Tyler and I are celebrating six (six!) years of marriage this weekend.
When we first got married, I don’t think I could have predicted what these six years had in store.
Since our wedding day, we’ve moved five times (the fourth of which was across the state). We have both changed jobs a few times, and then one of us stopped working all together. We’ve traveled a lot and started this blog. We have been blessed with two beautiful and vibrant baby girls. We purchased our first house, sold that house, and then bought another one. We survived a pandemic, and I *think* we are going to survive this fixer upper project, lol.
This life together can be messy and hard at times, but I’m proud of us. I thank God every day for what He has given us in each other. This gift is nothing short of humbling.
Tyler is my rock. He is always exactly the same. He is straightforward and good and easy to read. I know when he’s mad or sad or happy or truly just doesn’t care. I know when he’s annoyed or stressed or when his wheels are turning. He’s not sensitive which is crucial because I can be an absolute monster sometimes.
He wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t hold back affection, opinions, or honesty. He makes me better, every day.
I can tell he loves me at night the most, in the last few minutes before we go to sleep. He fills up my water, closes the blinds, and turns the lights out, all things I would rather die than do. Then even if he’s tired, he’ll get in bed and let me wax on and on as we fall asleep, usually about the book I’ve just finished. He’ll even throw a follow-up question or two my way which of course is my love language.
He always puts us first. No matter what, the girls and I are his priority. Tyler is the best daddy. He carries his half of the parenting load with ease, along with everything else he has going on.
The girls, of course, think he walks on water (sometimes I do, too).
He is humble, hard-working, and ridiculously smart. He hustles and puts himself out there and does things that most people wouldn’t.
He pushes himself to grow, to think outside the box, or try a different way. He pushes me to do the same.
I decided to try to put together some thoughts about marriage, since I think an anniversary is always a good time to reflect.
And before the adults come after me for writing something like this after only 6 years of marriage–I know, I know, ok, it’s just the beginning.
I wouldn’t necessarily call the things on this list “tips” or “advice” but rather just some reflections on my own experience and our specific situation, etc. My takeaways, if you will.
It’s my tendency to hyper-focus on the present, but I think there’s a lot of good that comes from zooming out. I don’t want life to fly by without having taken the time to learn from my experiences.
So here are some thoughts that I have about marriage, some things I would use on a “give advice to the bride” notecard at a shower or tell my best friend in a try-to-sound-casual tone before she gets engaged.
Pick the good guy
I was going to say that this list is written in no particular order, but I changed my mind. This is the most important. You have to pick the right person.
When Tyler and I got married, I knew I was choosing the right guy, but I didn’t really KNOW until “real life” hit. It’s all fun and games until it’s 2am and your boobs are leaking, the newborn is crying, and you’re both sleep and sanity-deprived.
There is no one, and I mean no one, that could have carried me through that time like he did. Raising a family and building a life takes a real man, someone with character and integrity.
To clarify even more: the guys that aren’t scared of the trenches during marriage are the same guys who won’t keep you guessing when you’re dating. I repeat: the good guys aren’t confusing.
Make your unit a fortress
When Tyler and I first got married, we were living in the Bay Area and didn’t have a ton of friends. And while we did each eventually build some really amazing relationships, we were far away from our “comfortable” community of friends and family.
We kind of knew it at the time, but looking back, it’s so obvious how much that time did for the foundation of our life together. We were each other’s whole world and relished in the sanctuary of each other. We made our home a fortress, and we were the king and queen (that sounds a little Taylor Swifty but it makes sense, right?).
I would give the same advice to anyone–lean on each other and become one.
(Adding this after reading it through: I do think it’s SO important to keep your friendships outside of your marriage strong, though, too, so don’t get me wrong. We don’t want to be in a total bubble, you know? Us ladies need to stick together).
Squash that pride like a bug
You know when the room is super icy because of a big fight and neither of you wants to crack? We’ve learned that in those moments, all it takes is for one person to exhale and apologize for the tension to diffuse.
This is something Tyler and I realized super early on, and I have to work on this EVERY single day still. I hate to admit this, but that person is usually Tyler. I have always had a huge pride problem. Like, I could be strapped to a guillotine and still hold out on apologizing if I was really feeling feisty. It’s my biggest flaw by far, so I’ll probably have to keep working on this until our 60th anniversary.
Travel/get outside your comfort zones (together)
Traveling together is something that shaped our marriage in a huge way.
From backpacking through Italy with almost no money on our honeymoon to trying to translate road signs in Germany to Tyler losing his mind because he thought he lost me in France (Long story, I was fine, but it was the worst five hours of his life, lol), getting outside of our comfort zones and seeing the world together has bonded us.
This is something I would recommend to any couple. Go somewhere together and try something new, as often as you can.
Make the ordinary fun
HOWEVER. Even more important than the above statement is the day-to-day stuff.
Tyler and I have done many cool, big things together, but my favorite part of “us” is boring. It’s the everyday traditions, the little rituals and rhythms that keep us turning to each other.
It’s “make your own pizza” nights, our rampant coffee addiction, and our love for Succession and Billions. It’s getting in bed early to read next to each other and then staying up way too late watching videos of the girls from that day. It’s rooting for each other’s NFL teams because thankfully they aren’t in the same conference. It’s forcing each other to workout each morning and never forgetting to ask what the other person’s output score was on the Peloton.
It’s the dumb little ordinary things that weave us together, over and over again each day.
There’s that one saying that goes, “how you spend your days, of course, is how you spend your life.” It’s the in-between and the mundane that makes a marriage, I think.
Sleep train your kids
We could NOT have survived early parenthood if our kids weren’t out cold by 7pm every night. Obviously, every family is different, but being able to have our evenings together has been so special and sacred to us. Sleep training is just an example–albeit a big one for us–of an important and sanity-saving boundary that has helped us stay focused on each other.
When we were engaged, someone told us that the greatest gift we could give our children is a strong marriage. That always stuck with us, and we have tried really hard to prioritize our relationship even in the midst of dealing with two under two.
“The marriage sustains the love”
And now, to end on my favorite quote about marriage.
“As you gave the ring to one another and have now received it a 2nd time from the hand of the pastor, so love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love.
It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I love this because it reminds me where our union comes from. God brought us together and will keep us together. We are bound by Love itself, and there is nothing more comforting to hold on to. This marriage is from Him and for Him; it’s my hope and prayer that we reflect that in the way we hold and treat each other, now and forever.