This week marks my 20 year wedding anniversary.
To be honest, the day I said “I do” I was naive. I think most of us are.
We picture the fairy tale.
We picture the music montage of a romantic comedy.
And the truth is, marriage is sometimes the fairy tale.
But, often times it’s not.
Sometimes it is bliss. Sometimes it is impossibly difficult.
One minute you could be holding hands and the next minute you are screaming at the top of your lungs with tears streaming down your face.
That is marriage. That is life.
But, it is a beautiful ride. Full of highs and lows. Full of arguing and tears. Full of love, laughter, frustration and fears.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
One thing is for sure; in 20 years of marriage I have learned a lot. And some lessons have changed my life and changed my marriage.
There is no better time than now, on my 20 year wedding anniversary, to share those with you.
Here are 10 Life Changing Marriage Lessons.
- Differences are OK.
Neither wrong nor right, just different. Learning to accept those differences in each other will change your life.
- Sex is a vital part of the health of marriage.
It is easy to let this slide. But, allowing sex to be put on the back burner for extended periods of time will create gaps. And small gaps can quickly become craters.
Finding balance in our sex life helps create strength and balance in other areas of our marriage.
- The lessons will never stop.
Though I would love to find a day where I have learned everything I need to know about marriage and it is smooth sailing from that day forward, I know that day will never come.The lessons are endless and the moment you think you have it all figured out, something changes.
I’m learning to embrace the lessons. Continuing to implement growth and change from these lessons will keep my marriage healthy and moving in the right direction.
- Vulnerability is the key to growth.
Yes, it is in those moments when you are most vulnerable with each other that true growth and connection will happen. Vulnerability is scary, but crucial.
- Insecurities need to be dealt with.
Insecurities will show up over and over again and they can be incredibly destructive to a relationship. If you do not face them head on by learning to understand and deal with your them they can eat you alive.
- Most arguments escalate due to defensiveness.
Once I began to understand this, conflict in our marriage began to decrease. Defensiveness gets in the way of truly listening for the sake of understanding.
Learning techniques to put down the defenses has completely shifted our marriage.
- Appreciation is key to maintaining connection.
There is no way around it. Everyone longs to feel appreciated. The power the simple words, “Thank you,” can have are unparalleled.
- Dating your spouse will always be necessary to keep the spice alive.
Who knew that once you got married, you would still have to date each other. But staying connected requires time and attention. Alone time is mandatory.
- Being accountable for my actions, tone, and words is tantamount to resolving issues.
In order to resolve conflict I can’t take the easy route of pointing fingers. Healthy resolution takes time, work and attention at being very accountable for the role I play.
Accountability is revered in my marriage.
- Blame gets you nowhere.
It is easy to find fault and blame, but I have found that placing blame hurts. It hurts the one you love. And, blame often escalates a situation and forces your partner to defend themselves. Which, in turn, creates a cycle of conflict.
Set blame aside. It does not serve a marriage!
- Accepting and loving yourself is vital to accepting and loving others.
Confession: I am extremely hard on myself. Many days I expel a ton of energy quietly and internally criticizing myself and often hating on my body. I often rebut compliments, feel tired from internal negative talk, and deem myself unworthy.
Though this is very much still a work in progress, what i have come to understand is that I can love those around me so much more freely when I am kind and loving to myself. When I can quiet the inner voices that criticize me, I feel liberated and happy which, in turn, makes me a better mom and wife.
Am I able to love others even though I often don’t love myself? Yes, of course I can. But, I can love so much better when I love myself too.
Here’s to the next 20!
Married & Naked