It’s hard to believe that Henry and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this year! It seems like just yesterday we were planning the wedding, my big move from Oklahoma to Maryland and life together as a couple. It’s amazing how fast time flies and how much can change in 10 years.

When we were planning our wedding, we had the excitement and joy that couples have during this special time. We completed counseling and were ready to face the world together.  It’s great for couples to have this excitement, because that is what you will need to remember and draw on when things get tough… and believe me they do. Marriage is “beautifully challenging” and when you get through the tough times, you have a greater appreciation for the wonderful times, each other, where you are and where you are going. I have learned so much since getting married. Here are a few things I would like to share: 

There will be hard days…but they pale in comparison to the wonderful amazing days and years you will share.

Yes, there will be days where you will say to yourself, “this is too hard!” but then you’ll remember that you don’t have to do this marriage thing on your own, but that it is the grace and strength of God that is keeping you going. A dear person that I look up to said this about marriage, “Yes, you will have bad days, but the good days will ALWAYS outnumber the bad ones”. This has always stuck with me. Remember a bad day does not equal a bad life…or marriage.

You will cry yourself to sleep some nights…and that’s okay.

Crying is a natural way to release emotions and stress. I remember in the early years, I used to cry a lot. I was going through so many changes and that was one of the ways that I worked through them. These nights caused me to press into the Lord more and to really draw closer to Him. He is the only one who can truly comfort you when you are feeling discouraged. So you see, crying can actually be a good thing.

You will think about giving upbut you won’t.

You will realize that this marriage thing is harder than you thought it would be and that all the love in the world is not what keeps a marriage strong and together. Things that keep marriages going, like commitment, respect, communication, prayer etc. will be what you begin to work and focus on individually and as a couple. As you work on those things, you will see your marriage improve and grow.

You will question your decision to get married in the first place…and that’s normal. 

When we hit our very rough patch in 2012, I was questioning my decision ALL. THE. TIME. I really thought that maybe I had missed the mark on this one. It’s normal to question major life decisions, everyone has done it. But in doing so, you will remember that if God has joined you together,  no one or thing can tear you apart. It’s also important to know that the enemy is fighting against you and your spouse. Many times the enemy will use thoughts like this to discourage you because he knows the impact that your marriage will have for the Lord’s kingdom. He is fighting like crazy to see that purpose and impact fail.

You will change in many ways…but it’s a good thing.

The person you are 10 years into marriage is not the person you were when you first got married. If we all remained the way we were when we got married, we would not be able to grow and improve in so many ways. I like the person I am now a lot more than who I was when I first got married.  Getting married is just the first step towards becoming a better person. The experiences you have, whether good or bad, are what shape and form you into a better version of yourself if you allow them to do so. Disclaimer: Those who are not married and who choose not to get married, are not excluded from changing, growing and becoming better. Their experiences as singles are just as important and life changing as being married.

Sex is not the final prize… but it is a great addition to marriage. 

When I was a teenager, I made a promise to keep myself until marriage for my husband. Thankfully the Lord gave me the grace and strength to keep that promise. When I got married, I was so excited to know that I would be able to enjoy my husband when I wanted to. Like most couples, sex is hot and frequent during the first years of marriage, but over time life happens and things slow down in that department. While sex is wonderful in marriage…. it should not be the main focus. It is a great enhancer, but it is not what makes marriage amazing. When done right, marriage is what makes sex amazing.

Some days you won’t like your spouse… but you’ll still love them. 

Yep, some days your spouse will get on your last nerve. You will not want to be around them and you’ll definitely want your space. It’s normal to have feelings like this, but at the end of the day you’ll find a way to work things out. It’s days like these that I step back, take some space and time to really think about what it is that is bothering me and how I can move forward from it. Sometimes I realize that I’m annoyed because I’ve let something small bother me and I just need to let it go. And other times after reflecting on things, I’ll realize that there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed and I’ll prayerfully address it with Henry.

It’s not all paradise, roses and sunshine…but  it’s still wonderful. 

Anyone who tells you otherwise is LYING. Marriage is hard but it’s one of the best and most amazing experiences you will ever have. Like I mentioned before, the good days outnumber the rough days, but marriage is a growing and learning experience. Growth can be painful and always requires compromise but as long as you are growing, that’s all that matters. Add children and starting a family into the mix and the marriage grows through a whole new set of challenges. Like I said before, marriage is “beautifully challenging”, but these challenges can also make it wonderful if you allow them to form and grow you into the wife (or husband) that the Lord wants and needs you to be. 

Marriage has taught me so much, but I still have so much more to learn. One thing I’ve learned in marriage is that you never “arrive”, but are always growing, learning and adjusting through challenges. I am so gr8ful for the challenges, because they have made our marriage better and stronger.

So dear friends, what are some things that marriage has taught you? Have I missed anything? Please share in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Gr8fully Yours,