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16 Lessons Learned During Our 16 Year Marriage

16 years ago today, on a cold and blustery day, one of the happiest moments of my life occurred. I was 22 years old and marrying my high school sweetheart. We've experienced so much together over the years, and as we celebrate our "sweet sixteen" anniversary, I'd thought it would be fitting to share 16 life lessons we've learned through the years. 

1. The First Year Is Magical But Requires Much Patience

Matt and I had been together for about 5 years before we got married, and we had already lived together for some time. However, in that first year of marriage, there was so much going on between expectations of what married life would be like (not much different) and picking up on quirks we hadn't noticed before. We still loved each other, but we got on each others' nerves quite a bit too. 

2. People Have Advice and Opinions

It's a fact of life. People want to give you advice or share their opinions with you, whether or not you've asked- "You've been married a while, you should have kids already". "You haven't been married that long, enjoy it before kids". It gets annoying, but most of the time, it comes from a place of love. Chance are, if you haven't already, you will be one of those people offering unsolicited advice and opinions.

3. Your Spouse is Not Going to Communicate in the Same Ways You Do!

I'm not going to lie, this STILL drives me crazy. I'm a chatterbox and Matt is more reserved. I express myself, happy or not, almost constantly. Matt is so laid back, I have to ask before I hear anything about how happy, or not, he is.

4. There Will Be Days That You Cannot Stand One Another and it is OKAY!

It happens. You love one another, but the smallest things irritate you. The way they flick their toes or leave their socks in the corner of the room instead of in the hamper. The way they aren't shutting up after you've had a long day at work and just need 5 minutes of peace to yourself. These days pass. 

5. Changes Will Come, LOTS OF CHANGES.

Work consumes more time than it did when you were first dating, or even when you were first married. You notice a few gray hairs and wrinkles. Your rings won't fit. Snoring patterns change- you actually snore now! These changes can seem scary at first, but you signed up for them, so smile and be grateful you can experience them together!

6. Kids Change the Dynamic of Your Life and Relationship

It's important to still make time for one another. Your kids will one day leave the nest and then it will be back to being just the 2 of you. Make sure you'll still know one another when that happens!

7. It's Important to Remind Your Spouse That You Love Them!

It's easy to get caught up in "life" and just become so accustomed to the status quo that you start, subconsciously, taking things for granted. Take a minute to make sure your spouse knows that you still see them and that you appreciate the little (and big) things they do.

8. Always Be Direct!

When you need something, asking for it works better than dropping hints and getting upset when they don't get "picked up". Need help with laundry? "Babe can you help me with the socks" will get you help quicker than "I am so sick of matching socks, why am I the only one who ever does this?".

9. You Don't Need to Do Everything Together

It's nice to have common interests and enjoy time together, but enjoying time to yourself is nice too. This is especially true when you are in the midst of one of those days you aren't particularly fond of one another. 

10. Your Intimacy Levels Will Ebb and Flow

After a few years of marriage, sometimes we wonder if our spouse even finds us attractive anymore. Unless your spouse has specifically told you they are no longer attracted to you, you likely don't have anything to worry about. Work, stress, kids, age- all of these things can cause a change in libido. Don't take it personally!

11. Your Relationship is Not the Same As Your Parents!

There may be similarities, but that is it. The fact that they had a happy marriage (or a miserable one) does not mean that your marriage is destined for the same. There are lots of things that happen between the two people in a marriage that determine whether they work, or don't. 

12. Your Relationship is, Also, Not the Same As                        

Your best friend's relationship, your sibling's relationship, your favorite book/movie/tv show couple's relationship, or any other relationship in existence. Again, there may be similarities, but your relationship is unique to you and your significant other.  

13. A Simple Text Can Change the Day!

It's not always easy to touch base throughout the day, especially when one, or both of you, work outside of the home. Matt works outside of the house and I work from home, so it's easier for me to call him, but not always easy for him to answer. When I can't talk to him, I love sending little texts to let him know I'm thinking of him and can't wait to see him later on. 

14. It Gets Hard to Find Gifts the Longer You Are Together

It's important to remember that sometimes the best and most memorable gifts are those of experiences. Going out to dinner, tickets to a show, even just enjoying a favorite movie and some takeout together- okay so it kind of sounds like setting your standards pretty low, but it's really recognizing and appreciating the truly special things- are all great gifts!

15. Experiencing New Things Together Adds to the Joy of Life

Some of our best times together have come from trying things we hadn't before. You can find fun activities on your state's website or in the events section of your local newspaper. Try to make plans to experience something new together every few weeks, or more often, if you can.

16. It's Nice to Revisit the Past Too!

There's something kind of magical about going back to the place you first met. Matt and I first met in high school, so we don't really visit it, but rather drive by it once in a while. It's changed a bit, but so have we. It's nice to remember where we started and then to see just how much we've grown and all that we've gotten to experience together! 

What kinds of lessons have you learned from your relationships over the years? I'm soliciting this advice, so go ahead and leave a comment below! 


  1. This is great advice. Happy Anniversary!

  2. So true! I find that experiencing new things with my husband is a great way to keep our marriage fun, exciting, and brings us closer.


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