Today is my 3 year anniversary! I’m pretty excited. We aren’t going to do much today because Ross works 9am-8pm today, but he’s off tomorrow and apparently has secret anniversary plans for tomorrow night that he won’t tell me what we’re doing! I can’t wait to find out what we’re doing! I’m hoping there’s going to be a good dinner in there somewhere, and knowing Ross there will be. 🙂 He likes to eat even more than I do.
So in honor of my anniversary, I have decided to do a post about the things that I’ve learned in my first 3 years of marriage. Most of these things will apply to more than just married people (I’m sure) but it’s just what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown through my relationship with Ross.
Communication is key! I know, I know, that’s a very overused cliche. But it’s true. Sometimes you might not be able to talk right away, but make sure you always talk. Ross isn’t a big sharer, so it has taken a lot of pushing and prodding and poking from me to get him to open up sometimes. But we’ve found a system that works and we’re (I’m) getting better at saying how we really feel and what our real opinions are. For us, it’s hanging out while we shower. (And no, that does not mean doing it in the shower! That doesn’t count as communication!) We both like to unwind by sitting in a nice hot shower after a long day, so while one of us takes a shower the other person just sits in the bathroom too and we talk about all kinds of things. We have talked about more serious things and shared more hard things sitting in the bathroom together than anywhere else. The key is just to learn what works for you, as well as how the other person communicates. When we first got married, I used to have to follow Ross around the house because he kept trying to leave the room and stop talking to me when we were arguing but I wouldn’t let him. And I had to learn to watch certain things that I said too, I am in no way a perfect communicator either. It’s really hard at first, I won’t sugar coat it, it’s really really hard. But it gets easier the more you work at it. Just continually express how much you want to know what the other person is thinking and feeling and what their opinions are. And try to not freak out if what they say doesn’t match what you think because if they feel like you’re going to attack them for having a different opinion, they won’t speak up anymore.
-Never Be Afraid Of A Fight
Yes, fighting sucks. But it isn’t always a bad thing. (Unless you guys get physical and hurt each other, that’s always bad) sometimes fighting can be a catalyst for conversation, and people will often say things in the midst of a fight that they wouldn’t normally say but they think. Always make sure that when you fight, you don’t do things to manipulate or purposefully hurt the other person though. Those things will cause so much more damage and pain than you need to and than can be repaired. Especially if you’re saying these things on purpose, the other person will remember that and it will make them reluctant to tell you things in the future. I’m guilty of that in the past, and of comparing Ross to my last ex (who was a horrible horrible person) and it took me a long time to break those habits but our relationship is so much better off now that I have! I have said things that I know would set Ross off just to keep him talking, I have said thing scampering him to my ex and comparing me to his mom (who went through a similar situation to what I did), I have thrown things at him, I have screamed, I have cried, but we have both learned how to fight better now. Once you get to a point where you can fight and stay on topic and actually get things accomplished, then you’ll be golden.
-Life Comes In Seasons
It’s like a giant pendulum, up to down to back up again. Just make sure that you continue to love each other no matter what season of life you’re in. Sometimes it’s hard because some seasons make you an angry horrible person, but there will be an end eventually, just keep on loving.
-Hold On To Your Cute Little Habits
Every night (well, most nights) Ross kisses me before we go to sleep. First he gives me a kiss, then he kisses my nose, then he kisses me again. We’ve been doing that since before we were married even, and it’s just a cute little thing that we do. I love it when he does that and he loves how much I love it. Keep those little things that make you smile alive and you will always be in love.
Pay attention to the little things. Ross mentioned, before we were even engaged, how he thinks it’s weird when girls put their wedding band on first and then their engagement ring. “The engagement ring came first, then the wedding band. Why would you wear it backwards?” So I make sure that I always wear mine in that order. I don’t think it’s anything that he’s ever noticed and I’ve never said anything, but it makes me feel good to know that I’m wearing my rings the way he likes. Now it’s not always little things, sometimes it’s really big things, like whether to work after kids or be a stay at home mom. This is something that Ross and I are at opposite ends about, but I have listened to his opinion and I am doing my best to be agreeable to it. But it’s the little things that make the difference, like keeping his favorite kind of cinnamon cake mix in the cabinet so I can randomly make it for him (which I might do tonight as a surprise!), or wearing my rings the way he likes, or making sure I don’t accidentally kick his shoes under the bed when I’m putting laundry away. When you pay attention to things like that, you stay in tune to the person you married.
-You WILL Change
People are constantly changing, and they will continue to change as long as they’re alive. (Well, hopefully. Otherwise you turn into the crotchety stick in the mud old person that nobody wants to be around!) The key to staying happy in your relationship is to know that you’ll change and to be aware of changes in your partner. Ross isn’t the same person that I married 3 years ago (I think he’s changed for the better in a lot of ways!) but I still know him. It bothers me when people say that they “just grew apart” because to me, that’s just a cop out. They didn’t put the effort into staying attached to the other person, they didn’t try to know that person as they changed. A marriage takes constant upkeep. You need to constantly be working towards knowing your partner to make it work.
-Embrace The Stress
This may sound really counter-intuitive, but stress is a good way to tell what kind of person you’re with. Ross and I have had a lot of stress in our 4 year relationship, from lots of different places. As we’ve gotten older and been together longer, the way we respond to these stresses has changed (I think we’ve gotten better at responding to stressful situations) and we’re able to weather them better in our relationship. Stress puts a lot of strain on your relationship! But after our last round with our crazy neighbor, Ross and I were talking and I expressed how frustrated I was that he had wanted me to stay inside so I was having to find out what had happened second hand because he wouldn’t let me be involved. So Ross told me that he had asked me to stay inside because he knew that if they said something that sounded like an attack against me, or if I got upset (which would have happened, 100% positive), or if he felt they were threatening me in any way, he would have completely flipped out because he loves me so much and he wants to protect me. He didn’t want me anywhere near what could turn into danger and he wanted to try and keep me as far removed from the stressful situation as possible. (That’s just a little snippet of what he said, it was really sweet and totally melted my heart. I love my husband!) But the point is that a stressful situation helped to strengthen our relationship because we were able to talk through it and lean on each other when we were stressed out and it helped Ross express to me how he feels. Embrace the stress.
Yes, I know, another cliche. But seriously, do it. Ross and I joke so much, we play around and poke fun and just enjoy ourselves. Ross grabs my butt, I poke him, he grabs my boob, I make funny faces at the dogs, we try to figure out what other shows actors have played in, he laughs at me when I snap chat my friends, I show him funny things from Pinterest, he fights with the dogs, he tackles me on the couch, we just have fun and enjoy being around each other. When you like being around each other, it makes everything else a million times easier.
-Have Other Friends
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people call their significant other their best friend. Ross is not my best friend. (Shocker, I know!) I have other friends that I talk to about everything. Ross is my friend, but he is my husband too. He is the love of my life, he is going to be the father of my children, he is the man I am going to grow old with, but he isn’t my best friend. I think it is very important to have friendships and other relationships outside of your marriage. Sometimes you just need a break or somebody different to bounce things off of. If you only have your spouse in your life then things are going to get boring. You need to have a few things of your own too.
-Don’t Let Other People Tell You How To Do You
Feminists tell woman that they need to have careers. Your in-laws are already asking when you’re going to have kids. Your parents are telling you that they are more than happy to wait for grandkids. His grandma is telling him that he never comes around anymore. Your cousin is telling you not to buy a house until you’ve been married for 5 years. His aunt is telling you not to have any pets. Everyone has an opinion on your relationship but the key is to not let them influence or control it. It’s YOUR relationship after all. You can take advice from people but you don’t have to do what they say. Find what’s best for you and your relationship. I put a lot of pressure on myself the first couple years we were together because I felt like I was being judged very harshly by Ross’ family and I was trying to be a ‘perfect’ wife but once I finally got it through my head that I can be perfect to Ross without being what his family thinks is perfect I was able to loosen up a lot and actually become a better wife. Your relationship is just between the two of you, so make sure you keep it that way. Things get muddled if you have too many people in a relationship.
-Don’t Give Up The Things You Love
Ross doesn’t like to read. I don’t let that stop me from reading. Ross doesn’t sing (at all!) but I don’t let that stop me from singing in the praise team at church. I don’t play basketball but Ross still plays at least once a week. You can have a happy relationship and still do the things you love, even if the other person doesn’t like them. It just gives you more things to talk about when you see him afterwards.
This is one that I’ve struggled with but it is soooo worth it to learn the lesson. Don’t keep track of the things that he’s done that made you mad or the things that he didn’t do the way you do it. It is not worth the damage that will do to your relationship. If it’s over, then it’s over. Don’t hang onto it, don’t rehash it. It’s over, it’s done, let it go. (cue Frozen music) But seriously. Let it go. It’s not worth it.
It’s been a roller coaster life so far and I can’t wait to see what I’m going learn over the next 100 years with my amazing husband! I thank God every day for putting this amazing man in my path and making sure that I couldn’t ignore him. (He’s really not what my type was at all, it’s truly a God thing that we’re together.) Ross is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so blessed to have him as my husband and to get to spend every day talking to him and every night sleeping next to him. I know our future together is going to be amazing!