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What Ten Years Of Marriage Looks Like In Shoe Form (& 5 important tips to a better marriage)

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My post for today has nothing to do with saving money or making life easier, but it is something that I thought would be really neat to show you all. Back in October 2005 when my husband and I were just kids (yep, I was 19 and he was 22) we got married. We’ve never been super traditional in our gift-giving and for his wedding gift, I gave him a pair of these Vans Checkerboard Slidersthat he really wanted.

He wore the tar out of those things in this last decade (I guess it was a gift well given) and I’ve been pretty embarrassed that he has still been wearing them. In fact, I fondly refer to them as his “Hobo Shoes”…

Looking at them now, it is kind of symbolic of our relationship because we have been through some really tough stuff. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because some things are just meant to stay between husband and wife, but it has been nowhere near smooth sailing… in fact, neither of us even enjoyed being married until we had been married for about seven and a half years. We had to grow up a bit and become really good at forgiving each other. I guess it just took us a long time to find our groove…

I thought it would be a great gift to replace his “hobo shoes” for our ten year Anniversary (yeah, Hawaii didn’t happen like we’d wanted to go this year, getting laid off the month before will do that, but oh, well…maybe by our 15 year we’ll finally get to go on a honeymoon). Anyway, I got him a new pair of shoes and threw the old ones in the trash…only to find that he had dug the old ones out and still wanted to wear them because “they’re so comfortable”. I guess it’s not just our kids that I have to worry about digging stuff out of the trash.

 The new pair I got him for our Anniversary is also symbolic of our relationship in that I love him more now than I ever did before we got married. It’s hard to describe how lots of hardship and learning to fall in love with someone again and again reshapes both your heart and your definition of what love actually is.

My advice for a better marriage:

  1. Marriage counseling is a must if you aren’t enjoying married life. Don’t wait for it to get to the point that you just want out! It drives me nuts when people say “We tried everything to make it work”, but were too proud to give marriage counseling a shot. Having a third person that is unrelated to the situation can give you some great perspective AND they give you the tools that you need resolve conflict much more quickly. For us, those stupid fights that used to end with several days of a cold shoulder or silent treatment are now over in a matter of two or three hours… no cold shoulder, no not talking. Just a more harmonious relationship.
  2. You can forgive someone of something that you never thought you would ever get over, and stay married, and become happier than you ever were before. Trust can be earned back(but only if they are willing to earn it back, however long it takes)! Luckily, I don’t take life (or eternity) altering decisions lightly and after a full year of hating my husband so much that I just wished he’d get into a fiery car crash so it would all be over… I gave myself the time to work through some severe ptsd, and heal, and then I had to learn to forgive (yeah, it took way longer than I wanted it to, but I knew I didn’t want to feel that way about anyone, let alone someone I was supposed to spend forever with). If something happens and you are very hurt…you’re going to be hurt whether you get divorced or not…Give yourself time to weigh the full scope of the situation. Especially because the big picture is way bigger than the way you are feeling in this moment. Countless generations are affected by your choices whether you believe it or not.
  3. THE LITTLE THINGS DO NOT MATTER! People argue about how the tooth paste should squeezed out of the tube, how the toilet paper should get put on the roll, and lots of really stupid stuff. It’s super dumb and has no business being in a marriage. Nitpicking each other is NOT ok. Take a chill pill, grow up a little or get your own bathroom(preferably grow up), and then you may be more prepared to get through some of the tougher stuff that life is going to throw at you. Just think to yourself, “Is it going to matter in 100 years?”. If the answer is no, then get over it and move on. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
  4. Make more time for your spouse and family than you do your friends (and come home at a respectful time if you are out with friends). So, here’s a crazy idea…the person you promised yourself to should be the person you spend the most time with (except for at work). Yep, it’s true…if you want your marriage to work that is. It takes time to nurture a relationship, so by making your spouse your priority, your love will grow. Tensions rise when you’re not giving the relationship the nutrients(time) it needs to flourish. Plus, when you aren’t around each other enough, it makes proper communication nearly impossible.
  5. Take it with a grain of salt.  If your spouse tends to exaggerate, you may need to step back and develop your own opinions about things and the people in your life. Don’t take their word for it 100%. Once I realized how badly my husband exaggerated stories from the past, I decided that I needed to decide for myself how I felt about people rather than just disliking them for things they had done years ago…and the craziest thing happened. I get along with people so much better now that I’m not operating under preconceived notions.  Luckily, my husband doesn’t exaggerate anywhere nearly as bad as he did those first few years, but it’s worth taking a look at your own life and deciding if certain friends and family deserve a second chance…heck, you may become friends with someone you didn’t like before just because you finally give them the time of day.

That’s all I have to say about marriage…for now. Stuff learned the hard way gives the best advice. Even if it seems harsh. ~Sarah

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