This Valentine’s Day week, we have a series of posts dedicated to love, marriage, and sex. This series is brought to you by our partners at A New You Counseling.
My husband and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage in May. I thought I would share some of the marital wisdom we have gleaned over the past decade. And if there is any advice you would like to add to this list, please do! We’re still learning.
1. Prioritize Time Together.
In the past, we’ve tended to do our own thing in the evenings. But lately we have found a show we both enjoy and we watch an episode together most nights, while enjoying a favorite snack. I have discovered that even when we don’t talk much during this time, I still feel closer and more connected to my husband in general.
2. Support Each Other’s Dreams.
When we were first dating, I told my husband that I dreamed of learning to play the violin, but I had no idea where to get started and found the whole idea rather intimidating. A few months after we were married, my husband told me he had contacted a violin teacher, and she had told him where to rent a violin until we were ready to buy one. He wanted me to take lessons and begin to pursue this dream. I did – and loved it. Over our 10 years of marriage, my husband has always supported my dreams, and I am so grateful. I try to support his dreams, too.
3. Over Communicate.
Maybe some of you communicate easily. But we don’t. We think very differently, and we have very different styles of communication. It makes things hard. Don’t assume they understand. Make sure they do – repeat, double-check, and reassure. Working on good communication early makes such a big difference!
4. Prioritize Emotional Intimacy.
Something that made a huge difference in our 10 years of marriage was when my husband really began seeking to know me in the complication of my different emotions. We began unpacking these emotions together, and it helps me process them, and it helps him know me. And on a deeper level, it makes me feel loved and connected, which often leads to me feeling more like physical intimacy. Which leads into my next point…
5. Have Sex. A Lot.
6. Be in Agreement About Finances.
One of the greatest areas of strife for a couple tends to be their finances. Be in agreement about the type of lifestyle you want, how to prioritize your spending, and ways you want to budget.
7. Overlook Small Annoyances.
Every couple has them. The spouse who doesn’t put their clothes in the hamper. The husband or wife who puts the roll of toilet paper on so it unrolls under instead of over. And it is easy to let them become big annoyances. It is easy to fall into nagging each other about these little quirks or habits. But nobody is perfect. Everybody has something. It is so much better to decide not to let the little things bother you – to overlook them – and focus on what your spouse does well and reasons you love them. You don’t want bitterness to grow in your marriage.
8. Find an Older Couple to Mentor You.
Marriage is hard. Older couples have been through it. They can help you. Having an older couple to pour into your marriage is invaluable.
9. Love Unconditionally.
Don’t withhold affection out of bitterness. Don’t expect them to earn your love. Work through things so you grow closer, not farther apart. Seek to put them first every day. And if they do the same, your marriage will grow stronger.
10. Practice Lavish Forgiveness.
If I were able to only give one piece of advice of things I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage, instead of ten, this would be it. Enjoy them when you are in harmony. Forgive them when they hurt you. Choose to love them even when it’s hard.
Those are 10 lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of marriage. What would you add to this list?
If you love your partner, but are tired of the disconnect, there is help. People can learn to be better at relationships. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s a skill! Contact A New You Couples Counseling for more details.
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