My husband and I celebrated eleven years of marriage last week!
In honor of that, I want to share some of the best marriage lessons, specifically, things I’ve learned or become more settled about, in the last year.
I have more anniversary reflections from the years past, so make sure to read the articles at the end of this one!
Without further ado
Top five marriage lessons from eleven years of marriage
1. My husband is all right
If you’ve followed my writing over the last eight years, you know my biggest struggles are comparison (See Comparison: 3 Ways to Quit it) and changing my husband. (See Change My Husband: How to Influence His Growth)
But over the years I’ve learned to quit agitating for perfection.
I also realized that sometimes we are so busy fixing our spouse and marriage we have no time for self-evaluation: We too outward focused to see the problem in front of us. OurselvesSometimes we are so busy fixing our spouse and marriage we have no time for self-evaluation. We are outward focused and don't see the problem in front of us: Ourselves
But self-study is how we see the areas we need to grow, how we confront our own issues, and take responsibility.
When I am not fixated with my husband’s responsibilities, I have more margin to deal with my own baggage.
Not that his problems are less important but I am responsible for myself. Plus only a healthy spouse (or one attempting to get healthy) can breath accountability into a relationship.
We don’t have as much authority in the relationship if our own life is a mess.
So the last few years have been a journey of much self-reflection and growth. And the funny thing is, as I see and ponder on my areas of growth and consequently learn to take care of my business, there’s so more peace and more grace to give my husband.
2. We are all right
Since I am intensely growth focused, it’s easy for me to see the things that are not working. I see the goals not met, can blow up every irritation and become the worst critique of my marriage.
I get disappointed with the minor things and forget all the great things we have going on.
Over the last year, I’ve become even more settled with us. Our style, our life, our pace. Maybe it’s got to do with my chronic health challenges and the growth spurt they started. Or perhaps this is what growing up feels like : ) #LateBloomersUnite
Either way, I am thankful to be here, so grateful for my marriage.
Most newlyweds, are in a mad rush to grow up. (At least I was). We want a mature marriage and we want it yesterday. If you are concerned with growth – or just want to understand how a person can be married eleven years and still lag behind -read this post Growing a Strong Marriage: 8 Signs of a Mature Love
3. Sex is a beautiful gift, but it’s not everything
I’ve had this sneaky feeling, starting a few years ago, that while sex is a huge blessing to a couple, it’s not everything.
I remember talking to a friend about the tendency to blow up the importance of the physical side of the marriage, and seeing her face fall. We talked at length about the gift of intimacy and responsibilities that come with the gift.
Most people have been taught that in marriage, sex rules. But I believe we need to change the conversation because life happens. When couples hinge the success of their marriage on a great sex life, they end up feeling like their marriage has failed.
Fear and hopelessness have never motivated anyone to fight for intimacy.
Undoubtedly, sex is essential.
Most husbands have a more urgent need for it. A growing percentage of marriages have the wife as the more high drive spouse. See When Your Husband Has a Lower Sex Drive. Sex bonds a couple in profound ways.
Sex is important. But sex is not the glue that holds a marriage together; commitment is. You can still love each other, serve each other, enjoy each the marriage even as you work on existing issues.Sex is not the glue that holds a marriage together; commitment is. You can still love each other, serve each other, enjoy the marriage even as you work on the bedroom issues.
The rest of your marriage doesn’t have to stop because you have challenges. Considering that one of the best ways to heal your sex life is to improve the rest of your marriage, you see why sex can’t rule.
The last year has reminded my husband and me to treasure and value each other beyond the bedroom. We are working through my health challenges , and perhaps you too are in a season where life in marriage-ville is not usual.
My encouragement to you is not to throw in the towel or to feel defeated. Remember your vows – you did not marry a body to have sex with (at least I hope that wasn’t the entire goal of marriage) but a person to love.
You wanted a person to do life with. And life takes you through highs and lows and to get this marriage thing right, you need to stick together.
So I am glad for sex; it’s mind-blowing. But I am so glad we are more than our sex life. We are first best friends who love Jesus and each other.
4. Marriage lessons – I married an amazing man
Sometimes we have to see things from hindsight to cherish the whole picture.
Getting older in marriage is like climbing to the top of a hill; you have greater appreciation for the rest of the landscape. I can look back at our years together and piece together all the different ways my husband is amazing, without being bogged down by the ways he’s human.
I love his heart, his quirkiness, his loyalty, even his obsession with logic and efficiency. See 12 Reasons I Love My Husband
I treasure the blessing of marriage because that’s precisely what it is, a blessing from our Father. I see God’s grace (undeserved favor) and mercy (not getting what we deserve) in our marriage everyday.
Our relationship is a living symbol of how God loves: tenderly, fiercely, loyally. Our love is limited but God’s love is limitless.
5. Couple friendships are gold
When we left our home country, Kenya, eight years ago, we had no clue how much we’d miss all the crazy beautiful that is rooting and culture and family.
Honestly, I thought we’d make a massive wagon of new friends and framily (friends who feel like family) immediately, just like back home.
Oh the lessons I needed to learn! Friends and family are irreplaceable. You can make new friends, but they don’t replace the ones you left behind. All relationships are unique.Friends and family are irreplaceable. You can make new friends, but they don't replace the ones you left behind. All relationships are unique.
While I miss our old life, I am also aware of the mind-blowing blessing that is our life in the US. It’s our home country now, and every day we are astounded at how God is weaving His story in and through us.
Newlywed? Don’t waltz into marriage like you need nobody. You need all the help you can get: You need good friends. Getting along in marriage? Stay in community. See Why Married Couples Need Couple Friends
And those are my five marriage lessons from the last season of marriage!
Your turn – which one resonated the most? Any marriage lessons you can add from your marriage? Let’s chat in comments!
Also make sure to read the following anniversary reflections from years past!