Last week, my husband and I hit the double digits: we celebrated 10 years of marriage!
I gotta say, the view up here is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. And we had a wedding photo-shoot because after ten years of marriage why not! lol
I love my Tommy more than I did on our wedding day. He’s my sweetest blessing from God.
I love how he loves me. His wacky sense of humor, how he makes me laugh. I am somewhat serious in personality, and he’s the most chilled out guy you ever met! It’s incredible how God pairs us up!
In honor of our wedding anniversary, I want to share 10 things I have learned in 10 years of marriage! Plus a few images from our photo-shoot!
1. We are not great at marriage
Human beings, in general, don’t have a good hang of things; we are not great at relationships. Why’s that?
Because we were created to need Jesus. We have a hole that only He can fill. It’s in our DNA to be dependant on Him who created us and completes us.
Yeah, even when we think can find our way around marriage-ville, we still miss the mark when Jesus is not in it. Because how can anyone be successful at something they didn’t create or originate?
It’s not a shameful thing to admit you are weak. To accept before God and then your spouse that you are not that great of a lover after all. Especially when they point it out.
There’s so much beauty in brokenness when God’s in it. Our weakness invites God in. We exchange our weakness and shortcomings with His victory and power.
So after these many years, I am learning to be honest about my inabilities. Without admitting my needs, I will not welcome God’s wholeness and I will resist how God wired my husband to grow me.After many years of marriage, I am learning to be honest about my inabilities. Without admitting my needs, I will not welcome God's wholeness and I will resist how God wired my husband to grow me.
And we both won’t attain the marriage of our dreams; intimately known and gracefully broken together.
2. A Christian marriage doesn’t make us immune to wandering
Like most wives who are in mostly healthy marriages, I never thought this as real threat to my marriage.
But then I got weird dreams, (see Why Sex is Worth Waiting For: Lessons from My Teenage Crush), wrestled with a condition that messed with my thinking (irrational fears).
And talked to newlywed wives who are walking through unfaithfulness in marriage. So now I know that no marriage is immune; not because we are all looking to be unfaithful but because life happens and the devil is real.
So we need to know how to handle temptation when it comes: read this post Married but Attracted to Someone Else? What You Must Do.
3. Sometimes God saves the best things for later
Ten years ago, I had a honey-be-list that was as long as my bridal train. I thought I knew how marriage ought to look like and I was in a hurry to produce that picture.
I didn’t know (and I am still learning) that a good marriage takes time. Not because God is stingy but because my husband and I are slow learners.
One year ago, I developed a severe case of nerve pain that has turned our life upside down. (See When Your Spouse is Sick: 6 Reminders to Navigate the Season) While our life looks normal on the outside, on the inside it is is anything but.
I have dragged through months of doctors visits, treatments, therapy; disconnected from much of life, church, and even ministry. I have struggled with despair, desperation, fear, depression, even feeling like I am dying.
And my Sweetie has picked up the slack. Encouraging, helping, cleaning, cooking, shopping, shuttling to doctors, wrestling through treatment options and different diagnosis; he has held a torch for us.
It has not been easy; we have disagreed, I have felt misunderstood, he has wondered and pondered. But one thing has been consistent; everything I wanted in my husband ten years ago is pouring out today and then some. (See 6 Things I would Tell My Newlywed Self)
Sometimes God waits, not because He’s slow but because His light shines brightest in the dark. We see best when it’s dark around us. I see better now; a little less entitled, a little more grateful.
Newlywed and fretting about the state of your marriage? Sometimes all you need is this confounding thing called Time. If you are patient enough, crazy enough to hang in there, your little love will grow up to surprise you.
You don’t have to fuss and fight and worry – you can work through issues of your marriage and my book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years can set you on a better road. Get on the road to a great marriage (or improve the one you have) here >> Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I UK/Europe PDF . Or click here to go to book page
4. Marriage is not about making sure I am getting all I want or think I deserve; it is about making sure I am giving all that Christ has given me.
Not the most natural thing to wrap our heads around. But if we hang out with God long enough, if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, believing trusting, obeying, He’ll help us not just agree with His others-first outlook, but actually delight in it.
It’s a journey but you can get there; See How Humility Changed the Course of Our Marriage.
5. People who hide their hearts from their spouse first hid their hearts from God
Here’s what I am learning; sometimes freedom comes from pushing into our questions and pain. Not from running away from it.
But pushing through is hard. Wrestling through the annoying, the difficult, the unexplained, is tough. It’s so much easier to run!
That’s why many wives wear masks in marriage. Give a bit of this and a bit of that but hold back the very best because…. (fill in the blank, past or present hurt, etc)
Indeed vulnerability doesn’t take place overnight. Wounds take time to heal. (See To The Wounded Wife) But we need to at least get on the road to healing. We need to tear down this camp and get up.
We need to talk to our Father about the hurt and pain and doubt. Instead of whip up the “I am OK” mask.
God will never send you where He isn’t already. Allow Him to lead you to those courageous places. Even when those positions feel more broken and more fragile than you want. There’s beauty in brokenness when God’s in it.
6. When you say “I do” to your husband, you say “I don’t” to a bunch of other stuff.
Curious as to what this other stuff is? Read this Married? You Should not Have a Pinterest Board called Eye-candy.
7. Growth is not the natural progression of marriage.
Spouses drift when they are not intentional about staying together.
The first time I figured out that my husband and I would automatically drift apart unless we intentionally stayed together, I was shocked.
See, I had assumed that all marriages which fail have one or both of the spouses doing something wrong and the wrongdoing leads to a breakup. I was wrong.
Doing nothing is equally as bad.
Because people don’t float together, they float apart. To stay together, you need a tether. To thrive, a couple must cling and cleave as if there’s a huge wave coming at them.
Because there is a wave called drift – laziness, selfishness, convenience, easy, resentment, indiscipline, busy. And before long, you look around and you lost sight of your spouse.
Stay tethered. Your relationship is counting on it. (See Priorities: The Unpopular Gospel of Putting Your Marriage First)Spouses drift when they are not intentional about staying together. Learn how to stay tethered so your marriage can thrive @nginaotiende
8. If Jesus is all you have, you still have everything
Not the thing we want to hear when we are in deep trenches of pain, I know. And of course, God created us for community so I am not implying that we don’t need a band of brothers and sisters to do life with.
But for every wife (and every human being really) there will come a time when she will feel misunderstood by individuals in her circle. She does herself a huge favor, then or now, when she allows the neglected-feeling to point her back to God.
We must recognize that everything we read about marriage (including what I say on this blog!) is meant to point us towards God.
Not replace Him.
When people can’t soothe our aches or offer the respite we need, we can’t give up on God. Instead, we need to thank Him because their failure forces us to depend on Him for everything!
Take the opportunity to view people as instruments and channels in the hands of an almighty God who never fails.
9. Sometimes people who need our love the most are the most difficult to love
There was a time when I thought people who need me the most should be the easiest to love. It makes sense, right? If you need me, then you should be grateful I am there for you!
Then I remembered Jesus. We needed Him most, but we despised Him. But He didn’t give up on us.
Indeed, Christ-like love has boundaries too: we don’t enable the wrong behavior in the name of love. But we need to recognize that “tough love” doesn’t relieve us from our responsibility: obedience to God.
Don’t let your spouse’s shortcomings and failures keep you from obeying Christ. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:32
10. From 10 years of marriage – most husbands are a little weird, and that’s a good thing
I am continually surprised by husband’s new levels of “odd”!
I don’t know of any dude who is so put together and laid back and introverted in public but is a complete circus in the house! It’s one my longtime fascination about him; and I just love it about him!
From one wife to another, after 10 years of marriage – enjoy your guy’s little quirks and oddities. Those things that drew you to him. Laugh at his jokes, engage his tales, wrestle him to the floor, become his loony ally, the one who gets his weird.
And grows to become as weird, if not more. In the end, you figure out that it’s the little things that make marriage so breathtaking.
And those are my 10 lessons from 10 years of marriage..plus a few pictures! Your turn: what is your favorite anniversary memory? What has been your greatest lesson about marriage so far? Let’s share in Comments below!
Related posts from years past.
I want to give a huge shout out to Sandy Lu, of Crown Timeless Events for exceptional event and floral design, (including Teshorn Jackson Photography!) The flowers were gorgeous (including the birdcage which she created too!) and the attention to all details of the event was breathtaking!
Crown Timeless Events specializes in bespoke floral and event design. They are based out of Dallas, Texas, but travel for destination weddings, engagements and other life events! For an exceptional and timeless touch to your next event, get in touch with creative director Sandy Lu for a complimentary consultation! Click here to get in touch.
Are you an imperfect girl married to an imperfect guy? Wondering how to make sense of marriage? My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years might help. Learn how to work out the kinks, find joy in imperfection, positively influence your marriage and create the marriage of your dreams, one intentional choice at a time. Start your journey when you buy the book –> Paperback I Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I UK/Europe PDF. Or Click here to go to the book page.