After 9 years together and 5 years as hubby and wife behind us (where did the time go???), these are a few of my words of wisdom for the soon-to-be-weds and newlyweds out there:
1. Be on the same team. Marriage is the two of you against the world. Of course you aren't always going to agree on everything, but try to fight only the battles that really matter. People and circumstances will try to pull you apart. Stand up for your partner and speak kindly of them - at the end of the day, you've only got each other.
2. Figure out finances early. Very early on in our relationship, it became clear that Josh and I had two very different financial philosophies - he's a spender (honestly, we should own stock in Apple) and I'm a saver (all those years of my dad yelling at me to turn lights off when I leave a room finally sunk in). In the early years, this resulted in what felt like endless arguments. A couple of years ago, I started following Dave Ramsey, and Josh and I got on the same page with where we'd like to be financially. We're still a work in progress, but being a team when it comes to money has taken a huge burden off of us.
3. It's okay to go to bed angry. Whoever said you should never go to bed angry, in my humble opinion, was just wrong. Sometimes, you just need to shut up and get a good night's sleep (or if you're like me, eat a sandwich... I get grumpy if I'm tired or hungry). Don't pick fights just because you're tired. You'll be thinking more clearly after a few zzz's and your morning coffee and might avoid a senseless argument.
4. But don't bottle it up. On the flip side, it's not good to suppress your emotions all the time either. I know, I know... people say it all. the. time, but it's only because it's true: communication is key. Bottling up your feelings over a prolonged period of time will only result in resentment or an explosive argument or both in the long run (speaking from experience). Just try to communicate calmly and effectively, and think about your words before speaking them.
5. Change isn't always a bad thing. In our first couple of years of marriage, I had a bad habit of comparing our current relationship to the way things were when we were dating... when we'd write letters or emails to each other once a week because we lived 600 miles apart or when we'd surprise each others with little gifts or we'd spend hours talking on the phone without a single lapse in conversation. It was all new and exciting and not filled with mortgages and careers and chores, but I've finally realized that change can be good. The truth is, I kinda love the comfort and easiness that being together for so long brings. Now, instead of learning about each other's childhoods and past adventures by telling one another the stories, we're just creating our own stories. I look forward to 100 more years of change and new adventures together!
Read more anniversary recaps here:
Four Years Married
Three Years Married
Six Years Dating