Thursday, December 15, 2016

5 Things We've Learned In 5 Years of Marriage

This Saturday is our five year anniversary... like what??? I seriously can't believe it's been 5 years already!! Anyway, it's our yearly tradition to escape to a little mountain town for our anniversary weekend, so we are currently headed to The Highlands, NC! We've never been, so we are excited to explore the town and have a little r&r. Our only plans are a morning hike and an afternoon at the spa. Other than that, we'll be cuddled up in a cabin playing scrabble the rest of the time... and I don't mind it one bit. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year because of it's simplicity.. and I just love the quality time with Chris!

Last year, I got Chris involved with the anniversary post by having each of us share four of our favorite memories in our four years of marriage. You can read that post here. I wanted to do something similar this year, so I asked him to co-write this post with me! Since five years is somewhat of a milestone anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share what we've learned in our five years of marriage. Marriage is absolutely wonderful, but we both agree that it is something that has to be worked on every day. Things don't always come easy, and you have to work together to make your marriage stronger. We've definitely had our ups and downs these past five years, and after all of it, these are the most important things we've learned:

1. Compromise is necessary. There are two people in a marriage - from two different families, upbringings, backgrounds, etc. We both have opinions about so many different things, and it's not about who's right, but about meeting somewhere in the middle between where we're both coming from. Because of our infertility journey, we've had to really consider each other's point of view and feelings while making major decisions, and there have been compromises on both sides. Compromises also come with small decisions - like what you're going to do that weekend or what movie you want to see. At the end of the day, every decision you make affects the other person, because it's no longer just you, so you have to be mindful of that and willing to make compromises.

2. Communication is everything. You can't read each other's minds. Men and women think through things differently and process things differently, so it's so important to understand how to communicate what you're thinking and feeling with each other. I wear my feelings on my shoulders, while Chris tends to hold his feelings in. We both agree that understanding how to communicate with each other is so important in making it through tough decisions, hard times, and just the every day hiccups of marriage. I've learned to not be so sensitive, while he has learned to open up more and tell me how he is feeling about a certain situation.

3. Develop a system for your finances. Money is the number one reason for divorce, so it should be something that you and your spouse talk about and control together. Honestly, we've never really fought about money, and I think that's because when we first got married, we had none. Ha ha! Seriously though, the first year of our marriage was tight, and we had no choice but to learn how to work through it. Chris has controlled and led our finances from the very beginning, and we developed a system that worked for us. I respect and listen to him when it comes to our finances, and he essentially makes all the big decisions. We have budget meetings, discussions, set goals, etc for our money, and having that system has eliminated so many arguments.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff. Nit picking is such a waste of energy and doesn't benefit any marriage. So I don't do laundry often enough (if you saw our basement where the washer is, you wouldn't either) and Chris leaves a trail of stuff around the house - both of which drives the other crazy! There are hundreds of things we could nit-pick about each other, but is it really important? And better yet, who has the energy for that?? Instead, focus on the things that really matter.. like the fact that you have each other. Life's too short to nit pick, and as long as we have each other, we'll keep it to a minimum (except when it's been a week and we have no clean clothes.. then he'll probably have to say something).

5. God must be the center of it all. When my dad spoke at our wedding, one thing he said was, "A couple that prays together, stays together." After five years, I can now see exactly what he meant. There will come a time (if it hasn't already) when your marriage will be tested. Everyone has a different battle, and for us it's been infertility struggles. I honestly don't know how we would be getting through it if we didn't have our faith and if we weren't keeping God first in our marriage. Praying together and trusting in God's timing has been our saving grace. We are putting our faith in Him to carry us through, instead of focusing on ourselves and letting this struggle tear us apart. It's also very important to keep Him first on a daily basis - not just in those times of crisis. Simple things - like praying together, reading the Bible together, and going to church together help you stay grounded in your faith and grow spiritually together as a couple.

Photos | Catherine Truman

What has your marriage taught you? What do you think is important in a marriage? I'd love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences!