Six years ago today, I walked down the aisle wearing something old-new-borrowed-and-blue and walked up the aisle with holding my husband’s hand. We married young, and when we’re in a room full of nearly weds, at twenty-seven and thirty years old, we are the old married couple.
This morning at breakfast after giggling each other awake, Johnny and I filtered through the past six years (and nine total together): celebrating the highs, acknowledging the lows, thinking about the things we learned along the way, and plotting where we will go in the future.
Six lessons we learned and prioritized over the last six years…
1) Grow together. When Johnny and I wed at 21 and 24, we vowed to keep growing together. We knew we were entering a decade that would define who we are as adults and the only way through our twenties would be to grow our way through them. And the promise we made was to make sure we grew through it together.
You are a different person today than you will be tomorrow. And the only way you’ll survive being together forever is growing together.
2) Keep Talking. A month after we started dating, I moved out-of-state to attend university. Immediately, our casual relationship turned into a serious long-distance one that was supported by unlimited nights and weekend minutes and texts composted on numeric keypads. And through those hours we grew into best friends.
Find the person who you can’t stop talking to and who can’t stop talking to you. The person who leads you down one path and you help open up another.
3) Look for the sparkle. The most powerful thing in the world is the day that your partner shares something with you that they’re passionate about. When that moment happens, catch it and do everything in your power to help them make that passion into a reality. Because there’s nothing more powerful than seeing the sparkle in their eye grow and knowing that you helped make it that way.
4) Go to sleep angry; wake up happy. The best part about being married for so long is that you aren’t afraid to fight with your partner. Meaning, that if you disagree with something they say or do, you can call them on it instead of keeping it bundled up to yourself for fear that your opposite mind may jeopardize the relationship. Also, after so many years you know when a fight is about something bigger and when a fight is just a fight. And sometimes going to sleep pissed-off is the only way to resolve whatever it is that you’re fighting about.
Fights are healthy.
5) Speak in your own 140-characters. Having someone to share those awkward, ironic, I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened moments with is one of the things I don’t value enough about being married. We live in a world where we’re accustom to sharing every single detail about our lives, and yet there are things that aren’t meant to be shared.
6) Make time for surprises. The longer you’re together, the more comfortable you become with each other, and the more you forget that you need to continue ‘wooing’ your partner. Every conversation you have with them is about a transaction and between work, friends, and extended family members, you’re exhausted and the last thing you want to do is come home from work and have to ‘work’ on your relationships. Your partner is supposed to just be there for you all the time, right?
Even though you’re with your partner, you need to pull yourself out of the grind and remind them how much you mean to you every single day. Even if it’s a simple gesture — a text that says something beyond “I love you” — you have to continue to do things to show them that you think about them, just like you did before you said, “I do.”
Small gifts and surprises help. Flowers do it for me and Johnny loves it when I toss in a carton of chocolate milk even though it’s not on the list. But most times it’s a phone call during the day, a sweet voicemail, or a text that says something beyond the regular script of, “What’s for dinner?” This will help your love grow.
Happy anniversary, my love. Looking forward to what the next six+ years teach us!
What lessons have you learned during your marriage or relationship?
Photos by Rathbone Images