Today is Orlando and I’s fifth wedding anniversary, and while it doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been married that long, I know we’ve both grown by leaps and bounds in that amount of time. Marriage, if anything, is one of those life tools that is constantly shaping you into a better person. Two people can’t possibly come together and not have any differences. The point is how you handle those differences. Do you let them shape you into an improved version of yourself? Or do you fight against it with all your might, stubbornly refusing to evolve? I think Orlando and I are a work in progress, for sure, but isn’t everyone? I can readily admit to plenty of things I’ve learned from him in just these five short years, and I’m sure there is plenty more to come.
1. It is much, much easier to just admit when you’re wrong.
If I’m digging my heels in and refusing to budge, it’s just prolonging the disagreement. Orlando is much better than me at this, but I’m slowly getting better. There are times when I can step outside myself and see that I’m just arguing for the sake of being right, not because what I’m arguing for is ACTUALLY the right thing. It’s important to be able to recognize the difference.
2. Being kind is a two-way street.
If you haven’t read the book Love & Respect, I HIGHLY recommend it. It was given to us by a married couple that were friends of ours in our very first year of wedded bliss, and it just makes SO much sense. The biggest takeaway for me, though, was that if you don’t start the cycle of kindness yourself, you can’t expect your partner to do it. If you want your husband to show you love and affection, respect him. Husbands, if you want your wife to respect your, show her unconditional love. Someone has to be the first to go out on a ledge and commit to love and respect. No matter what.
NOTE: I don’t mean respect your husband in a subservient way. I mean trusting him to lead you and your family. I mean give him the courtesy of listening to his opinions and valuing them. There’s a difference. Read the book, I promise it does an excellent job of explaining this.
3. There is ALWAYS something new to learn about a person.
It doesn’t matter how much time goes by, I’m always discovering another side to Orlando. Sometimes he’ll tell me a story from his childhood, or tell me his perspective of a memory we’ve made together, and I’m just blown away how you can know someone for so many years and still have things I don’t know about him. Thank goodness for that, though. Otherwise marraige would get really boring, really fast.
4. Who you are is profoundly impacted by who you surround yourself with.
They say you are the summation of the five people you spend the most time with. I’m assuming you’re like me and your spouse is one of those people, so it makes it all the more important to choose wisely. Don’t marry someone expecting to be able to change them to be more like you, or more like the person you want them to be. Marry them because you genuinely wouldn’t mind if you started becoming more like them.
5. I loved you yesterday, I love you still. I always have and I always will.
I don’t remember where this quote is from, but the longer I’m married the more I see the truth in it. I don’t love Orlando solely because of who he was. I also don’t love him only because of who he is now or who he’s becoming. I love my husband for all of these things, because when you add them all up it becomes so much more than just a marriage. It’s a life together, it’s a thousand days that add up to years, that become greater than just two people.