In honor of my anniversary, here's a list of what I've learned the past four years, in no particular order.
  1. When people say "marriage is hard work", what they don't say is that doing the work is mostly enjoyable!
    Have the past 4 years had zero conflict & rainbows coming out of our asses? Absolutely not. The tough times we have had cause us to reflect & learn how to adapt to obstacles or modify a behavior so that it makes the relationship better.There is also something to be said about the sense of accomplishment you get when you've had a hard day's work & can see the progress made. This is true with marriage - even though we have to work, the quality of our relationship makes the work so very worth it!
  2. Making your partner happy has an amazing way of making you happy in turn.
    I hate cleaning. It's just not my thing. But, picking up the house or doing a mountain of dishes is rewarding when I see the look of appreciation on my husband's face.
  3. Plans change, and that's okay!
    When we got married, kids were not in the plans. We were going to be a fantastic duo that traveled & went where the breeze took us. As our relationship grew our plans shifted. I am able to see the compassion & knowledge my husband possesses & the idea of having a child with him is thrilling. I think he feels the same way about me (at least I hope, haha). So now the plan it toting around a kid on our adventures. Also, sometimes if you've planned on making dinner, takeout is a great plan change!
  4. Spending time alone with you spouse is the best.
    I'm all for hanging out with friends or in groups, but the days we spend together, alone, always seem to be the best. I remember, after a fantastic duo day in the city, being asked "So it was just the two of you...?". I thought about how satisfying it is to spend time with my husband and realized others may not have the same experience and use friends and groups as buffers in their relationships. I'm lucky because we don't need others to have a fun, amazing day, just each other!
  5. Brag on your beau!!
    I was talking to a friend recently about how awful it is to listen to a bunch of hens sitting around and clucking about how their boyfriend/husband/baby daddy is a horrible, no good, dirtbag. (If he is THAT bad then why are you still with him, ya know!?) your spouse is the person you've chosen to spend your life with. Their successes are your successes. Their failures are your failures. When you're in love with a person, you want the whole world to love them too! So brag on your partner!!
  6. Talk about everything.
    Talk about your day - what made it special or frustrating? Talk about your dreams and goals. Talk about what's bothering you. Talk about EVERYTHING! Most of us are not telepathic so never assume your spouse knows what's going on in your day, mind, or heart.
  7. Sometimes you have to put your spouse's needs before your own.
    When we started dating, I was beginning my teaching career. Shortly after marriage, my husband started medical school, in the Caribbean! For him to follow his dream, I had to put my career aspirations on hold. Does that sometimes suck? In a word, yes. But putting his needs above mine means at some point mine will be above his. When both our needs are met, we have a thriving relationship. It's about the big picture and what is going to give us the life we are trying to build.
  8. Love fiercely.
    It's easy to be consumed by the day, television, and phone. Make sure you're not too consumed to tell your spouse that you love them. Give them a hug, a pat on the back, a kiss. Hold their hand and look into their eyes. On early mornings when my husband goes to work while I'm still in bed, he might give my feet a little rub and a kiss in the cheek before heading out into the world. On these mornings I feel loved and cared for. I cherish these moments and am happy to have a fierce lover!