What I’ve Learned about Marriage—So Far

*Dedicated to my one & only in celebration of our anniversary

  1. Apologize sooner. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling of saying “I’m sorry.”
  2. Also get comfortable saying, “I was wrong.” It gets easier and keeps defenses down.
  3. Learn your partner’s egg and toast preferences early on, so little annoyances about runny eggs or burnt toast don’t accumulate.
  4. Kiss goodbye like you mean it.
  5. Spoon in bed even if it makes the middle of your mattress sag prematurely.
  6. Keep household chores as balanced as possible so neither person finds themselves tallying their tasks against the other.
  7. Split tasks by who dislikes (maybe even likes?) them a little less, so they’re more likely to get done and be mildly more enjoyable.
  8. Make time for date nights, even if they’re at home after the kids are in bed. It’s important to spend time focusing on each other.
  9. Say “I love you” as often as possible. You really can’t say it too much.
  10. Sacrifice occasionally to compromise on food, movies, and shows. A couple boring hours or a bland meal is not worth an argument or the cold shoulder.
  11. Have sex often enough to remember why you want to but not so much that it feels like an obligation.
  12. Maintain a united front for the kids and the world. Resolve issues when there’s time to work through them in a private, productive way.
  13. Along those lines, work out issues as a couple rather than venting the small stuff to friends and family who might let it taint their perception of your partner.
  14. Dance in the kitchen whether a slow dance or a silly jig; it’s a pleasant reminder to keep the fun and romance alive.
  15. Hold hands and flirt like the relationship is still brand new. We do not grow tired of feeling adored.
  16. Talk through conflict when you’re still dealing with a single, identifiable issue instead of “letting things go” but actually fester beneath the surface until it’s an explosion of every grievance you’ve ever had.
  17. If you fight, keep it about the issues and not the person. Preserve their self-worth because everyone harbors insecurities and feels vulnerable. 
  18. Find out what lights up your partner and try to bring more of those joys into their life.
  19. Strive to build up your partner rather than tear them down. The unavoidable letdowns in life do enough of this already. Be each other’s cheerleader.
  20. Listen. Set aside what you’re doing, make eye contact, and really pay attention.
  21. If you fight in front of the kids, make sure they see you come back together to make up and apologize. This way they learn you can calm down from the heated emotions while you model what it looks like to come full circle through the conflict and forge an even stronger relationship.
  22. Leave surprise love notes or little gifts just because. They can be more meaningful than something given for an anniversary or birthday because they let the other know you were thinking of them even when it wasn’t expected.
  23. Also treat yourself to the book, flowers, or shoes, so you’re not putting all the pressure on your partner to meet every need and want.
  24. Fully commit. Every day. In moments of frustration, disappointment, anger, or apathy, recall your fondest couple memory to remind yourself why you’re blessed to still have the person by your side. If you’re fully committed, you’ll be a better partner, loving a little deeper and truer. And that makes all the difference.

One thought on “What I’ve Learned about Marriage—So Far

  1. Gabrielle,
    I have SO valued your writings.
    It certainly sounds like the makings of an excellent book – with excellent suggestions – and excellent timing – as the reality of relationships rely on intention, kindness, and LOVE.
    Our world – in its harried – and “have-to-have now” – and “it better be easy” philosophy – is in dire need of Not only what works in relationships – also what matters MOST! AND – that is – “showing up” – “doing the work” and “believing TRULY that LOVE is WORTH IT!”
    Thank YOU 🙏!

    Liked by 1 person

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