Six Things I’ve Learnt in Six Years of Marriage

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Tomorrow is Gareth and my six year wedding anniversary. Instead of writing yet another “Oh I love him so much, he is my rock, without him I am nothing…” blog post (It’s true by the way but… well… you know… snoooooze) I thought I’d share six of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in these six short years.

1. Marriage does change things

For the better of course! When we were first married, nothing felt different. We lived together beforehand and, if I’m honest, I struggled to see what the big fuss was about. But after being married for a few years I did start to notice some changes… in both of us.

The safety and security you feel when you’re married is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Knowing that this person has chosen to be with you, and only you, for the rest of their life is quite a powerful feeling. The bond you have post-marriage is, for us anyway, so much stronger. The trivialities of the everyday don’t really matter as much, and any arguments don’t have the same devastating effect. We’re both ultimately in agreement and it’s us against the world – forever.

2. When in doubt, the relationship always comes first

I’ve given this advice to so many of my friends over the past few years and now I impart it to you! Whatever the issue, whatever the drama or trauma or stress, always remember that your relationship comes first. Period.

If you’re stressing about something external (like money, your job or a family drama), make sure you’re on the same team and you tackle it together. The worst thing you can do is shut them out, or worse still, blame them for it. Even if you don’t vocalise that blame, it can be all to easy to think things like “well if she did this differently…” or “if only he wouldn’t stand in my way…”

IT CAN BE SO HARD not to do this, but as long as you know that they are your priority, no matter what, then you won’t go far wrong.

This might sound frightfully un-feminist, but if Gareth had a problem with how much travel I was doing with The Blogcademy, for example, then I wouldn’t be doing it. He comes first. I love my job, but I love my husband more.

3. Your house is both of your homes

We have a rule in our house that neither of us (ahem, it’s really aimed at me) is allowed to buy anything ‘for the house’ without the other person’s consent. As someone who loves an impulse buy, this was difficult for me to come to terms with!

But this isn’t just my house – it’s his home too. Although our tastes might be quite different, it’s important that we agree on the things that decorate and furnish the space we both live in.

As much as I might dream of painting our front door pink and covering our dining table in glitter perspex (!!) that just isn’t going to fly with him. While his excessive wiring (it really is everywhere!) might drive me crazy, he did put up bright pink wallpaper up in our kitchen for me, so I can’t really complain!

You have to make these decisions together though. You both live there and you both need to be happy in the place you call home.

wedding-anniversary-6-years-changed

4. Arguments are insignificant

When you’ve been together a long time (we’ve been married six years but we’ve actually been together for twelve – damn!) arguments don’t seem to hold the same weight as they used to. Looking back at any (what seemed at the time like) massive fights, now just pale into insignificance.

No matter how big a disagreement is, when you look back on it years later you’ll realise how unimportant it was. You’ll also be so glad that you forgave each other and moved on from it when you did. Life’s too short for resentment, but married life can be bloody long of there’s any of it on either side! When you fight, resolve it as soon as you can, forgive each other quickly and move on.

As a side note, someone once told us to never let the sun go down on an argument. However I’d like to call bullshit on that one. For a while we tried to make sure we resolved any disagreements before bedtime, but it just wasn’t working. Why? Because trying to force a resolution when you’re both still pissed off (and probably tired) is the worst thing you can do! For us, it works much better to go off, cool down, sleep on it and then discuss things calmly when it’s all a bit less raw.

5. Respect their flaws

Yes, respect! That might be an odd way to describe it but hear me out. I do not think saying that you ‘accept’ somebody’s flaws is particularly healthy. You need to respect them as an individual and realise that what you might see as a flaw is probably just part of the person you love.

I respect the fact that Gareth likes to stay up past 4am and lie in bed until 2pm. He respects the fact that I get nutty when our house is a tip, but grumpy when I do housework. I respect the fact that he’s never on time, but that he always does things to the very best of his ability. He respects the fact that I am a workaholic and spend 12 hours a day on my computer.

Respecting is different to accepting. Accepting somebody’s flaws implies that you do so with a grumble and maybe even a bit of resentment…  “I accept that he is XYZ, but I don’t LIKE IT!” Respecting someone’s quirks alters your mindset into an all together more healthy one.

6. You will change… just make sure you do it together

Well you only have to look at these photographs from our wedding to see just how much we’ve both changed in six years! The person you marry will not be the person you are married to forever. People grow, people change, people have altering focuses and passions as the years pass by.

This isn’t something to fear, it’s actually something to really look forward to. The most crucial thing is that you grow and change together. After all, you signed up to be part of a team, and a team needs to work together in order to succeed.

If you want to read more marriage advice and tips, I wrote a whole ten part series called Marriage Mantras a while back which I’d love for you to check out too.

25 comments

  1. Becka

    A someone who’s just got married a few weeks ago – NYE! Eek! – I love these!!
    Especially the ones about not buying things for the house without you both agreeing and respecting each other quirks- great advice!!
    Thank you x

  2. Ah Kat – i LOVE this post! esp the part about growing as a team! Hope you have a fabulous anniversary tomorrow! (These wedding pics are awesome! can’t believe how different you look!) xx

  3. Barbielovescork

    I’m going out with my boyfriend for 4 and a half years, we both know we want to get married but due to work and living in the wrong city (our dream is the south of Ireland) we are not bothered by not being married (late twenties and have 8 weddings this year!!!) it’s lovely to hear how much love you have for him six years later and hope myself and my partner will grow together when we get married. And now that you say it we do ‘respect’ each other’s flaws! I’m coming home after a night shift, he will still be asleep but I’m hoping in beside him and in his sleep he reaches over for me and pulls me in close. Then I nod off and he gets up to study for his law degree exams (he already is a Garda). The little things like this make me love him more and more everyday!! Love your blog always leaves me inspired. Xx

  4. I am not married but absolutely agree with all your comments. I believe your points still stand for non-marriage relationships too. ‘Your house is both of your homes’ made me giggle when I read that one; our house has the gold glitter, shabby chic dressers and pink clutter but luckily my partner doesn’t mind. In fact, the only possessions he has out on show is two Lego vehicles! I do constantly check he is happy with me adorning the house with gold frames and floral tea towels but he says he actually quite like it!

    I completely agree about the agreements point- little arguments are unimportant and we just get over them. We practice the ‘cooling down and approach it when we are calmer’ like you suggest and it works for us :)

    Miss Tulip x

    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

  5. This is SO true. I really related to this. Such a thoughtful post. I’m very guilty of seeing our home as my home. Probably because I had my own house before we bought together and I’m still in that mindset. But you’re right – it does make you feel a great sense of security. I try not to take this for granted. But we were just talking about it last night actually, saying that feeling secure with each other frees up so much time to focus on the other things in life you want to achieve. Without having to worry about ‘finding someone to share my life with’ I can get on with having a small business, writing, going places… :) thank you for this x

  6. Fabulous advice. I totally agree with all of it. I was with my first husband for 20yrs and we split because we grew apart and were no longer a team. I’m getting married again for the 2nd time next Feb and now I’m in my 40s I’ve learnt from mistakes made on both sides of that 1st marriage and will make sure that me and my new partner remain each others priority. X

  7. Absolutely agree with this. Married for almost a year and together 6, our marriage is already changing our relationship. There is no easy way out and thats a good thing. Arguments are forgiven easier as we’ve committed to be together forever. And we appreciate each other more. I can only hope for more in the next 5 years!
    Happy anniversary to you both, and I think a glitter counter would be the perfect anniversary present! ;)

  8. Emma

    Totally agree with number 1…. We only got married on Saturday (less than a week ago) and even though we’ve been together for 17 years and have 3 kids I have never felt more secure in our relationship..it does ‘feel different’. I’m one very happy girl! (Although that might also have something to do with the fact we’re at heathrow airport waiting to fly to Thailand on our honeymoon!!!)

  9. Point #1 had me welling up. A lot of people ask me why I feel the need to get married and you hit the nail right on the head! It’s the security. Choosing to be with each other. Forever.

    I hope you have something wonderful planned for your anniversary! Thanks for yet another great post.

  10. Nicki L.

    Rock on! All your work is fantastic, however, this may be a sign of things to come? Just sayin’. Quite the helpful advice for brides….

  11. Just want to say I really agree with you on what BS it is to not let the sun go down on your anger. That advice might work for some people, but I think a lot of people would agree it’s better to cool off and talk about it later and that sometimes mean sleeping on it rather than trying to force yourselves to come to a resolution when you aren’t ready to.

  12. Vanezza

    These are all so relateable. My husband and I will be married 5 years on Halloween. Your #6 comment hit it right on the nose. Absolutely true! The person you married will not be the person you are married to forever. People change and evolve and so does the marriage.

    Last year we hit a HUGE rough patch in our relationship. One that changed our lives forever. It prompted decisions and choices–ones that I never imagined having to make. Next week will be the year anniversary from when I didn’t think life could get any worse nor how it would ever get better. BUT here I am, actually happy again and still in love.

    I’ve learned that marriage is hard. It is DEFINITELY a team effort and you can’t always get what you want, but if you are willing to work at it together, you CAN both me happy.

    Sometimes the best things in life come out of the worst situations.

  13. This is great – such real advice, especially about the respecting each other’s flaws and growing together. Great as always, Kat!

  14. I to thought it made no difference married or living together, then I met steve, and yes my view changed. I, we wanted to be married.. sept 2012 fabulous day, best day…. and I, we love being married. To say husband is great and to be his wife is even better. X p.s I love rocknrollbride,

  15. Totally agree Kat, I’ve been married 5 years now and it has completely changed things, we are definitely more of a team and it has been really important to keep communicating well. Happy anniversary xx

  16. I’ll have been married for 6 years in May, and I think I have most of these covered, except the mutual decisions on home decor, I completely take control of that but I don’t think he minds! Such great advise and definitely food for thought. I like that you’ve really thought about every day stuff especially dealing with arguments. xxx

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