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In May of this year, Brandon and I are going to be celebrating 7 years of marriage. Even though it’ll be 7 years it still somehow it feels as though we’ve just met and we’ve been together forever. I can’t really explain it but it feels as though we’ve lived a million lives together but each day is the start of another brand-new adventure.
I’m sure it has to do with how many times we’ve moved (7 moves and 4 states), the medical crisis that stole our early years, and all of the little changes along the way but it’s been a beautiful journey. There’s no one in the world I’d rather share the rest of my life with. Since Valentine’s Day is next week I wanted to take time this month to talk about our marriage journey and the top 7 love lessons I’ve learned along the way.
This list is by no means exhaustive of everything we’ve learned but these are definitely my top 7 love lessons.
1 // Learning to reconcile is more important than avoiding fights
Early in our marriage I was scared of conflict, avoided arguments, and felt nervous if things escalated into an argument or heated disagreement. I felt like happy couples didn’t fight and I didn’t know how to fight and reconcile properly. Instead of letting things escalate I gave in even if I wasn’t happy and even if I felt we were making bad decisions. Eventually, I realized that arguing is part of a normal, healthy, happy marriage and important topics shouldn’t be avoided simply because you don’t completely agree with each other. Rather than avoiding conflict, we devoted time to learning how to communicate respectfully, how to recognize when it’s time to take 5 minutes to cool down, and how to reconcile after an argument. Arguments are inevitable but learning how to reconcile afterward with grace, forgiveness, and love is extremely important.
2 // You’ll compromise more often than you think
It may be over little things but you’ll find yourself compromising a lot. I don’t mean big things like your morals or ethics; I mean little things like where to go to dinner, what movie to watch, and what your weekend plans look like on Sunday afternoon. Before I married my husband I never watched horror movies or basketball games; now, I’ve seen hundreds of horror movies and I can actually explain basketball to people. He never watched baseball games, went to craft fairs, or participated in blog photo shoots but guess what he does now? 😉 Every day is full of tiny compromises for each other but they help you grow as individuals and as a couple.
3 // “Me Time” is needed more than ever
Despite being officially labeled an “ambivert” the truth of the matter is I’m an introvert and need my alone time. Spending time alone helps me recharge my batteries so I’m better able to tackle the responsibilities that come with marriage, a career, and a blog. It also helps me decompress from any stress I’m feeling which, at times, can be high due to the nature of my job. Brandon and I both work from home which also means that we are together 24/7. While I absolutely love and adore him that makes my “me time” even more important. We both take at least an hour a day to be alone and retreat into our own safe spaces. He tunes into music while I usually curl up with my dog and a book. No matter what you choose to do for your own “me time” it’s important to squeeze it in, even if you only get 20 minutes.
4 // Never stop flirting with each other
Flirting is good for us (super-smart science people even say so) and being flirted with is able to make us feel like the most beautiful or special person in the room. It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking each other for granted and letting the flirting and romantic pursuit of each other fall by the wayside. Go out of your way to flirt with each other throughout the day even if it’s a quick touch, a sexy smile, or a wink. The little things keep the spark alive. 😉
5 // Learn to listen without solving
My husband and I are both problem-solvers so when someone is venting to us we try to find a solution to the issue. Sometimes, that’s great but sometimes it just makes the situation worse. There are times when your partner just needs be heard while they vent or cry and it’s important to be able to distinguish the difference. I’ve learned to say to Brandon, “I just need to vent, to get this out, but we don’t have to try to solve anything.” and he knows to just listen without judgment or unsolicited advice.
6 // Never stop #adventuringtogether
We’ve moved 7 times, lived in 4 different states, and taken weekend trips all over so we know a thing or two about adventuring together. We’re not travel pros (far from it) but adventure doesn’t have to mean a 30-day hike across Argentina. Adventuring together can be anything from a Saturday spent kayaking, a Tuesday night at a local art show, or a weekend retreat to a favorite nearby city or country cabin. Prioritize spending time together going new places and trying new things. The picture below was taken on our visit to T.I.G.E.R.S Preservation Station during a recent trip to Myrtle Beach. (Psssst, also connect with us on Instagram using our #adventuringtogether hashtag).
7 // Invest time in understanding your partner’s love language
Before I was married I used to scoff at the 5 love languages. I felt like it had this intense following but felt so sure its impact on relationships was blown wildly out of proportion. Then, I got married and my mother-in-law gifted us a copy of the 5 Love Languages on our first anniversary. As it turns out, I was way wrong about that book and love languages are a real thing. My husband and I both communicate in all of the languages as I’m sure most people do so it wasn’t about learning which language we speak but rather which one we speak the most often. I feel the most love when it’s communicated through physical touch. I’m all about hugs, kisses, cuddles, and physical affection as a way of showing and receiving love. My husband is far more invested in acts of service as his primary way of communicating love. I’ve learned to do little things for him like brew his coffee and he shows his love and appreciation with hugs and extra little touches.
Has your relationship taught you any love lessons? I’d love to hear them below!