Yesterday marked six months since Dan and I said “I do” back in San Antonio, with our parents and siblings watching us. It feels like we’ve been married forever, but our wedding day also feels like yesterday. I know that in the grand scheme of things, six months of marriage isn’t that long, but every successful marriage has to start somewhere!
I’ve learned much about love and marriage from our friends and family, but here are six lessons I’ve learned from my own marriage.
1. Communication is key.
I realize communication is on every single list about successful relationships, but there’s a reason why! The trick is learning HOW to communicate, which will be different for every couple.
Dan told me early in our relationship that he doesn’t pick up on clues or subtlety, so I quickly learned to be very clear whenever I talk to him. I state very specifically if I need him to do something and why. Or I tell him how I feel and why I feel that way. In return, he speaks honestly with me.
Our communication definitely isn’t perfect–Dan has a tendency not to tell me we have to leave for an out-of-town wedding at 9am instead of 1pm, or asks me at 11:20am if he can bring home friends for lunch at 11:30am–but we’re working on it. The most important thing is that we actively work on our communication, and whenever miscommunication still happens, we address the issue immediately.
2. Find a regular activity to do together.
Dan and I share several interests and hobbies. Ever since I first moved back to Ohio in 2012, we have watched all the Star Trek series together. We started with The Next Generation, moved onto Deep Space Nine, and are currently working on Voyager.
And because we’re total nerds, we don’t just watch it, but discuss it passionately. Like we might have rewound a recent episode just to confirm that the dates mentioned in the episode were plausible. And we might have dressed up as Commander Riker and Counselor Troi for Halloween and then again for Comic Con.
3. Support each other’s dreams and aspirations.
Dan is SO supportive of my blog and my writing. And I support his enthusiasm for cars (like that time we spent my birthday at Mid-Ohio).
4. Being married doesn’t mean growing up.
Dan and I are basically two little kids who work full-time jobs and happen to be married. We still sleep with our stuffed animals. (Miracle recently started snuggling with us nightly, so now we have Miracle, Gabby, Bear, and Moose. Guess which animals Dan brought into the relationship). We also love candy. Like, a lot. And we joke about toots, because nothing is quite as giggle-worthy as farting.
5. Prioritize each other.
We haven’t organized our books yet. I can’t remember the last time we dusted. I don’t spend as much time reading and writing as I’d like. But Dan and I make time for each other every day. He comes home for lunch most days. We often cook dinner together and then eat while watching Star Trek. Even on nights when Dan is traveling, we skype before bed. While we certainly have our separate activities, and we still make time for our friends and family, finding quality time together is our number-one priority.
6. Always say “I love you”!
Before Dan leaves for work each morning, he kisses me good-bye and tells me he loves me. Before we go to sleep each night, we always exchange an “I love you.” I will never grow tired of telling him that or hearing him say it!
These little lessons work for us, but what about you? I’d love to hear advice from other happily-married couples, especially those at one, five, ten, or more years!
P.S. These are just a few lessons I’ve learned in my own marriage, but my parents taught me many more! For their 30th wedding anniversary, I put together a list of 30 lessons they taught me about marriage.