Lessons from a Decade of Marriage

My husband and I are celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary this month. Sometimes, it feels like I blinked and here we are. Other times, it feels difficult to remember my life before marriage, before I was one half of this couple. Like we’ve been together forever.

backs of couple at their wedding
Ten years of growing together

One commitment we made when we got married was to keep growing together. And I have learned so much in ten years! I’m not sure it’s wisdom, exactly, but here’s what I know a decade into this journey:

Your Spouse Doesn’t Have to be Your Best Friend

Long term relationships come with periods of closeness and periods of distance.

Sometimes my spouse is absolutely my bestie; sometimes, I rely more heavily on the female relationships in my life to fulfill that role. And it’s ok!

He’s the first person I want to talk to about the big stuff, good or bad. But if I’m trying to decide which jeans to buy, what to make for dinner, or to complain about PMS cravings, he isn’t exactly my go-to person. It’s not that we come from different planets, but men and women do have different needs from our friendships.

I used to feel a strange guilt about investing in those friend relationships instead of using all my friend-energy on my marriage. Or feel jealous when I saw others captioning their couple photos with “In love with my best friend!” But then I learned…

There is No “One Size Fits All” When it Comes to What Makes a Good Marriage

So you and your husband are into all the exact same shows, hobbies, food, and more? Or maybe you and your husband are completely opposite in most ways? Cool.

There is more than one way to have a great marriage. It’s about what your needs are and what is fulfilling to you.

That closeness I crave? I have friends who don’t need that from their spouse. The female friendships I just mentioned? I know folks who don’t really need them because they get it all from their romantic partner. Who am I to judge? If it works, it works. And that is personal for each couple and each individual.

Resentment is Toxic but It Can be Avoided

It’s not all wine and roses, of course. Sometimes when I’m feeling burned out, I get into a negative, toxic resentment loop of thinking “what has my spouse done for me lately?” Flip the script into a “what have I done for my spouse lately” and you can resolve most of these kinds of arguments before they begin.

I read this awesome advice years ago and it stuck with me: when you feel like your partner isn’t doing enough {or isn’t doing as much as you are!} write it down. Write down all the things your partner does for you, your children, your household. It might be a small list, but adding things like “he makes our coffee every morning” or “he waters the plants” are definitely a start. You might feel resolution just from making the list!

Communicating our needs in a loving way is crucial. Maintaining an appreciative mindset and having a “teammate” mentality are also useful in avoiding this marriage pitfall!

Never Stop Having Adventures, Just the Two of You

There is another inevitable but toxic element that pops up in long term relationships, and that is boredom.

Long term marriage is long. Keeping things fresh doesn’t have to be a ton of work! If you’re homebodies, watch a new series together or play a board game; my husband and I love to play music on our back patio as the sun is setting. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we just relax, but it’s kind of our thing. Simple, yet special.

If you’re foodies, try a new restaurant or cuisine together. If you love being outdoors or active, take a hike in a new location. Travel together. Get a babysitter or take the day off work while kids are in school to make quality time together a priority.

couple embrace on beach
Still learning, still evolving, still loving

It doesn’t take much to fill my love tank but having little random adventures with my spouse is the number one way I feel loved.

Think of the Mundane as Rituals, not Ruts

This is a mindset thing, and admittedly, it takes some effort. But what if instead of looking at the boring, menial tasks involved in managing a household and raising children as boring and menial, we choose to view them as part of our personal family folklore. It’s the way we do each of these that is unique to just us. This could be chores, the day of the week you grocery shop or make a certain meal, or even the daily drop offs and pickups that accompany having school-aged children. It can be special things too, like the way you celebrate holidays or a date night tradition.

It’s all yours, and you can claim that as a ritual of your own.

Marriage is, in Fact, Work

The number one piece of advice I got before getting married was that it’s a lot of work. Spoiler alert: it is! But it’s not bad work if you’re lucky enough to find it.

As the years keep passing, I hope to keep learning and growing as an individual and as a partner. What lessons has marriage taught you?


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Mary B
Mary B. is a lifelong creative, dreamer, and joy seeker. Born and raised in northern Illinois, Mary attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, receiving her B.F.A. in acting, then worked as a sometimes actress/model, sometimes waitress. Mary and her husband got married in Sept 2012, welcomed a son in 2014, moved to Texas from Chicago in 2016, and welcomed a daughter in 2017, completing their family. She self-publishes her musings on marriage, motherhood, and life on her blog, Accidentally Texan,. In her free time {free time--ha!} Mary loves to read, cook {and eat ;)}, work out, swim, travel, and spend time with her family. Mary believes emotional connection is the root of humanity and our collective purpose in life.


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