Today is our 5 years anniversary. It's been five years since I committed myself to my husband, five years since one of the most joyful days of my life, five years since we began this crazy journey together. I'm gonna get to the nitty gritty in a second (don't you worry) but first I want to tell a super funny (and quite embarrassing) story, which wasn't so funny at the time but is one of our favorites to this day.
We met freshmen year of college and saw each other maybe once a year when he was visiting LMU, where I went to school. And then senior year rolled around and he was back in town and shot me a quick text. We hung out a bit that night and this time, actually kept in touch. I think it was maybe about a week later when he came back in town to visit me (he was usually there visiting friends and I was just a side note). As he was leaving and was about to get into his car, I shouted, "Bye, love you!"
Oh my goodness, you guys. I just told this random dude that I loved him and we weren't even dating yet. Pretty embarrassing, right? I was just so used to saying, "Bye, love ya!" to my friends and family that it just sort of came out. I was NOT in love with him -- don't worry, I'm not that crazy girl.
Little did I know, he was freaking out inside too. Stage 5 clinger? Crazy girl? What had he gotten himself into? I'm sure he never planned on seeing or speaking to me again after that but I sent a super long text explaining that I wasn't crazy, I'm so sorry, how embarrassing, blah blah blah and thank goodness he understood. And now, we get to tell this story to everyone and I get to be the most embarrassing girl alive. But hey, I hope you got a good laugh out of it ;)
If you want to read the rest of our love story, click here to read it all. And now I'll get to the marriage part of all of this. I'm going to tell you my best marriage advice (that you've probably never heard) in case any of you are encouraged by it or need it in your life at this moment and I really hope it speaks to some of you.
9 Pieces of marriage advice you've probably never heard before:
1. Treat him like a child.
If you're anything like me, you're probably laughing out loud right now at this advice, but I promise I have a point. There are so many times when I've said, "I feel like you're my second kid" as I clean up his dishes and laundry all over the house. That's not what I'm talking about here, though.
Treat him like a child when it comes to winning.
You know how you let your kids win races and games when they're little and you don't care one bit that you lost? Do that. Speak your mind and tell him how you feel but understand that you may not "win" every single time. Come to your decisions together and always know that it's okay if you don't always get "your way." Because in the end if you make the final decision as one, then you actually are winning. You're winning at marriage and at life and at happiness. And that's all great stuff to win at :)
2. Never speak poorly of your spouse.
You know how when you say something over and over and over, you begin to believe it no matter how un true it is? If you're the kind of person who likes to vent to your family and vent to your friends about your spouse, stop now.
Stop right now.
The more you speak poorly of your spouse, the more you're going to believe it. And heck, the more you speak poorly about your spouse, the more your friends are going to support you in telling you how terrible your spouse is...even if it isn't true 99.9% of the time. So just keep it to yourself and never say a bad word about your spouse to anyone.
3. Brag about your spouse.
No matter how many times he pisses you off, brag about him. Tell your family all of the great things he's been doing at home, at his job or really anywhere in life. Tell people about the sweet random flowers he sent you or about how he is such a great dad. If you need the encouragement, just pretend like you're making an anniversary post on your Facebook every single time you talk about him or her. Brag and flaunt him and show him off and soon, you'll begin to realize all of the great things he is and those "bad" characteristics may not seem so big anymore.
4. Understand how "reality" works.
There have been so many times where I get a text from him that immediately make me furious. In my mind, he's being so inconsiderate or rude or totally out of line.
That is MY reality.
I shoot back a crazy mean text, not realizing that I totally read into it differently than he spit it out. Maybe he was driving and using Siri to text so he kept it super short and to the point or maybe you're having a bad day and just interpreting it more sensitively because of that.
And that is HIS reality.
Everyone has their own reality and neither is right or wrong. So understanding this and realizing that our experiences and our cultures and the people who raised us all contribute to who we are and how we view and understand the world around us.
5. Talk like you did when you were dating.
Remember when your boyfriend or girlfriend (at the time) would text you and you couldn't resist smiling? Remember every single time you'd text or talk, it would have a little hint of flirt in there? Do that. Do exactly that. Keep on flirting and keep on smiling and act as though you're just those young kids you used to be. And that will help keep the spark alive.
6. Embrace the Fights
Long story short, we wouldn't have the marriage we have today if we hadn't been through the ringer. We'd probably still have screaming matches, fights every day, love each other but not like each other and who knows where we would be. But we are strong because of our lows. It's sort of like muscles -- When you workout, you're breaking down your muscles so that more full, stronger muscles can grow into those cracks and ultimately, make you stronger. And that's exactly how marriage is too.
7. Never Keep A Secret
I'm talking any secret. Like tiny little secrets and huge ones too.
The other day I felt weird about a comment an extended family member made to me. I wasn't sure if it was super sweet or a bit creepy. I told my sister and remember saying to her, "But I'm not going to tell Frank just in case he doesn't like it." And then I made the decision to tell him that same day.
That is how trust is built.
And I'm sure he appreciated it just as I would appreciate him telling me. Telling your spouse everything shows your commitment to them, it shows that you aren't going to keep big secrets from each other and sets your marriage up for success. Trust is HUGE in marriage and that's one way to help gain and keep that trust in each other.
8. Put Your Spouse Second
Faith is first, your spouse is second, and then come your kids. Because as soon as you put your kids first, your marriage will begin to crumble. I wrote a whole blog post on putting your spouse before your kids and you can click here if you want to read it.
9. Don't even consider divorce.
It's not an option so just throw it out of your mind. I'll be honest, I've said the "D" word more times than I can count. We've been through it all and I honestly did not think we would make it to five years. But then there came a point where I had to make a decision -- Do I keep remembering all of his faults and failures? Or just focus on how we can move forward and make this thing work? And I chose to make it work and he chose to make it work, despite all of the crazy circumstances we found ourselves in.
Just know, our marriage has been far from perfect. Each of us have been far from perfect and I'm not going to go into details because some of my life I like to keep private. But just trust me when I say that if we can make it through, then I am positive you can too. Any marriage can make it, no matter the circumstances. You just have to tell yourself that divorce is not an option and it won't be.
Live in the now but talk about the future and get excited about the future. Planning for the future and being excited for what's to come ensures that there's a future there. And that's a future worth doing anything and everything for.