5 Things I’ve Learned In 5 Years Of Marriage
That’s right, today Christopher and I celebrate five years of marriage! I married my sweet husband 5 years ago in a darling little gazebo in the Outer Banks in Avon, NC on June 11, 2013. I remember that day like it was yesterday – it was a Tuesday. It rained all morning. My cake fell apart in the back of the caterer’s van. My sister painted her nails moments before having to button up the back of my wedding dress. So many wrong things happened that day. I remember receiving the call about the cake, and everyone else’s reactions to the news.
I am normally that type A, frantic, overwhelmed person. I succumb to stress fairly easily, and am extremely impatient.But the morning of my wedding, I wasn’t. I don’t know who I was the day of my wedding, but I know I was cool, calm, and ready.On top of everything else that had gone wrong that day, the news of my beautiful 3-tier vanilla bean cake hat I’d dreamed of and nitpicked for several months should have crushed me. But it didn’t. While everyone zipped around me to set everything up and make sure we were ready to go – I was busy just being the bride. I couldn’t leave the room until I was ready to walk down the aisle. I literally couldn’t do anything about the chaos or the imperfections everyone else was panicking over if I wanted to. I remember getting nervous as I grabbed my father’s arm to walk ‘down the aisle’ to the gazebo where Chris was waiting for me. My dress even got caught going up the stairs to the altar! But I was still 100x calmer than usual. The fact that I was calm that day let me know that I was in the right place at the right time, marrying the right person.
I wish I could say that my marriage the past 5 years has been that calm, but it has been just as chaotic. To be fair, I was a single mother when I met Chris, so the ups and downs of parenthood were already present. We have come so far, learned so much, and have grown together. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of marriage…
Check On One Another
Things seem like they’re fine, so they must be, right? Nope. You might think your spouse is getting all the support they need, but they might not be. Walking side by side, hand in hand along the beach is not what marriage is. I’m looking at you, Hallmark.
Real life is raw, messy, exhausting. When you factor in buying a home together, jobs, health, kids, finances – it can take a toll of your marriage. Making sure you check on the other person, and inviting them into those deep personal conversations where you can connect can help release some of that tension and stress. This is true for both Chris and I. We’ve learned to recognize when the other person is sad, angry, stressed, upset, etc. And we know when to back down from the fight, grab each other, and just talk. But more than that, we’ve learned to check on one another so we don’t get to that point as easily.
You’ll Fight About Money…A Lot
Hmm, I don’t like bringing this up. I don’t like talking about money at all if you must know. But, it’s pretty important.
Chris loves talking about money. He checks our accounts probably 3x a day.
For me, material objects and money are just things. But for Chris, they are resources. It took us some time (and fighting) to realize we were both right. In the end, our material possessions and money won’t be coming with us. They only hold value in the present, and I think enjoying that money is ideal. My husband, on the other hand, likes to know exactly where, how, why, and when money gets spent. I used to hide almost all of my purchases from him to avoid the arguments. There were plenty of fights we had in the first few years of marriage about out finances that I thought would end us for sure. We weren’t ever in the poor house, thankfully, but money can be a hot button issue if you let it be.
We have learned to talk about money more. Instead of blindly spending our cash (or doing it behind the other person’s back), we plan. Chris is more open to spending money, and I’m more open about telling him when I’ve spent money. We decide together where and how money is spent. I can’t even express the amount of sanity it’s saved us both. We still disagree from time to time, but now everything we do with our money is done together and out in the open.
Get A Hobby (That Doesn’t Include Him)
When I first gave birth to Jaxson, our youngest, Chris immediately took up kayaking. At first, I was hurt. Especially with all of Jaxson’s pressing medical needs – I needed Chris home. I never told him that, because I wasn’t his mother and I wasn’t going to tell him what he can and cannot do. He was gone almost every single weekend. I loved that he had found something he loved, but I was left in the dust with two kids to care for, endless doctor’s appointments, and I felt alone. I resented him. Sure, we went out every now and then, or we took the kids to the park together. But it wasn’t alleviating my resentment, my exhaustion, or the fact that I needed to do something for myself.
It wasn’t until I saw how much he really loved going kayaking, and had the discussion with him that this new hobby was hurting me that we finally got somewhere. I got to hear from his mouth that he didn’t realize I felt that way. He got honest with me and told me he thought I should get a hobby too. He offered to help me with the kids more, since he didn’t realize how exhausted I was because I was ‘such a rockstar at this whole mom thing…’.
So, I did. I took up blogging and gardening. It completely changed our marriage, family, and co-parenting dynamic. Not only was I finally getting the help I needed with the kids, but I found something I loved that was only for me. Which is so incredibly important for your mental health!
(I guess this part would also fall under ‘Communicating Effectively With Honesty…’)
Marriage Is WORK
Before we got married, we heard how hard marriage was. Our neighbors even gifted us some really helpful books to guide us through the first few years, which they promised would be difficult but worth it.
I don’t think anything really prepares you for the amount of work you have to put in. Listening to advice, reading books, and even putting yourself in the ‘right’ mindset is easy. But actually implementing everything you’ve learned into a relationship that involves two people (one of which you have no control over) is where is gets hard. You have to work at it every day.
I remember a friend telling me that I shouldn’t have to work so hard to make a relationship work.It should be easy if it’s right! No. Nope. Not true. Unless I married a robot, there’s going to be a difference in opinion, bad days, and hardships. Add kids to the mix and there could be postpartum depression, financial stress, and difference in parenting styles.
Being married is more than just learning to live with the other person. It’s loving the other person through the difficult times, baby weight, and financial hardships.
He Is Home
I didn’t just marry a man who liked me and could put up with my toddler. I married a humble, sweet, incredible, good-hearted man. I married the man who would do anything to make me happy, although just sitting on the couch with me does just that.
The beauty of being married to the man I love, is that he is home. I lay my head on his chest at least once a day, and tell him he is home to me. He is my best friend, my confidant, my support, my rock, my lover, the father of my children, and he is home. Knowing that I have him by my side through all those days of financial stress and bad days means the world to me.
Happy Anniversary, Christopher. 🙂