#106 - 10 Takeaways from 10 Years of Marriage
Welcome to the One Delightful Podcast where we are on a journey to simplify life to create space for what matters. And trust us, if we can do it - anyone can!
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on this week’s episode along with checking in + a segment we're calling 'marriage: nbd or omg?', we give our 10 takeaways from 10 years of marriage.
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In August 2018, we will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. Not long at all to some, way long for others, but for us its a huge milestone that's made us want to look back over the good, bad, and ugly of the last 10 years to think about what we've learned from living life together. If this is helpful for you, we'd love to hear why and to know your thoughts!
So, here we go: 10 takeaways from 10 years of marriage
Be a student of your spouse. Getting to know what makes them tick is like getting an instruction manual for an electronic gizmo that you didn't know how to use - it makes all the difference! For us, the Enneagram (a deeper version of a personality test) has been huge to help us understand each other. Check out Katie's Rec. this week for a couple of book suggestions that are a good introduction to how the Enneagram works.
- Communication is important! We constantly default to assuming that we should be able to read each other's minds in terms of needs/wants/exceptions, but this is just NOT true. For me (Katie), a real practical way this has worked out is by making a Pinterest board of gift ideas for Philip (who is the self-identified 'worst gift giver in the history of humanity).
- Learn each other's strengths and lean into them. Our weaknesses are generally pretty glaring and it can be easy to fixate on them. But, its really hard to go from being super weak in an area of life (i.e. keeping stuff clean) to being a super star. Our relationship benefits the more we accept each other in spite of our weaknesses and instead try to focus on appreciating each other's strengths.
- We are a product of our parents. I know this might make some of you cringe (and us too a little ...), but the reality is that we can trace a lot of the ways that we think about time, money, kids, & relationships to how they were thought about in our families. The more we've come to understand that (& not to think that any way but our way is wrong ...), the more we've been able to understand and appreciate each other.
- Prioritize each other in your schedules. Time together (especially as jobs + kids grow) doesn't just happen. A weekly date night, time to talk, even time to just hang out and have a cup of coffee at home have to go in the calendar so other things don't squeeze them out!
- Make having friends a priority, too! Post-college, isolation as the norm becomes easier and easier as life gets busy and you get tired. Along with that, it can feel like you're the only one feeling lonely or isolated as we're all really good at giving off the Instagram version of ourselves in public. But - we think that feelings of isolation and overwhelm are pretty normal the older you get - and that we all have a desire for friendships beyond just our spouse that make our relationship with each other richer. The times we've prioritized making friends and taking time for friends (even when we don't feel like it) have always been a great thing for our relationship as friends help us have fun, feel less isolated, and are great sounding boards for the issues we have with life!
- Money can mess you up when you're not on the same page. (and we definitely weren't our first few years of marriage!) One person in a relationship is usually a saver and the other a spender - that can feel like oil and water! We've found that keeping a budget helps us with that. For Philip (the saver) - it helps to know that there is going to be a limit on each spending category, which is helpful in giving permission for the occasional restaurant or Target splurge. For Katie (the spender) - its helpful to feel the freedom to spend without judgment up to the agreed upon limit in the budget.
- Kids aren't the #1 priority in your family, your spouse is! Kids will suck every iota of time, energy, and life out of you that you are willing to give to them (and sometimes even more than that - think dementor form Harry Potter). For a family to work the way its supposed to, though, your relationship with your spouse has to take priority over the kids. Plus - once the kids are out of the house, all you'll have is each other again, so its worth it to intentionally cultivate that relationship now.
- Marriage is more about making you the person you're meant to be than it is about making you happy. Tim Keller, a pastor we both like to listen to, talks about this. Marriage is hard as two different people have to figure out how to live closely together in a unified way. That kind of proximity can bring out the best and worst in a person. We think that part of the point of marriage is have our rough edges exposed and worked on - which isn't fun, but it makes us more into the people that we were created to be. When we have this perspective (instead of just thinking that my spouse should exist to make me happy), it can really help - especially in the hard times.
- Be your spouse's #1 fan. Your voice, whether its cheering or booing, will be the loudest and most impactful voice that your spouse hears. And - since we see each other's flaws more than just about anyone else, it can be easy to boo more than cheer. Choose to cheer each other on - we all need encouragement more than we need criticism.
We hope that helps you! We would love to hear what you think and what you've learned from being married or in a relationship!!