10 Surprisingly Honest Truths I’ve Learned From 10 Years Of Marriage

A smiling couple touches hands in the wind on the beach at the Ocean City Boardwalk
Carly Rae Hobbins / Unsplash

This month, my husband and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. It seems like a huge milestone – something only real adults would reach. Could we really be real adults? We certainly don’t feel like it.

I’m reflecting back on 10 truths I’ve learned in our 10 years.

1. You have to talk.

Yeah, we’ve all heard it before – communication is key. No matter how much you know it, it doesn’t make it easy when you have to share something personal, sensitive, or embarrassing. If you ever find yourself holding something back, ask yourself why. For me, the answer is usually that I just need to blurt it out.

2. You can be right or you can be happy.

Ew. This was a hard one, you guys. Especially because I’m sure I’m right almost all the time! What I’ve learned is that sometimes for the harmony of the relationship, it’s more valuable to let it go (singing Let It Go in my head) instead of fighting to prove you are right. It’s totally ok to let them win or to end it and have each privately think they’re right. Move on!

3. You cannot control other people.

Bummer. I totally wish he and I were members of the same political party, that he would follow instructions on a recipe, etc. But he is who he is! So while I wish I could control him sometimes, I can’t. And if he was my puppet that did everything I wanted him to do all the time, I think we’d have a pretty boring relationship.

4. Your partner can’t be your everything.

He is one of my best friends. For many years, he was my only true friend, until one day I realized that expecting him to be everything for me was completely unfair. After that, our relationship got so much better. When I want to talk in circles about family drama, my girlfriends are 100% there. When I want to blow off steam about running and growing a business, my business bffs are there. The pressure is off him to be everything I need, all the time.

5. Staying married forever is not what we’re striving for.

This one’s kind of weird, right? It really goes against what we’re taught (and mainstream wedding vows), but here’s my philosophy: if the relationship isn’t good, I’m not interested in staying in it for 50 more years for the sake of longevity. Not all relationships are meant to be forever and that’s ok. What I find interesting is that when I made this mental shift, it started to make me more conscious about how I show up in the relationship. If nothing’s holding us here out of obligation, we better work to keep this thing good!

6. Sex is important.

Speaking of working to keep this thing good… this is kind of obvious, but in the flow of school drop offs, making lunches, building businesses, going to work, bedtime routines – you get tired. Sleep or alone time is so tempting. But I don’t think anything gets your connection back on track as quickly as sex.

7. You’ve got to be grateful.

It’s so easy to take each other for granted and start to fixate on the negatives as the years roll by. The human brain is wired for survival – and that means noticing problems. It’s bad for your relationship when you let that primitive survival brain take over and notice all the problems in your partner. To change this, try to notice at least one thing a day that you love about them & share it.

8. It has to be the two of you against the world.

We both agree that it is the kiss of death when our mentality shifts from “us against the world” to “me vs you.” Whenever we notice ourselves speaking from that place, we are quick to hop back into a team mentality. It’s ok for partners to disagree but you have to realize it is the two of you against the disagreement, not the each of you against the other.

9. Never stop having adventures.

Trying new things and going new places together is so good for your relationship! Doesn’t matter if it’s alone or with friends or family. Get out of your comfort zones together.

10. It’s not his job to make me happy.

This one is my favorite. Each of us has the power to choose to make ourselves happy by working on our thoughts. (oh and you know that we aren’t supposed to be happy 100% of the time, right?) We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy. Obviously I want him to respect me and be kind (see #5), but my own happiness is my job. TC mark

Samantha is a life coach, mom of 3, proud millennial, political junkie, and writer. She loves deep conversations, pretty things, & corny jokes.

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