the same over years and decades. It’s unrealistic to believe that the person you marry when they are 25 will be the same person at 35. That would mean in over a decade; this person hadn’t grown. When we think about it, is that a realistic notion about a person? No, it’s not. The goal is to grow together in a way that still keeps you and your lives connected.
Lesson Seven: Life Goes Fast
The other day, I sent my husband a video from a few weeks before we married. His response was ‘Hey, I finally look mature.’ He’s right. He has had ‘baby’ face features forever. He hides most of it under his facial hair (on purpose), but he finally looks his age. It’s the hottest thing on earth watching him grow and evolve from the 22-year-old I met over the years, if I may say so; but that’s a story for another time.
In my opinion, I do feel like that went by so fast, though. Watching my partner grow into the man I knew he was, t the father and husband I knew he would be, my heart feels full. I know it’s been a long time, but it feels fast, so my advice is to cherish it.
I hope that you find value in my sharing what marriage taught me these past few years. What are some of the marriage lessons you’ve learned? Share in the comments.
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