Today, Dave and I are celebrating 4 years of marriage. I know that 4 years doesn’t seem like a long time, but in those 4 short years, we have been through a lot. Our time together has already taught me a lot about marriage. Although I could probably write a book about everything I have learned so far, I have narrowed it down to my 4 big takeaways after our first 4 years together.
1. Fight hard, but love even harder
Couples fight. This is just reality. It was hard initially for Dave to grasp this, and he would worry that we fought too much. However, when you spend as much time with anyone as much as you do with your spouse, conflict is inevitable. This is especially true when you have two opinionated and stubborn people making up that relationship (not the case with us though, I am not stubborn at all).
Accepting that arguments happen is important.Even more important is learning each other’s argument style, and how to avoid a disagreement becoming a full blown fight. Fights look different for every couple, so I have no advice on how to act within those moments. That is different for everyone. However, make sure that no matter how hard you fight, that you love even harder.
Be sure to say it and show it as often as possible. Connect with your spouse whenever you can. When you transition from being a married couple into being parents, this can sometimes be difficult to do. Know that it is still possible, it just may look different than it did before kids.
2. Things happen when and how they are supposed to, and there is beauty in the struggle
I am not the most religious person you will meet, however I am a big believer that things all happen for a reason. There have been several moments over the past 4 years that have shown me that. The random and very expensive trip to the emergency room with Dave when he had no insurance and nothing ended up being wrong was frustrating at the time. However, almost 2 years later, then scans they did at that time helped the doctors find his brain tumor. Without that visit, they would have assumed the growth had been there his entire life.
We tried for over a year to get pregnant the first time. There is little that is more frustrating than trying to get pregnant for a long period of time. We ended up getting pregnant at the perfect time, after having an extremely rough year dealing with Dave’s brain tumor. It happened right at the moment where we were feeling so down about everything. In came Patrick, our perfect little boy, to light up our life.
Dave spend almost 2 years looking for a new job. He was happy at his old job, but it wasn’t what he wanted to be doing. He was patient, but frustrated through the process. We were never sure why nothing was panning out for him professionally, but knew when the right opportunity came along it would work out. Now, Dave is working at the Cleveland Clinic and gets to work with patients going through chemotherapy. He loves being there as a friendly face for them, and getting to talk with them about what they are going through and share his story as well. There was a reason other jobs didn’t work out, because this is where he is supposed to be right now.
3. Time apart is just as important as time together
This one is different for each couple. Some couples are able to spend every waking moment together, and can’t imagine being away from each other for a minute.
We are not that couple.
We love our date nights and moments together, don’t get me wrong. However, we needs out moments apart to keep our individuality and sanity at times. There are nights where I will do my blogging while Dave plays his video game. I have my nights out with the girls, and he has his nights out with the boys.
The time apart rejuvenates us both as husband and wife, as well as parents. Sometimes, you just need to get away, and that is ok!
Being happy doesn’t just happen. It is a decision. You have to decide to ignore the negative (and there is A LOT of it out there to ignore) and be happy instead. Sometimes, that means changing things in your life. I have known I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. However, after 9 years of teaching I have decided that in order for me to be happy, I am going to have to leave the profession. Making the decision was difficult, but it was making the decision to be happy that was easy.
Deciding to be happy doesn’t have to mean a major life decision though. It can be as simple as surrounding yourself with positive people who you enjoy being around. It can be choosing to ignore negative comments or actions of others. It can be inserting sometime positive into your life. I have started reading DailyPositiveQuotes.com which are uplifting, and a great way to start the day!
Choosing to be happy in your life makes it so much easier to be happy in your marriage and at home!
What is the best advice you have for building a strong marriage?