What I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

Growing up, I never wanted to get married. All I wanted to do was travel the world as a photojournalist. Hopping from country to country with no obligations to anyone. That was the dream. Then as a teenager, I saw the inevitable happen between my parents. I always knew deep down inside that they would be divorced one day. And sure enough, it happened as they neared their 20th wedding anniversary. This solidified it for me and I continued to vow to myself that I would never ever get married. That was until I met him.

I fought so hard to not fall for him. I guarded my heart like a warrior. But, there was this man with the kindest soul and most genuine character, unlike anyone I had ever dated before. How could I pass up an opportunity of love like this? For the past 15 years, he has been my best friend and for the past 10 years also my husband.

As we recently celebrated out 10th wedding anniversary, I tried really hard to not be so cliche about it. But, as we sat there at dinner, I started to get a little emotional. Thinking of what he really and truly means to me. And how I literally could not imagine what my life would be like without him. I had always been such an independent person and still am–even though he has been by my side for all of these years.

I think people sometimes have this idea of what being married is like. You know the stereotypical stuff. And yes, some of that may be true. But, there are so many moments you don’t see. I have realized that it’s not only about love, but respect and understanding for each other. Each relationship is different, so I can’t generalize. But, I can share some of what I’ve learned in the 10 years of being married.

From day one, I’ve never underestimated how much he loves me. He shows me this love daily, even if he thinks I don’t notice. From the simple things he does for me to the big sacrifices. There have been some moments that even surprised me. I guess you can say we have our own unique ways to express our love. Yes, sometimes corny…but always true.

We’ve learned so much from each other and we continue to share experiences that only the two of us will ever understand. We’ve laughed and cried together and have been the strength that each of us needed. And when we require our own lives and moments to breathe, we give each other those too.

And can we talk about patience for a minute? I was apparently not born with much of it. But, his patience with me has been kind of contagious. Which in turn helps me out when he doesn’t do what I want him to do. Go figure. In case you didn’t know, I can be a little bossy. Just a little…teeny tiny bit.

In all seriousness, I know that marriage isn’t easy, it’s not perfect, we have our problems, and it is a lot of work. And this isn’t the first time I’ve shared the special advice my grandma gave to me before we walked down the aisle—and it won’t be the last. She said to me, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that marriage is easy. It’s hard. You have to fight for the one you love.” She was speaking the truth more than I could’ve known at the time.

Fighting, in the non-physical sense of course, can be (and has been) done in more than one way. Whether it’s one of us putting our pride aside, talking things out, apologizing first, seeking out our faith, getting help from a marriage therapist, or all of the above. I’ve learned that it really is up to us (or you) to decide if doing any or all of these things are worth it.

And the learning never stops guys. I basically had a moment of marriage clarity the other day. As we grow older together, we are changing and I have to understand that we aren’t the same people we were ten years ago. Every day is a learning process with us and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I do want you to know that I’m not here to judge you if you went through a divorce, are thinking of separating from your partner, or have decided to remain single. We are all on our own life journeys here. I just wanted to share my story with you and hope that my words can inspire you to always love with an open heart, brave soul, smart mind, and tons of understanding.

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years. -Simone Signoret