The 10th anniversary is one of those marriage milestones that seems so far away when you’re a blissful newlywed. But 10 years is a big deal!
I had someone ask me recently how we’re doing as a couple, and my answer is the same as it always is: “We’re good; really good.” I don’t say that to toot our own horn, but we genuinely love our marriage, and we put work into it every single day. That’s not to say that we never fight or argue, or want different things, but we view this marriage as a partnership, and we also work on making it thrive.
We’ve gone through a lot in a decade. Seven deployments, three births, four homes, three states, one foreign country, one death, and one dog. Okay, that doesn’t seem like much when I condensed it into one sentence, but still…TEN YEARS!
The one I want by my side and whispering things in my ear. The one who calms me down, lifts me up, believes in me, and is always by my side…even when he’s on the other side of the world. He’s the person I want to wake up next to, go on adventure with, and chill with at home.
He’s my rock, and my best friend.
More than that, we’ve learned a lot together in 10 years of marriage (13 including dating years).
I asked him to write down a list of five things he’s learned about marriage over the years, and I did the same, which leaves us with…
Ten Things We’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage
Go to bed angry. The whole, don’t go to bed angry advice always grinds my gears. I’m a morning person, so once the sun goes down, so does my ability to see things clearly. Sometimes it’s better for our relationship to grumble, “I love you,” roll over, and fall asleep. Not every time you argue, of course, but sometimes you really need to just sleep it off and figure things out in the morning.
Figure out how to communicate. Find what works for you. If you’re too upset to speak to each other, write it down. Text each other throughout the day, or send emails if phones aren’t allowed. We talk about anything and everything. He knows my plans, and I know his.
Get on the same page. When you make plans, double check them and make sure you’re each on the same page. We actually have a silly “code” word for big decisions, and once we both say it, we’re in agreement that whatever we just decided on is what we’ll go with, that way we don’t have any takesies backsies, and since we both said it to each other, we both know there’s no confusion.
We also regularly have marriage meetings, even when he’s deployed. It’s a priority for us to make sure we’re always on the same page for everything from finances and the kids schedules, to our work commitments and future dreams/goals.
Make a secret let’s-get-out-of-here code aka have fun together. Make dreams and plans for the future, and talk about it often. Go on adventures, either as a couple or as a family. Dance in the kitchen, laugh at those inside jokes, and make a secret we’ve-gotta-get-out-of-here code. The code is legit; that way you’re not wondering if that nudge was a “let’s leave” nudge or just a nudge.
Date often. When he’s in town we try to go on at least one date a month. In a perfect world we’d go out once a week together. I know money can be tight or your spouse may be gone a lot, but whatever your excuse is: make. it. happen. The one-on-one time with him to just laugh and have fun, or just reconnect is so important to our relationship.
Some of our favorite dates are the spontaneous ones where we go grab tacos and margaritas, and then shop at Costco or Target together at night with the kids, or a fun brunch outing.
Do the dishes. No one likes doing the dishes, or the laundry, or taking out the trash, or changing diapers, or wiping butts that don’t belong to you, but it needs to be done. The difference between us going to bed (and getting up) stressed vs. relaxed is directly related to the amount of dishes in the sink, and junk on the floor. And no one like poop in their pants, so clean it up.
Adventure together. One of the fun parts about the military is that we’ve lived together in four different cities over the last decade. Each place has its own random local attractions that we’d hit up (looking at you, World’s Longest Yard Sale, GA). Sometimes its fun (Vespa rides in Hawaii), and other times it’d be a bust (apple foam on a hamburger in Georgia), but it’s fun to explore and stretch beyond our comfort zone.
Tag team ALL the things. There isn’t much in our marriage that only one of us does, even though we have our strengths and preferences on who does what. It’s nice that when I deploy or she’s on a blogging-trip-meeting-sexy-movie-stars (I’m not jealous, you’re jealous), the other one can handle stuff. It also helps us appreciate what each other does day to day.
Honesty is the best policy. Most of the time the military orders you to go places and do things. But, sometimes, you have a choice on if/when you go. Even wilder, sometimes you can even volunteer to go places and do things. Being honest and open about everything makes it a conversation instead of a period. We are up front with what we both want to do and how it will effect us personally and our family as a whole.
Have a plan. Jess and I are pretty much on the same page for what we want out of our life together, and that’s becuase we talk about it constantly, and that’s something we’ve done from the beginning of our relationship. We know where we want to live again at some point; we know where we want to retire, and we know what kind of lifestyle we want for the next 70 years.
We know because we’ve talked about it, and we intentionally drive down that path. Deploying for a year wasn’t Option 1, but it’s the best fit for our long-term plans, and knowing that in advance has made this deployment go a lot smoother. It’s also helped us budget better and kept us in check when shiny distractions come up.
Extra marriage lesson learned:
Bring Sexy Back. Get yourself a little something that makes you feel sexy, and make time to enjoy being married (wink wink). After 10 years we still want each other just as much as we did our first married night.
If you’re married, leave a comment with ONE thing you’ve learned over the years!
*Shout out to JM Photo Art for the stellar pictures!