10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Marriage
In May, Christopher and I celebrated TEN years of marriage. So I thought I’d share all the married lady wisdom I’ve learned along the way. Also “wisdom” might be a stretch, but whatever.
You won’t always like each other
If you’ve been in a long term relationship of any kind, family member, friend, lover, pet owner, this isn’t a surprise. You can love someone with your entire being and also want to slice them into bits and feed them to the neighborhood alligator. Obviously, you shouldn’t feed your loved ones to the feral gators, or they’re gonna want a glass of milk to go with it, and nobody has time for all that.
For real though, Christopher and I always love each other, we are almost always kind and respectful to one another, but we don’t always like each other. Sometimes not liking your partner lasts 5 minutes, sometimes it lasts 5 days, but eventually you have to suck it up, and work that shit out.
Being married is hard fucking work
(that’s what she said)
Just like any relationship, marriage takes maintenance. Which apparently is more than just living in the same house and seeing each other every day. You have to keep talking about stuff, doing new things, doing fun old things, that kind of work. Learn your partner’s love language, and use that information as much as possible.
Christopher and I struggle the most with what we call the “roommate rut”. We carpool to work, we eat dinner together, we go out to shows, we watch the same stuff on Netflix, we read at the same time, or listen to a podcast together, but in all of that we might not ever talk about anything other than the logistics, when do we need to leave, what should we eat for dinner, who is feeding the dog. Days at a time of not really having a conversation of substance, usually means we aren’t paying attention to each other in other ways. We won’t go to bed at the same time, or we forget to hug and kiss throughout the day, and obviously that means that sex isn’t happening, and that shit is heeelllla important.
Basically, my advice here is this: talk about something interesting at least once a day, and get ya some. You’re welcome.
You will still learn new things about each other
People change, maybe not always in the I wish they would close the mother fucking pantry door kind of way. We try, learn, and experience new things, and then you get to share that with your partner. And thank god, because without that life would be boring as hell. Christopher and I love to travel together, it’s when we’re at our best as a couple. I think a lot of that is because we both love to learn new things and being able to do that together is pretty great.
Relationships have cycles
Sometimes life is full of new adventures like: traveling, trying new restaurants, meeting new friends, or exploring parts of your town you hadn’t yet. This cycle is exciting and by far my favorite!
Sometimes life is just life, you go to work, you hit up all your regular spots, and watch your favorite shows on Netflix. This cycle can be relaxing and calming, it’s cozy and homey, but it can also get boring, and feel like a pit. This cycle is so important! Without the relaxed, repetitive, routine days, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the special adventure days.
Sometimes life is a shit show. And just like adventure and routine, the shit show is important. It helps us know when things are off track, or it reminds us that life is short, or to stay humble. Plus, what else are we going to make fun of over drinks at happy hour if life is always awesome.
You need your own shit
You need your own hobbies, your own headphones, your own blankets, your own friends, your own time to be a weirdo, that kind of thing. And honestly sometimes I wish I had my own bedroom, yano like when one of us is sick, Christopher pissing me off, or someone is laughing too loudly at weird YouTube videos.
You still need to be your own person. Don’t stop doing things you like just because your partner doesn’t want to do them. Christopher loves bike riding, I would rather not go on a bike ride, so he bikes without me, and I love that about him. We spend plenty of time together, what with living in the same house, so it’s good to do our own things.
You need something you both love to do
As much as you need your own shit, it’s helpful to like some of the same stuff. We both like games, Disney, going to the pool or beach, cooking together, drinking coffee, going out to eat, traveling, some of the same music, live performances, you get the picture. The thing we do together the most often though, is cook. Obviously you have to eat, so we try to cook dinner together as much as we can. I like cooking together because it’s more than just an activity that we do together, it’s a service that we are providing for each other, and acts of service is one of my top love languages.
Compromise is never 50/50
I have no idea where I learned that compromise meant giving in 50% to get 50%, but that is a load of bullshit. To be honest, it’s entirely possible that I made this “rule” up in my mind. But compromise is a huge part of staying in a long term relationship of any kind, romantic or otherwise. You’re not always going get your way, it will suck when you don’t, you will probably cry (or is that just me?), and then you move on. Compromise is the worst while it’s being negotiated, but once you get through that part, it’s fine. I can honestly say that if I’ve compromised on something in my marriage that I regretted, I’ve already forgotten about it. Except anytime I have been convinced I didn’t need a fresh hot light is on Krispy Kreme doughnut, I regret all of those times.
Marriage is a choice
You choose to be in this relationship and you have to KEEP CHOOSING IT. Every day, sometimes every minute, you have to choose it. You have to choose to be a partner, choose to love, choose each other over all the other humans. The minute you stop making that choice to be in it together, you start breaking away at what you have built.
Something I love about my marriage is that Christopher and I both acknowledge this openly. I don’t have to be with him, he doesn’t have to be with me. We don’t have kids, we aren’t swimming in gold coins, yeah we own a house, but for us the decision to not be together could be easy. Like a $99, side of the road attorney, divorce easy. At any point one of could say, meh fuck it, I’m out and it could be over. But we talk about this. We talk about our choice to be together. We talk about the things that could play into not making this choice one day. Neither of us believe that there is one perfect person on this planet for you, the math just doesn’t add up. What about people that lose their love too soon, are they not meant to ever find a pure love again? I don’t buy that. I think being in a relationship is about finding someone that you like doing life with and working hard to make that life together, because marriage is a choice.
Talk shit out
As mentioned above, you have to talk about shit. And sometimes that literally means talking about shit, but seriously talk things through. All the things. Even things that are uncomfortable, or things that break your heart.
Christopher and I have had countless bizarre conversations about almost everything I can think of. Obviously, I’m a talker, I write about my life on the internet for strangers to read. So this part of a relationship is usually pretty easy for me. We’ve talked about when we die, had gross conversations about boogers and other bodily fluids, discussed who would be more likely to cheat, I was the one to tell Christopher that his childhood best friend had died, we’ve talked about our fears and insecurities, we’ve cried, and laughed, and everything in between. There have been some tough conversations, but they always lead to deeper connection. So don’t leave things unsaid.
It’s worth it
Having a partner to share chores, errands, and cake with makes life so much fun. I am so glad to have Christopher walk alongside me through all of life’s adventures and challenges. I love the home we’ve created, the family we’ve become, and the new things we have learned together. Our first 10 years of marriage have had wonderful highs and heartbreaking lows, and I can’t wait to see how the next 10 years will unfold.