Lance and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage on July 2. TEN YEARS! It makes me feel really old and really confused all at once. How on earth has it been 10 years since we said “I do”?
We were young pups, just out of college, when we got hitched. We lived in a one-room apartment and used mismatched silverware that my boss bought for us on a garage sale. Needless to say, our lives have changed a lot since that day. One house, two kids, one pet, friends moving in and out of our lives, and job shifts are just the tip of the iceberg. Lance and I have changed, too, but one thing remains a constant: our commitment that we made to each other ten years ago. While we’ve come a long ways, we also have a long ways to go.
Here are 10 things I’ve learned in my 10 years of marriage:
- Prioritize, and in this order: God, spouse, family, work. If your list doesn’t look like this, you need to reprioritize.
- Marry the right person. This should be obvious but for some it’s not. Lance and I have very individual and separate personalities, but we share the same fundamentals: faith, work hard, be responsible, and be honest. If you don’t share the same foundation, how are you going to build your life together?
- Marry for life. This is a serious one because for us, divorce is not an option. This harkens back to marrying the right person because you’ve only got once chance to get it right.
- Talk about money. A lot. If you look at people’s reasons for divorce, money is near the top. When it comes to money, have no secrets. Figure out if you and your spouse are spenders or savers and talk about it. Lance and I have a monthly budget and we have bi-weekly check-ins to see how we’re coming for the month and how much we have left to spend. Money is such a big stressor, so be on the same page as your spouse.
- Marriage is not 50/50. It’s not 60/40 or 70/30. Some nights it feels like I’m doing way more than my share of housework and some nights I shirk my duties and hide. Give and take, give and take.
- Make time for yourselves and have fun! Lance and I don’t do regular date nights outside of the house because babysitting can be a hassle. But we make time for ourselves whether that’s watching our favorite TV show together or sitting on the deck after the kids’ bedtime and sharing a glass of wine.
- Don’t be joined at the hip. Have your own interests and your own friends. Lance loves baseball (i.e. the Minnesota Twins). I do not (why is the baseball season so long? Can’t the game end after the seventh inning?). I love yoga. Lance is afraid of getting stuck in some pretzel-like position. It’s okay! Be your own person!
- Know how to apologize the right way. Here is the correct way to apologize: “I’m sorry for (blank transgression).” Period. The end. Not “I’m sorry that you feel what I did was wrong.” That’s not an apology – that’s you apologizing because you disagree with how the other feels.
- Be forgetful. By this I mean when your spouse screws up, forgive him/her and then don’t bring it up again. If he/she has apologized and is sincere, move on.
- Treat him/her well. There are times (more then I really should admit) when Lance bears the brunt of a really bad day. I’m snappy and snarky and short with him because I know he will forgive me. But that’s not a good excuse for why I’m treating the #2 person (after God) in my life so poorly. Treat your spouse like you love him/her. Duh.
Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s a good thing. God created us for love!
Meet Guest Blogger Kara Knaack
Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show almost fifteen years ago. After almost a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara can still end up on the opposite side of Des Moines with no idea how she got there in the first place. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er, and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media.