15 Years and Counting
This month my husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage. We honestly had no idea what we were doing when we married at 20 and 21. I shared a bit about our beginning when we celebrated our 13th anniversary. Now that we've finally gotten a bit of understanding, I want to share 15 lessons I've learned about marriage during our first 15 years of marriage.
15 Lessons from 15 Years of Marriage
- It takes time to adjust. When we married, I moved to a new state with no friends or prospective work. I only had my husband ... that was an adjustment. I wanted everything to hurry and be normal. I became my idea of a wife. I cooked, cleaned, and waited for my husband to return from work. This worked okay, but I was depressed. I didn't give myself time to ease into the type of wife God designed me to be for my husband instead I just followed the ideal.
- Relationships can affect your marriage. It doesn't matter if they're family relationships or past romantic relationships, both types can disturb the marriage. My husband and I had to work through impact of various relationships that were causing us tension. I, personally, needed to work through my childhood. Because I really needed to work through the heartache of my childhood, I found myself in therapy, Al-Anon, and talking a lot to mentors and friends who cared for me along with my husband.
- There needs to be a hierarchy when it comes to the marital relationship. I definitely have rankings when it come to relationships outside of my marriage. My husband and I are equally invested in our children, but we put one another first. There's not room for our children to talk crazy to us or try to divide us when it comes to making decisions. We are a team. Relationships outside of our four walls have boundaries too. Parents have no say about our marriage unless it is to edify and build us up. Luckily, we have parents who don't tend to overstep boundaries when it comes to our marriage.
- Jealousy is real. I am super protective of my marriage which is why I don't write much about marriage ( I did write this guest post for Angel though, How Burnt Hot Dogs Changed My Perspective of Marriage). When I speak of jealousy, I don't mean no one can look at my husband, but I do mean that I am aware of relationships that can potentially cause damage to our relationship. Earlier in marriage, I thought being jealous meant that I was a crazy woman so I would try not to exhibit jealousy. As I've grown in my faith, I have learned that it is best to be proactive versus reactive, and if something makes me question my relationship I need to address it then versus later. I also have learned that my Father in heaven also is jealous for us so I don't feel bad about having the trait, in regards to my marriage.
- Live willingly. I know it is easy to be stubborn or stuck in our ways. I've learned over the years that being willing to adapt is important not only to marriage, but to life. We can't become to comfortable. I don't like being comfortable. If I get too comfortable, it generally means that I am no longer being intentional or living with purpose. In our marriage, my husband and I have both been willing to try new things even when in the end we end up in uncomfortable situations. Our move to Tennessee was an example of this. We moved without employment, friends or family in the area, and small savings. The move has been one of the biggest blessings in our marriage.
- Less is more. Piggybacking off of the last lesson, we have definitely embraced the less is more lifestyle. We initially felt this way, but as we progressed in marriage we started to fall in the trap of most American marriages--marriage, children, house, debt, more debt, and stress. I've learned that staying true to our purpose is the most important even when our lives don't look the same as other couples.
- Each marriage is unique. Once my husband and I embraced our marriage, our relationship became something more beautiful than we expected. We are not the fighting type, but we are both introverts who can easily escape into ourselves. We accept this about our marriage. This makes us more intentional about conversing because it is easy for us to pull into ourselves. We also embrace our unique gifts. When we first married, I felt bad about being the money manager because other folks thought it was strange, and it meant that I had too much control. Well, looking back I think that was just crazy talk from them. My husband didn't feel that way, and often told me that he didn't mind me doing those things because he trusted be as his partner, and I was better suited for the job at the time.
- We are still individuals. One thing I love and appreciate about my marriage is that I have never had to hide or stuff down my gifts. My husband encouraged me as continued my education while being a wife and a mom. He supported me when I decided to become our daughters primary teacher. He has always known teaching is a big part of me. He's supported me on my entrepreneurial path which also means he invested in me financially and emotionally. I support him in the things that matter to him. When he is unsure, I am his biggest cheerleader. When he is sure, I am his biggest cheerleader. I also make sure to pray for him as he runs his race.
- Marriage will not always be easy peasy. It's not meant to be a walk in the park so there's always work to do in our marriage even when things seem to be going well. We are selfish by nature. I want my way some days. He doesn't always want to listen to my stories. We rub each other the wrong way, and that's okay. The uneasy moments have given our marriage character and have taught us to tune into what really matters.
- Marriage is a choice. I remember coming to this realization right before our ten year anniversary. When I accepted that we were are married because each day we choose to be together, it was SO freeing. We are not married to one another because of coercion or fear. We actively choose each other each day.
- Marriage is to be honored not idolized. I am grateful that we are celebrating 15 years, but it is not an accomplishment to me. I honor my marriage because I know that the Most High intentionally place Vic and I together. I honor my marriage because Yah's word is truth. I don't idolize my marriage though. All things on earth will pass including marriage, and I need to keep that perspective so our marriage will remain healthy and reflect His plans not ours.
- There's something new to learn about my husband each day. Even after 15 years, I am still learning new things about my husband. It's beautiful to know him, but still not know him.
- Marriage teaches selflessness. I've already mentioned that we're selfish by nature, but marriage really is a good way to learn how to put someone else before yourself. I've learned how to recognize my husband's needs. I didn't realize that I could be in tune with another person outside of my children because I didn't pick up that attachment trait as a young person, and honestly, I am not into long term commitments so I know for sure this trait was taught through my marriage. I appreciate in our marriage it goes both ways. I hate shopping for myself not because I don't like to shop, but some stores have too many clothes to choose from and that overwhelms me. I am grateful that my husband doesn't mind going to a department store and finding pieces that look like me, and the wonderful part is that he recognizes when my style changes a bit. I will say that he tends to spend more than I would, but I beggars can't be choosy. ☺
- Our family is better together than apart. Yep, I have considered leaving marriage. When you struggle with long term commitments*, past pains, and just stuff, running away is often the easy answer. I am grateful that at the core of our marriage is genuine friendship and love because I like my husband, I always choose him. I like the family we have created too. I know because of my husband's dedication to our family, I have been able to grow into myself. I've been able to be the mom I didn't know I would be. I've been able to find gifts that were buried under so much gunk.
- I love being married. It may have taken me a while to say it mean it, but I can say it without second guessing myself. I can say it without fear of the future. I can say it even if something bad happens tomorrow, next month, or 20 years from now. I love being married to my husband.
*Commitment issues doesn't mean that I have been tempted to cheat. It means that I couldn't let my guard down enough to believe that I could stay forever in a relationship or that I believed that my husband would want to stay forever. I was a transient child, and this impacted my attachment to people.
Happy fifteen years to us!