Z and I celebrated 6 years of marriages last month. SIX years! How is that even possible?! It’s been six years of ups and downs, good and bad times, sickness and health, smiles and tears and lots of wonderful memories. We’ve been residents in three different states, endured two deployments, brought two beautiful kids into the world and created a life from pure chaos.
Marriage isn’t easy. Love is easy, but there are so many other factors that make marriage challenging. But if you have love, you can make it through all of it.
What have I learned in six years of marriage??
How about 6 lessons I’ve learned in 6 years of marriage:
You have to work as a team.
I cook, he does dishes.
I do the laundry, he folds it.
I clean the litter box, he picks up dog poop.
We are a team. We help each other out when one person needs a break or has a bad day. Sometimes I do more, sometimes he does more. We balance out the responsibilities so that everything just flows.
Counseling isn’t a bad thing.
People hear marriage counseling and automatically think it means verge of divorce. Get that out of your head right now.
Counseling is proactive.
It helps you lay a foundation for your marriage or fix a shaky one.
It makes you stronger, more aware, and more in tuned. It’s a good thing. Ya heard?
It’s okay not to feel butterflies.
Hollywood makes us think we’re going to have butterflies and be floating on Cloud 9 for the entire duration of our marriage. That’t not true. That so called “head over heels in love” feeling (according to Dr. Gary Chapman) only lasts for two years. SO IT IS NORMAL, your marriage isn’t failing! Hey, if you feel that way, go on with your bad self! But just know, that’s the exception, not the norm. You can still love your spouse something fierce without feeling those first date butterflies. Sure you should still get them once in awhile but don’t expect to feel them everyday.
Everything changes when you have kids. Taking care of another living, breathing human is no joke. It’s stressful, it’s a learning curve, and it can cause tension between the two of you. My advice?
-Discuss major parenting decisions like discipline, sleeping habits, etc. If you’re on the same page, it’s a lot easier to follow though.
-You’re in this together. Neither of you know what you’re doing but you’ll lean on each other to figure it out.
-Date nights. You STILL need them. Which brings me to my next point…
Make time for yourselves. I know, you’ve heard this a billion times. But really make time for yourselves. Not where you’re sitting on the couch watching a movie but like, actually doing something. Play video games, explore your town, go rock climbing… whatever! Even if you can carve out a few minutes everyday where it’s just the two of you, give each other your undivided attention. You’ll notice a difference, I promise.
Laugh it off. You’re going to argue or disagree at some point in time. Okay, probably a lot of points in time. But try cracking a joke or being silly and I promise your fight will be a lot shorter. Yes, there’s a time and place to be serious but if it’s a fight over who forgot to change the laundry, don’t let it drag on. Dump the basket of clean clothes over their head or something… IT’S NOT THAT SERIOUS!
There are going to be ups and downs. Marriage isn’t easy. Sometimes love isn’t easy either. We all go through life phases and changes and it’s important to keep communication open. If you do that, I truly believe anything is possible.