7 Lessons I Learned In My First 7 Years Of Marriage

On August 7th I celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary. It is crazy because I feel like we just got started and I can hardly believe it has been 7 years already. I am still figuring out this whole marriage thing and I don’t feel like I have enough wisdom to have already gone through 7 years!

I am a pastor so I speak for a living and over the years I have been asked multiple times to speak on marriage. I have always declined and deferred to someone else who has been married longer. I always ask if I can do a different topic that I have more experience with or know more about because I really haven’t been married that long. However, as I think about it, while I am no expert, I have learned quite a bit over the last 7 years.

Here are 7 of the lessons I have learned in my first 7 years of marriage…

1. Not all gifts have bows

I am the type of person who loves planning out the perfect gift for my wife. Throughout our whole relationship I have showered her with well thought out gifts, meticulously planned dates, homemade projects, expensive (for my budget, anyway) presents, and hundreds of handwritten notes. While there have been times where I have been better at it than others, I have always been focused on what physical object I can give my wife.

But what I have learned is that one of the best gifts I can give my wife is time. Uninterrupted and undistracted time spent with me, unselfish amounts of my time poured into what she is interested in, and time to herself. Sometime the best gift I can give my wife is some alone-time away from the kids and away from me! Does this mean she doesn’t like me? Of course not (I mean, how could anyone not like me?!). it simply means she needs time for her and that is something I can give her.

2. Things have never gotten worse from me listening

I love my wife and she loves me, but we have had our share of disagreements and fights over the last 7 years. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, I can promise you this: we have never had a disagreement in which things got worse from me listening. In fact, it is usually opening my big mouth that makes things worse and they get better when I close it. Sure, sometimes things need to be said but most of the time, things need to be heard. I have learned that listening is the quickest way out of a disagreement and the best way to avoid one altogether.

3. Life is more fun when you have fun!

My favorite thing to do in life is to make my wife laugh, and somehow I am still able to do that daily. But sometimes in the pressure and stress of everyday situations, I forget that life is fun. My wife and I have experienced some major ups and downs in our lives in the last 7 years and when times are tough and we are stressed about one thing or another, I sometimes forget to have fun with her. We get into a daily routine and we miss out on fun. I have learned to seek out fun with my wife because marriage is way more exciting that way!

4. I can fit into my wife shoes, and I need to wear them often

Okay, this is weird because I literally can fit into her shoes. As in, we wear very close to the same shoe size! But I have learned that I need to figuratively put on my wife’s shoes and look at things from her perspective. I have learned that I am very selfish and I look at every situation to see how it affects me, rather than thinking about how things affect her and what she wants and desires out of something.

5. In God we trust, because “in Todd we trust” doesn’t work.

This goes for everything in life, but it also fits perfectly in the context of my marriage. I fail miserably when I try to do things on my own. When I make our marriage all about me instead of about trusting God and pleasing Him, I embark on an uphill battle and lose every single time. God and our relationship with Him is the glue that holds us together. Marriage is not easy and there have been many times in the last 7 years that I wanted to give up and quit, but there is always hope and strength with God as our glue and Him as the focus of our lives.

6. I cannot accidentally succeed.

Marriage takes work, plain and simple. It is not easy and there is no such thing as accidentally having a great marriage. The strength of my marriage is directly related to the work my wife and I have put into it. If I want our marriage to be strong, I must continually (and I mean continually—every day, hour, and minute) be working on it.

7. There is a lot that I have to learn

In the first 7 years I learned that I have a lot to learn. I have shied away from speaking on marriage but to be honest, I always thought I knew what I was doing even before I was married. I felt as if I knew everything but I just needed experience to fully understand it. I was wrong. I had to learn SO much, and here I am 7 years later and I know I have SO much more to learn. My hope is that I am always learning how to be a better husband, father, and man of God, and that I am always learning about my wife as well. We are both constantly changing and growing as individuals and I want to learn about her as she changes at every step in life.

 

I am just getting started on my marriage journey and I have so many years ahead and so many things to learn, but I hope the 7 things I have learned in my first 7 years of marriage can help you as you seek to better your marriage as well.

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