Saturday is a very special day – our 5 year wedding anniversary.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 years and over 11 years together, but I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Don’t get me wrong – those 5 years (and 11 years) haven’t always been easy and have brought many hard times, many journeys, many struggles, but also many wonderful and happy times. That’s marriage and if you are with the right person then it all makes it worthwhile.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert on marriage my any means. We have many years ahead of us and many lessons that we still need to learn, but in the past 5 years I’ve already learned so much. We had been together for 6 years on our wedding day, so I remember thinking – how much different could it really be? In some ways it’s not, but looking back I can already see how many differences the past 5 years have brought.

I thought I would share with you all some of the 5 things I’ve learned in these first 5 years of marriage:

 

Love and Marriage is a CHOICE

Marriage isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, most of you probably aren’t surprised by this. When you first meet someone everything feels new and exciting. It can still feel that way years later, but it isn’t going to stick around all the time.

Love, deep love, comes from a commitment to one another. It is a commitment to support, love, and continue chasing your dreams together. Love means even when you know the person is wrong, still supporting them. Love is work sometimes, but in the end it is always worthwhile. I think too many people go into marriage thinking it’s all lovey and fun (which it IS at times) but the moments that really grow that love and strengthen your marriage are the hard times.

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Embrace the Good Times

We went through a couple years of one frustrating and hard time after another. At times we thought it would never end and I can remember telling myself –is this how it is always going to be?

Then the good times come. These are the times where it seems easy and life seems to move smoothly. It’s easy to get caught up and expect something bad to happen, but these are the times to fully embrace and enjoy every moment. Life it too short to worry about what if, but embracing those good times, the good moments, are what make lifelong memories.

 

Listen, Listen, and Listen Some More

I won’t lie and say I’m perfect at this, in fact I know it is an area I need to work on. In the beginning of our relationship arguments were worse because we weren’t actually listening to each other. You may think you are listening, but you are simply hearing instead of truly listening.

When you truly step back, don’t speak, and listen to what the other is saying you are able to understand more about where their thoughts and dreams are coming from. Sure, they may not always be right but the more you listen the less likely it is to speak out when you shouldn’t. Even anger comes from somewhere, and sometimes we can’t figure that out unless we truly understand what the other is saying.

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You have to Work Hard at Not Becoming Roommates

It’s very easy in the hustle and bustle of life to fall into the “roommate” trap. Between work, laundry, chores, more work, dinner, and kids (upcoming but I know some of you already have them) you can forget that you are more than roommates.

You have to work together to keep the romance and partnership alive. You have to go on dates, and remember the importance of the time for the two of you. No matter what that always has to be a focus for us and something we work at each day.

 

Communication is EVERYTHING

I’m not ashamed to admit that for the first year or two of our marriage we were not good at communication. It is something that we still work on today and openly discuss. It’s important to address issues and find ways to address this.

Open communication I believe is essential to any relationship. My husband is someone I feel I can go to for anything, good and bad. The longer you put things off, push them aside, and let them fester the worse the issue will become. Be open, be clear, and don’t hold onto to expectations. Be clear about what you want and listen to your partner when they tell you what they want.

 

Marrying my best friend was the best decision I ever made, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t hard times. I know what we’ve been through has made us strong and no matter what we face in the future we can get through together.

 

For those who are married, what anniversary are you celebrating this year?

What is one thing marriage has taught you?

 

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