This past August, my husband and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. I’m proud of us as a couple. We had to overcome poor communication as well as learn how to properly manage our relationship when we were upset.
I had to learn what it really meant to be a good wife. So, by the time we arrived at year 17, I must admit, it felt amazing – especially knowing that we are better today than we have ever been in our relationship. We are friends who are comfortable, vulnerable, and truly know one another.
Sometimes, how much my husband knows me feels eerie. But that is what should happen over time. Relationships should develop, change and continue to improve. Every year for a married couple should be one they look forward to spending together.
The thinking ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ doesn’t really apply to marriage.
Anniversaries shouldn’t continue to pass by without there being a celebration of how far you’ve come as a couple. What you learned, what worked and even what didn’t work should be considered with every anniversary.
Each year represents a new beginning and provides an opportunity to take a look back at the ups and downs of your marriage. In addition to the usual anniversary plans we make to celebrate, we should also take an inventory and create a plan of action to be even better in the upcoming year of marriage.
It’s easy to become complacent in your marriage and kind of go with the flow. The thinking “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” doesn’t really apply to marriage. Couples should be focused on making this the best marriage possible for their partner.
There are things we should learn between our anniversaries that will guide us into making the next one the best one. We can have a great marriage if we choose and are proactive. As we come to the close of each anniversary year, there are a few things couples should consider:
Did you achieve your relationship goals last year?
The setting of realistic love goals will only improve your marriage every year. Think about:
- Vacations you’d like to take
- Date night ideas
- How much to save
- How you plan on solving your disagreements
Having a plan in place increases your chances of love success. Goals give you something to strive for and puts you and your partner on the same page at the same time.
How did you, your partner, and your relationship improve?
There should always be growth in our own personal development as well as within our relationship. Did your spouse do a much better job listening to you this year? Did you learn to do a better job in managing your household responsibilities?
Once you determine where the two of you were the strongest, be sure to affirm and thank your spouse for the effort they put into the marriage. It feels amazing to hear praise, even if it was for something minor.
Which areas did you notice could use a little remodeling?
Sometimes, couples miss the mark. We mean well, but we can occasionally fall into some of those old, bad habits. Thinking about where you struggled the most and taking an honest assessment will only benefit your relationship overall.
It’s okay to admit you could have been better; it’s even more effective when you create a solution for actually being a better spouse. Getting your spouse’s thoughts on this topic will provide the insight needed to truly make change.
A successful marriage is always within a couple’s reach. Using each year’s anniversary as a way to gauge your progress as a couple is a healthy habit we all should adopt. Just as individuals get better with age, so should our marriages.
BMWK, what have you learned each year in your marriage?