My husband and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary this month.
How is that even possible when I’m still only 23?
Here’s the truth – when I married Ryan, I got really, really lucky. I was 17 when we started dating and only 23 when we got married. I didn’t know anything, but I knew he was a keeper.
After 9 years of marriage and almost 15 years together, I still don’t know anything. But I am still positive that I won the husband lottery.
That doesn’t mean that our marriage has always been easy or fun.
It doesn’t mean either of us are perfect.
But I really am thankful for every day – even on hard days. (And no, sometimes I don’t realize I’m thankful for those days while they’re happening. Thank you very much.)
And I have learned a lot about marriage and life from my husband. Now, I just have to spend the next 9 (or 90) years trying to put this stuff into action. It will definitely take that long.
Here are some of those lessons … in case you could use a reminder, too.
Sometimes it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.
During a trip to Atlanta 6 years ago, we ended up walking what seemed like miles to get to a barbecue place we wanted to try. It was (at least) a million degrees outside.
And while I wanted to lay on the steaming pavement and wait for death to take me, Ryan told me (not unkindly) to stop thinking about it and just put one foot in front of the other.
This is really my husband in a nutshell. He just keeps going. If he’s tired, he keeps going. If he’s mad, he keeps going. If he’s hungry, he keeps going (and he eats).
It’s how he built a house and completed countless home projects. It’s how he’s a wonderful dad and husband. It’s how he is a killer friend. It’s how we’ve made it through tough times.
Because the truth is, sometimes marriage isn’t easy and you may want to give up. But it may just take putting one foot in front of the other.
What other people do (or think) doesn’t matter.
Here’s another important thing about my husband – he really doesn’t care about what you think. Or what the Internet thinks. Or what my friend’s husband thinks.
He doesn’t compare himself, his life or his family to others. He doesn’t try to outdo his friends (or my friends) by getting bigger gifts or making grander gestures.
Because our marriage has nothing to do with you. Our love doesn’t look anything like yours. And it has nothing to do with what someone else posts on Facebook.
Being right about everything is overrated.
This is probably just a result of being married to the woman-who-fights-to-the-death-for-things-that-don’t-matter. But my husband isn’t going to argue you to death. He just isn’t.
He will state his peace. He will tell you what he thinks (if you ask).
But he’s also aware enough to know when it’s just not worth it. He isn’t going to use his energy fighting about things that don’t matter. And when it does matter, he’ll just stick to his guns without being aggressive.
(Me? I’m still working on this.)
There is such a thing as too much talking.
In marriage, quiet is okay. Quiet can be great, actually. Every single thing doesn’t need to be talked into the ground.
If you fight, it’s okay to say sorry and move on. If you are thinking about something, it’s okay to mull it over on your own for a while without talking through every single detail.
It’s all about teamwork.
And this is really the bottom line – marriage isn’t really a competition. We’re not competing against other couples and, most of all, we’re not competing against each other.
We don’t always agree. That’s okay. (In fact, I would say it’s healthy.)
But you know what my husband understands? That he and I are a team. And that being together is way more important than being right or getting his way. And that it’s important to form a united front – even if we have heated discussions in the privacy of our home.
I guess he really just focuses on what matters – this marriage and our family.
I’m really grateful to be celebrating 9 years with a man I learn from every day.