I’m so grateful that my husband and I just celebrated 12 years of marriage. Marriage is hard guys, but it is so rewarding. I don’t know how people can do marriage without Jesus in the center. I am so grateful that He has brought us through many ups and downs to be able to celebrate 12 years together.
I won’t get too sappy, but I have to share a bit about my husband. Titus is truly my inspiration for being a better person. He makes me a better person daily. He has been my best friend for the past 12 years and there is no one on this earth I love more than him. He takes care of me in every way possible and has been more than I could of ever prayed for in a spouse. He is an caring, involved, and loving father to our boys, which makes me love him more. I am so blessed to share this life with him.
I have in no way mastered marriage and am still learning these lessons daily, but I wanted to share with you 12 things I’ve learned to be true about marriage in the past 12 years. I hope it encourages you all in your marriages.
1. Selfishness destroys.
We are naturally all selfish people. We literally have to fight the urge to think about ourselves first and cater to our own wants and needs. Often without thinking of how the other person feels. This is something that takes a conscious effort and dramatically impacts the path of your marriage.
This has been something I have struggled with and I constantly see in myself. Many times our marriage has become about what “I” feel, what “I” think, what “I” like, what makes “me” feel this way. This mentality hurts a marriage. We truly have to fight to think about our spouses feelings, needs, and wants.
Our culture often tells us everything is about you and you deserve perfection in a mate, but we fail to think about what the other person deserves from you as well. It’s very easy to take a victim stance in marriage without realizing we hurt the other person just as much as we feel hurt. When we can get over ourselves, our marriages can truly grow.
2. Dates matter.
It is important to date throughout your marriage. It keeps things feeling fresh and special. Get dressed up and go out together on a regular basis. Let your spouse know you still care about connecting and impressing them. This is a life-giver for us.
3. Create marriage goals.
We create goals in every other area of life. Marriage should be the same. We should look for things we want to do better for our marriage and spouse. An example of mine for last month, was to re-read “The 5 Love Languages” and find ways to actively meet his top 2 languages throughout the week.
4. Be their #1 cheerleader.
No one should encourage your spouse more than you. This takes intention. Even if you feel like it’s rehearsed, they need to hear those kinds of words from you on a regular basis. Praise them for what they are doing well.
5. Forgiveness is constant.
I think we both forgive each other daily for something. We are two very flawed individuals and if you can’t constantly forgive & forget, your marriage will suffer greatly. No matter who you marry, forgiveness is the key component to happiness, but it is a challenge. Especially, for us women who have great memories.
6. Celebrate special days.
Don’t let birthdays or holidays fall through the cracks. If you were dating, you would try to make the other person feel special. That shouldn’t disappear in marriage. This contributes to people feeling like each other’s roommates…unappreciated and unloved. We do our best to make a big deal about each other on special days and it makes a big impact on our marriage.
7. Compliments go a long way.
Over time, it’s easy to get used to each other. After seeing each others flaws, it can be hard to always think of something nice to say. When your spouse looks great, don’t let everyone else tell them how nice they look without bringing it up. Using words like: incredibly handsome, stunning or beautiful helps your spouse still feel attractive to you and this impacts how they respond to you in return.
8. The power of touch.
We are created to want to give and receive love. Holding hands, rubbing each others back or leg even while watching T.V., impacts the marriage greatly. We still sit close to each other on the couch and try to be intentional about touching when we are together. It sends a consistent message to your spouse, influencing how loved they feel by you.
9. A relationship with Jesus changes everything.
When you have deeper conviction about making the right choices and being the spouse your partner needs, it makes all the difference. Many of our reasons for doing or not doing something, truly boils down to our love for God. That is deeper and more convicting than any other love could be. That’s what keeps us committed and striving for godliness in our marriage.
10. Realizing your unrealistic expectations.
T.V. and media often give us unrealistic expectations for our spouses. It can damage our marriages. We expect a person to make us feel like the most perfect, loved, beautiful, amazing, person on the world …flaws and all. It’s just not realistic. I have seen so many people leave their marriages because they thought they “deserved better.” Not realizing…they aren’t perfect either. Both people have to realize they are not perfect and their spouse isn’t. Anyone in any relationship will have their own set of flaws.
No one is perfect. No one will appreciate you all the time. No one will be on their “A” game daily and neither are you. That’s why there are vows like “For better and For worse.” However, most people recite this, really meaning “for better.” When there is a realization of your own flaws, you can have more grace and see things you love and cherish about your spouse.
12. Texts & phone calls go a long way.
It’s so easy, after being married for a while, to not communicate during the day. We have days like this. Whether you stay at home or work, it’s easy to go 9-5, without really talking. It’s a bad practice to not be involved in the majority of each others days. Its funny because so many couples, (including myself), tend to say “I’m too busy during the day and don’t have 2 seconds to pick of the phone to call or text my spouse.”
However, it’s amazing! If you’re dating someone, you “magically” have to contact them when they are all you can think about. Making the effort to send a message, simply saying I love you, or asking your spouse how their day is going, helps the relationship stay connected and eliminate that distant feeling.
13. Prayer is a must.
Praying together is so powerful. Something we need to get better at for sure, but I always see a change in our marriage when we make that a priority. Also, praying daily for each other should be the utmost priority. There should be no one else praying for your spouse and we all have our daily battles where Satan is trying to throw a million things our way and it’s so important to cover your spouse in prayer.
For more posts on marriage, check out: ” Conversation starters for Date Night.”
**If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it on social media. Thanks so very much.
Wow, 12 years, congrats!! Thank you for all your insight on what’s kept your marriage strong and healthy. It is so hard and constant work to keep a marriage going!
Yes it is! Definitely hard work but well worth it!
This is such a sweet post. I’m celebrating my 1 year anniversary in August. Thanks for sharing!
That is so exciting! You are welcome!
This is beautiful! We just had our 4 year anniversary and I am already seeing how these things are SO important!! I love seeing a strong marriage, such a beautiful thing to live up to! Here’s to 50+ more years for you guys! xox
YES!! Thank you so much!
Happy Anniversary! This list is great! I love The Five Love Languages and try to make a point of rereading it every so often too!
Thank you! Yes it’s so helpful!
Great tips and you are right “Marriage is Hard”!! After 37 years (come July) I agree. My hubby works nights, so I call him every morning when I get up.
That’s so amazing! What an inspiration!
Happy Anniversary! This is a fantastic list.
Happy anniversary! Marriage, when we take care of it, is the best blessing in life! I agree with all your tips. At the end of the day, I just try to make sure that I put my spouse’s needs before my own–which is sometimes hard to remember to do. When we BOTH do that for each other, I don’t have to worry about my needs not being met…he meets them. It’s a beautiful thing.
YES!!! I totally agree so much! Thanks for reading!
Congratulations! This is Year 12 for us too ? This is such a great list and I totally agree with all of them with #9 being the game changer. I don’t know how married people survive without Jesus. ?
Yes it totally is!
This is such a great post full of great advice. I love the “goals” part – so true that we should have marriage goals like anything else. We love the love languages too 🙂
Happy 12th Anniversary!
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for sharing and happy 12 years! I love how you included Jesus in this and I am truly a big believer in Jesus being the center of marriage! My husband and I have been married for just over 2 years and being able to look towards Jesus to show me how to love and real love looks like really has helped overcome hurdles so far!
What a blessing! Thank you! Jesus is the key!
Love this list! Congratulations on 12 years of marriage. I really like the idea of setting marriage goals.
Thanks so much!
Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy
Congratulations on 12 years!! This is such a great list! When you are first married I feel like you are on top of everything, then as the years pass, you just kinda forget about the important things to strengthen your marriage. Thanks for the reminders!
YES! I totally relate!
Happy Anniversary! This is so sweet. What a wonderful reminder that little gestures go the farthest.
Yes! They really do!
Congratulations on 12 years! My husband and I will be celebrating our second anniversary in July. 🙂 I love this list, too. It is SO important to keep your relationships with the Lord and your spouse a priority!
Congrats!! Thank you!
Jimetta A Colston
Happy Anniversary again Jehava! You and Titus are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing…I can take a lot from this, believe that. ~BLESSINGS~
You are so sweet! Thanks girl!!
Happy Anniversary! I’ve been married for 5 years so I love getting advice from couples who have been married longer! I love your tip on celebrating important days like birthdays and anniversaries. Our anniversary is something that is getting harder and harder to celebrate every year now that we have kids, but something we always try to find time for.
YES! I totally agree! Thanks for sharing!
As a semi-newlywed, these are gold!