10 years of marriage and I am feeling super nostalgic this week! On Thursday my husband and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary! Woot woot! Ten years…wow! It feels like all the cliche sayings… “it goes by in a flash”, “it seems like just yesterday”, or “it seems like a lifetime ago”. Those cliche sayings are true. It feels like a lifetime ago but also just like it was yesterday. It has been the greatest adventure!
We had known each other less than a year! In less than a year we met, dated, got engaged, and were married. The entire time we were long distance. We had only spent MAYBE 30 days together in person during that time. Looking back now, I love that. It meant we had LOTS of time to talk and get to know each other. Long nights on the phone talking and laughing until the sun came up. I feel like all that time talking helped us get to know each other better than if we had been near each other and going out and having regular dates.
Oh the memories!
It was 10 years ago today (as I write this) that I first met all of my in-laws in person! ALL AT ONCE!! Haha! We all lived in different states and so it was the first time I got to meet them all face to face…the night before our rehearsal dinner! I drove over to the hotel suite they were all staying at, walked into their room and literally met them all at once! THAT wasn’t intimidating or anything. HAHA!
It was also today (as I write this) that Chris left NC to drive up to NJ for our wedding and several hours into his drive he realized he had left our wedding bands in his apartment! Thankfully we were pretty friendly with the office staff at our apartment complex and they went in, found the rings where he had hidden them, and sent them overnight mail to us. Crisis averted!
My Top 5 Lessons from Marriage
It was a whirlwind back then and still feels like a whirlwind some days even now. But it has been the best kind of whirlwind. So, in honor of our 10 year wedding anniversary, I decided to share the Top 5 Lessons I’ve learned over our 10 years of marriage.
Lesson 5: Men: If your new wife wants to buy a new laundry basket while she is setting up house…let her.
We were married only a few weeks at the time. We were moving in to the apartment he had found for us in NC and I had garbage bags FULL of my clothes that I had brought with me. I was trying to wash and sort them and I wanted to get an extra laundry basket to help with the mountains of clothes. I decided to ask my new husband if that would be ok because that was what good Christian wives did (kind of true but I had distorted it big time), and I wanted to be a good Christian wife.
So I asked my husband if I could get the laundry basket. He didn’t think we really needed it. He never actually said “no, you can’t get it”, he has never spoken to me like that and I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of him. But the fact that he didn’t think we needed it translated to me as a “no”. We argued about that laundry basket for months, m’friends! MONTHS! And yes, we did finally get one. I think I wore him down.
Let your spouse eat with famous people for Pete’s sake!
Another time, early in our marriage, we took a trip out to San Diego to see his family and show me where he grew up. We added a trip up to LA into the agenda, and on our way we stopped in a pretty famous town for dinner. We were seated at our table looking at our menus. I looked over at the table next to us and there was a famous person from TV sitting there. I tried to tell him discreetly, being star struck and all, but he didn’t know who the person was and didn’t get what I was saying. For some reason he didn’t want to stay at the restaurant. Maybe it was the food choices or the crazy prices, I can’t remember, but we ended up leaving.
I was so upset. I wanted the chance to sit next to someone famous at dinner. To me it was a fun story to tell, an adventure of sorts, but he didn’t get it. In all fairness I may not have really expressed what I wanted very well. At the time, as a newlywed, I knew my girlfriends would have “gotten it” and would have been right there with me. But now I was with my husband, the person that I was supposed to be the closest to, and he just didn’t get it. That was so hard to adjust to.
Silly… but there were lessons to be learned
These seem like silly examples but these are the opportunities to learn to give and take in your marriage. To realize that what’s important to them, even though it’s unimportant to you, is still important to THEM. Respect that. These opportunities present themselves from day one. And they don’t stop presenting themselves. They haven’t stopped now, at 10 years in. I know they won’t have stopped 10, 20, 30 years from now. It is in these seemingly insignificant moments that we are given an opportunity to grow, learn, and sacrifice for our spouse.
I’m sure my husband has countless examples of me struggling to respect or even understand things that are important to him. Every tool he wants to buy, or project he wants to start that I am just unconvinced about. But…this is my blog so I get to tell my side of the story! HAHA! But in his defense, I am way guilty of all of this too. It’s just easier to tell the story from my perspective than to try to tell it from his. And side note: he said if he could go back, he would have agreed to the laundry basket and also stayed at the restaurant. 😉
Lesson 4: Ladies, it’s okay to submit to your husband
Friends, it is good to submit to a man who is submitting himself to God. It’s a safe place. I know society tries to tell us about who we should be as women. Society tells us we can do anything a man can do! But can I tell you something honestly? I don’t want to do what men do. There are some things I am happy leaving to my husband. I WANT to be at home with my kids, raising them, homeschooling them instead of away from them at a job all day. There is a nobility in raising up a generation to know and love God. Is there a higher calling?
There is something freeing for women in knowing we don’t have to carry the burden of being the head of our household. That’s our husband’s responsibility. And submitting to our husbands is nothing more than trusting them to lead and letting them step into that role. I trust that he is listening to God, and that God is guiding him in leading our family. No, it’s not always easy, to sit back, wait, and trust. I’m a Jersey girl that is strong willed with a big personality! But I have seen time and time again that my husband can be trusted to lead our family. And I find rest in that.
To the women who…
To those women who do not have husbands that believe or follow Jesus, I’m praying for you, for your husband to know Jesus, and rooting for your marriage, hang in there. For those of you whose husbands have chosen not to step up to bat and lead, pray for your husband. God sees you and hears your prayers! To those women whose husbands have abused this principle, I am sorry that was your experience and am praying for you too!
If you feel you cannot submit to your husband right now for some reason, I would encourage you to seek counseling through your church. There are certainly situations where this can be the case (drugs, abuse), but that is a bigger topic than this post can handle.
Lesson 3: Major on your spouse, and get your Doctorate
What I mean is… keep learning about and studying your spouse. It’s not enough to just get to know someone while dating to decide if they are who you are to marry (which, by the way, is what I believe is the purpose of dating). That’s not where we stop learning. Someone once said (was it the Fireproof movie? If you know, leave a comment and I’ll edit this) that your time dating is like Elementary/Middle school; you learn the basics about each other, the foundational things. Engagement is like High School; a lot of hormones start raging. HAHA! But marriage, you first work on getting your undergrad, then your Masters, then your Doctorate. It’s a lifelong study of your spouse. A lifelong pursuit of knowing them, growing with them, and learning to communicate with them. The idea is really a continual pursuit of your spouses heart.
Lesson 2: You were never meant to complete each other.
A few weeks into our marriage I had the chance to go away to a Women’s conference in Colorado, my husband had gone to the men’s version a few months before our marriage. I mentioned how it felt so strange to be away from my new husband even for just a week and had a well-meaning co-worker tell me it was because “I was incomplete without him”. Something rose up in me when she said that and I felt myself almost rage against that idea of being incomplete without my husband.
At the time I thought it was because I was an independent strong willed Jersey girl. I don’t need a MAN to complete me! You are talking to a woman that had traveled half way around the world and back several times, on my own (well..with friends)! I had lived on my own and supported myself. How am I suddenly this incomplete woman? What if I hadn’t gotten married? Would I have never been complete, walking around as half of an intended whole? What if my husband died one day? Would I only be half a person for the rest of my life?
It just didn’t make sense to me. Actually, if I’m being honest, the idea angered me. At the time I was married only a few months. I was (and still am) very much in love with my new husband. I knew he was the one God had for me. So if I was so happy with my new husband, why did this idea of being incomplete without him make me so mad?
Because that’s not how it’s meant to be…
We were not created to complete each other. The movie Jerry Maguire was recently on tv and we watched it for a few minutes. You already know where I’m going with this don’t you? The infamous line delivered by a tearful Tom Cruz…”You complete me”. I know it’s meant to pull on our heartstrings. When the movie came out women everywhere swooned, hoping for a man to want and need her like that. To be honest, I thought it was kind of cheesy.
But ladies, it is only a shadow of the truth that God planned for us. A definition of shadow is: a weak or inferior remnant or version of something. The idea of being completed by another person is only a weak, inferior version of what God offers.
Colossians 2:10a says “and you have been made complete in Christ”. We have already been made complete when we accepted Christ as our savior! We lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10)! Our spouse can never complete us or fulfill us because that is what only God is meant to do. No man can fill a God sized hole in our hearts. So don’t look to your spouse to complete you, only God can.
Lesson 1: Marriage isn’t about making you happy, it’s about making you holy
I can’t stress this enough. It didn’t even take me 10 years of marriage to understand this point. I can venture to bet that there isn’t a married person out there that hasn’t felt lonely in their marriage at one point. Can you find a person who is years into a marriage that has been happy the entire time?
If people are lonely and unhappy in their marriage at times, then what gives? Are we all just “doing marriage” wrong? No!! Marriage is about two broken people coming together and giving each other grace for our brokenness. God uses the intimacy of our marriage to work out our brokenness. Because of the intimate nature of marriage, no other relationship has that ability to work that deep healing in us. No one knows me like my husband does. He sees my faults like no one else can, and he sees my strengths like no one else can. God uses that intimacy to grow us and heal us.
Our level of happiness in the process is a choice. Do you see the glass half full or half empty? It’s your choice. Are you going to focus on the fact that your husband left his shoes in the middle of the living room again, or that he fixed the leaky sink you told him about. Happiness is a choice we make for ourselves. If you are leaving it up to your spouse to make you happy then you are setting yourself up for failure.
So after 10 years of marriage, where are we on these 5 lessons?
STILL LEARNING! Marriage is a lifelong commitment, not only to each other, but to growing. I hope I am not the same person I am now 10 years from now. I am so thankful for the amazing husband I have been able to grow with over these last 10 years and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 bring!
I would love to hear what lessons you are learning in your marriage! Leave a comment below! And if you enjoyed this post make sure to share it!