This month, my husband and I are celebrating 11 years of marriage. And every year, I reflect on how far we’ve come since 2005.
We may not always agree, and we’ve learned that that’s okay. We’ve learned to embrace our relationship and all of the blessings that God has given us.
My husband just told me the other day, “You know, I really like you”. I wouldn’t have understood this 11 years ago. But today, I do and can say that I really like my husband too. And that’s important in a marriage.
You should really like the person you’re going to marry because a happy marriage goes beyond love.
Here are 11 critical lessons I would teach my younger self about marriage:
1. Marriage is not a competition
In marriage, it’s you and your spouse against the world. It’s not about who can outdo the other; it’s not about trying to be better than so-and-so’s marriage. The only competition in marriage should be with yourself on how you can be a better spouse.
2. Marriage is a blessing
It shouldn’t be taken for granted. There are so many benefits to marriage. It shouldn’t be seen as a curse or as trouble. If God brought you together, it’s a blessing.
3. Marriage changes things
And it should change things for the better. It should change the people you hang out with, the places you go or even the things you say. Marriage creates change, but change can be a good thing.
4. Marriage should make you a better person
Marriage should change you. Your goal in marriage is to love your spouse like no one else on earth can. You shouldn’t be the same person in year ten of your marriage as you were in year five or as you were in year one.
5. Marriage is for the mature
Notice I didn’t mention age but maturity. Marriage is a time to grow up, and many times, age has nothing to do with it. If you learn to grow up before marriage, you won’t have to figure it out in your marriage.
6. Marriage is a commitment
It’s a promise that you’ll commit to loving and respecting your spouse. Because of your dedication to upholding your commitment, Don’t put yourself in situations that may allow you to become vulnerable.
7. Marriage should not be feared
People always like to talk about the bad when they speak about marriage. Just because there aren’t positive images/examples in your family, doesn’t mean yours won’t be. Surround yourself with couples whom you can learn from and lean on.
8. Marriage should be fun
Don’t wait until you can save for that dream vacation or build that dream home. Don’t wait until you start that new job or when you can carve out some time. Make time for fun regularly in your marriage.
9. Marriage is about compromise
There are many things in life that we need to compromise on. Marriage is not black and white (i.e. “You always do X, so I will expect you to always do X”).
10. Marriage should be honored
Even if you strongly disagree with something or you feel your spouse has neglected you, you should never allow disrespect to enter into your marriage. Guard your marriage from anything and anyone who aims to put distance between you and your spouse.
11. Marriage will humble you
If you’re used to having everything your way or done a certain way, brace yourself. Marriage will teach you that your way is not always the right way. It will teach you that even when you’re as nice and humble as you think you are, there is always room for more humility.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Don’t waste time with petty arguments or things that really just don’t matter.
BMWK: What lessons would you teach your younger self about marriage?