7 Things I Learned In 7 Years Of Marriage

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. It has been such a crazy few weeks that we both almost missed it… but here we are.

I find it amazing, looking back, how much life can change in 7-years. How much we have changed, how much we have grown and how quickly it all went by. Time is something I can’t seem to get a handle on, but I can say that the past 7-years of marriage, although busy, has been better than I could have ever dreamed of.

Cole and I started dating in 2009. We officially met in 2008 when he gave my friends and I a lift home after a night out and I forgot to thank him – instead, I “poked” him on Facebook and forgot all about the incident. A year later, he “poked” me back… We met up at a nightclub where we kissed and never parted ways again. There was something different about Cole, he made me laugh like no-one else could. He has always, since the day I met him, treated me with utmost respect and adoration… he didn’t run when things got hard and my bipolar made me impossible, instead he stayed with me and guided me through it. He saved my life.

Our 7-years together produced two incredible children, and made another one that is growing in my tummy as I type this. We have moved countless times, fostered and adopted many animals, followed our dreams and held each other as some of those dreams crashed to the floor. We watched each other fail, we watched each other triumph… and every night we would get into bed together and the world will be whole – no matter the challenges we faced during that day.

On every anniversary I reflect on the lessons I had learned throughout the years, here are the ones that have been the most important to me and my journey through marriage.

1. Your husband can’t read your mind. 

Whether you have been married for 7 months or 70 years, you’re going to have to regularly tell him what is important to you. Men are particularly useless at understanding how our minds work, it is so much easier to just spell it out to them.

2. Simplify

Simplicity is beautifully complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking. Simplicity requires tremendous brainpower, will and foresight. If you want an incredibly passionate, happy, alive marriage…don’t overcomplicate things.

3. Don’t be a roommate

This is not a roommate arrangement. You don’t get to live together, but live separate lives. Keep the spark alive, be affectionate, have wild sex, share your lives.

4. You can’t make someone else happy.

But you can help them find their own happiness. You can drive yourself nuts trying to fix someone else. It’s better just to love them and do what you can to guide them to where they, not you, want to go.

5. You should never apologize with the word “but.”

Apologies do not come with exceptions or rationalizations (I am still learning this). And “I was wrong” sounds a lot more convincing than a half-hearted “I’m sorry.”

6. Laugh, a lot

I don’t know if laughter is the ‘best’ medicine, but it can cure a lot. Science has shown that laughter reduces anxiety, tension, stress and improves your mood. It’s pretty damn hard to be happy when you’re angry or stressed out. No matter what is going on a little laughter can change a situation in a heartbeat. Making each other laugh might be as important as kissing each other good night.

7. Let go of your expectations

Expectations are imaginary, we conjure them up in our mind based on some fantasy or someone else’s perfect Instagram feed. We end up projecting these onto others, especially our partners… and this is dangerous, trust me. Start with lower expectations and life will be full of happy surprises. This isn’t always easy, but it always works.

What’s one surprising lesson you’ve learned from a long-term relationship?

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