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Things We’ve Learned in Our First 10 Years of Marriage

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Things We’ve Learned in Our First 10 Years of Marriage

On April 10, 2020, my husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that 10 years has already gone by and sometimes it feels like it’s been even more. Since 10 years is such a milestone anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things I’ve learned in our first 10 years of marriage. (Do you think I’ve used the number 10 enough times in that paragraph?)

And by I’ve learned, I really mean we’ve learned because I did ask my husband (JP) to help me come up with these.

Our first 10 years of marriage had its ups and downs and we learned a lot along the way. These are our top 10 tips for marriage after 10 years! #marriagegoals #marriageadvice #secrettomarriage #marriagetips #communicationinmarriage

Lessons Learned from Our First 10 Years of Marriage

1. Sometimes, you may go to bed angry.

People always give their number one piece of advice to newly weds and say “never go to bed angry.” Well I’m here to tell you that sometimes you probably will and that’s okay. I don’t mean absolutely furious by any means, but there will be times that you go to bed still upset. I always find that when I wake up in the morning that anger has dissipated and I’m able to offer a sincere apology.

2. Never stop dating your spouse.

Never stop dating your spouse. Take time to spend one on one time together and have fun! 10 things I've learned in our first 10 years of marriage! #dateyourspouse #10yearanniversary

In our first 10 years of marriage, we learned that life gets crazy. As time goes on and you add more activities and kids into the picture, and it gets harder to spend time together one on one. Whatever you do, never stop dating your spouse. If you have kids (like we do), get a babysitter at least once a month and go out together! Do something fun besides dinner and a movie. Go bowling, play laser tag or go to the county fair!

If you’re at a point where it’s hard to get out or you’re trying to stay home, have a date at home! Create a date night in a box and find some thought provoking, deep questions to continue to know your spouse on another level. These 36 deep questions help you reach beyond the surface level and even help you understand the science of intimacy!

3. Experiences are far better than gifts.

Gifts can be lovely and exciting, don’t get me wrong, but there is something far more special about experiences. After we got married, we decided that we weren’t going to do presents, but instead trips. Some years would be big trips and other years would be little ones.

A view of Sorrento, Italy on the Amalfi coast during our 3 year anniversary trip. #coupleswhotravel #anniversarytrip #first10years #experiencesovergifts

For our 3rd anniversary, we did a Mediterranean cruise out of Rome and visited three countries, Italy, France and Spain, to celebrate our three years of marriage. This trip was amazing and I look back on it with the best memories. Not all of our trips have been big and grand. Our 4th anniversary, we simply went to Corpus Christi, TX (a 2.5 hour drive) for a casual weekend at the beach. In fact, for our 10th anniversary, we were supposed to just stay overnight at a hotel in downtown Houston before the craziness of COVID-19 hit!

Just remember that not every trip or experience has to be big for it to be memorable.

4. Always find similar interests.

There is a reason you started dating in the first place right? It was easy to talk to one another and you had things in common! It’s important to keep things in common with each other. Whether it’s going to the gym, watching similar shows, traveling, enjoying the theatre, gaming together, etc.; you should always find similar interests and do things together! As people we evolve, so it doesn’t always have to be the same thing. Find new interests and new things to love together.

For example, when JP and I got married, he did NOT like running, but I did. I asked him to run a half marathon with me for my birthday a year and a half after marriage. We trained together and even though he said he would never run another one again, here we are 9 years later and he’s run over 10 half marathons with me!

5. Keep your girl/guy time.

While it’s important to do things together it’s also important to keep up with separate interests and friends. Take time for guys/girls nights or even trips. Time spent with your friends is incredibly important, so support one another in this. Encourage the occasional guys poker night or girls brunch date. It’s just as necessary to have your own things as it is to have things that you can do together.

6. Be active together.

One thing I've learned in our first 10 years of marriage is that it's important to be active with your spouse! Find ways to stay fit together that you both enjoy. Not everyone likes to run, but in time, my husband and I both found a love for it. Now we run together...and sometimes separate! #10yearsofmarriage #thingsivelearned #whatmarriagetaughtme

Find anything that will keep you active and busy together! Health is one of the keys to happiness, so if you can stay healthy together, do it!

Not everyone love exercises, but keep trying new things to see what you enjoy together. Different areas will have different options too, so check out what’s available around you! Here are a few ideas:

  • Go on a walk or run
  • Take a hike
  • Ride your bike
  • Go to the gym together (even if you don’t workout together)
  • Sign up for a fitness class or boot camp
  • Go paddleboarding

Related Post: 10 Healthy Habits to Start Now

7. Always say “I love you” back.

In the early days, JP would sometimes offer me an “I love you” when I was mad and I didn’t always say it back. I can hold a solid grudge. I was also quite young when we got married, and it took a few years for me to continue maturing. One thing I highly recommend is to always say “I love you” back. Even when your mad, if your partner offers it to you, say it. Anger is a funny thing, but you do love them. Remember, it will hurt your spouse even worse if you don’t say it back.

8. Go to bed at the same time.

Going to bed at the same time is one of the things that we've learned is best in our first 10 years of marriage!

This one may sound odd, but we believe that going to bed at the same time is beneficial to our relationship. Many years ago, we were on totally different schedules. I was going to bed early with a 4:00am wake up time while JP went to bed late since he was a manager at a plant working 11-7pm. Having these different bed times kept us apart and it also took away that quality snuggle and communication time before sleep.

Obviously this was an issue because of our vastly different schedules, but it did cause tension in our relationship. At the time, we didn’t realize this was one of the problems, but looking back on it, we both agree that it was a big part of it.

Now we always go to bed at the same time. I may read for a bit while JP watches a show, but we’re in there together and that’s what matters.

9. Communication is key.

Communication is so important in a relationship. Not only do you need to be able to express yourself, but you also need to listen. No, really listen. Don’t just pretend to listen, but be an active listener. You may think that you know what they’re going to say, but you don’t. You don’t know exactly what’s going on inside their head no matter how long you’ve been together.

If you ever feel like your communication skills are lacking, don’t hesitate to seek some counseling. After we had our daughter back in 2015, we sought out a couples therapist to helps us learn to communicate better. We saw her once or twice a month for a little over a year, and I loved every minute of it. We learned even more about each other including how to talk to, listen to and reaffirm eachother.

10. Accept your spouse for who they are.

Probably the most important tip of all is to accept your spouse for exactly who they are. No matter what, there will always be things that irritate you about your spouse, but you must love all them because trying to change them will hurt both of you.

Also remember that while you can’t change them, you must allow them to change. We’re humans and we’re ever changing and adapting beings, so accept your spouse for who they are and who they become.

As time goes on we grow and mature. We develop new interests and make new friends and possibly even become parents. All of these things will gradually change us.

Related Post: Man Crush Monday

Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Maybe the most important bit of information I can give is that marriage isn’t easy, it’s a lot of work, but is it so worth it. Looking back on the last 10 years, we’ve had some very high highs and some really low lows.

I’ll be completely honest, there were moments I questioned if we would really make it to forever. If you’ve ever had those thoughts, you’re not alone. But in the end, we were able to rise above those moments with communication and love.

Being married to JP has made me a better person. While he hasn’t tried to change me, he has changed me. Because I’m with him, I’m a better person. That’s what marriage is all about right? Being the best version of yourself when you’re with them?

Our life together is far from perfect, but it’s perfect for us. The things we’ve learned in these last 10 years of marriage have helped us grow together and love each other more. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years and beyond has in store.

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We have learned and grown a lot in our first 10 years of marriage. These are our top 10 pieces of wisdom and advice to offer other married couples. Some you may have heard before and others are a little off the beaten path! #marriageadvice #10yearsofmarriage #happyhealthymarriage #dateyourspouse #datenightideas

What is your greatest piece of marriage advice and how long have you been married?

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(31) Comments

  1. Great advice! I definitely agree with the needing time apart from them (either with friends or alone). And i’m thinking we need to work on our bed times here LOL

    1. Time apart is so important and makes you appreciate each other so much more! The bedtime thing sounds kind of weird, but we’ve just noticed how much stronger it’s made our relationship!

      1. Renee says:

        Our 10 year anniversary is 1 month from today. Loved this read

        1. Yayyy! Happy early anniversary. 10 years is such a blessing!

  2. I seriously love these so much! After you’ve been married a few years it becomes so easy to take eachother for granted. I love that you make the effort. Just because you’re married it doesn’t mean the romance has to die. I think it’s so important to continue to do things you loved to do (pre-marriage/pre-kids) and continue to fall in love with each other. I love the at home date ideas. we’re always busy but its important to make the time to focus on eachother.

    1. Thank you so much Cendu! It’s true, after a while it’s so easy to take each other for granted. I’ll admit that we’ve both done it to each other. Thank goodness for putting our pride aside and digging to find the root of some issues. We’re so much strong now and appreciate each other more for it! As cheesy as it is, we’re more in love now than we were 10 years ago!

  3. These are such great tips. When my husband and I were engaged, we attended a “newly wed or close” group at church. Going to bed at the same time was some advice that was given and I’ll always remember it and agree with it!

    1. Oh that is so neat! I don’t remember ever hearing that advice (but I could have just forgotten), so I’m glad that your church group agrees. We definitely got so much good advice from our relationship advising through the church!

  4. These are all so true and so great! I can’t decide which I like best. Maybe never stop dating your spouse. That’s a very important one.

    1. I completely agree. It’s so important to keep the spark alive and continue to know each other.

  5. Congrats on 10 years! I love all these lessons you’ve learned and I can relate to many of them. My husband and I also choose experiences over gifts and we love staying fit and healthy!

    1. Thank you so much! Experiences really do make life sweeter!!!

  6. Congrats, we are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in December. I agree with your whole list. We are counting down the days until we can go on a date again:)

    1. 2010 was a great year to get married! Happy early anniversary. I hope y’all will be able to go on a date to celebrate by then. We’re planning a date night as soon as it’s okay for us to. I can’t wait!

  7. Number 3 for sure! Although I love all of these and agree.

    1. I love number 3 too. It’s made life so fun and we make SO MANY memories this way!

  8. Going to bed at the same time is HUGE. For some reason it just happened naturally for my husband and I, and it’s a habit that I never want to get out of. We’ve also been married for a bit over 10 years, and I could relate to so much of this!

    1. I’m so glad you agree with the bed time! We learned the hard way how challenging it can be on a relationship due to our vastly different job schedules. Luckily it was temporary and we were able to change this. Now we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post! Especially like the tip always say ” I Love You Back”.

    1. Thank you! It may seem small, but young, stubborn me definitely held it in when I was mad. Luckily I’ve matured and realized how hurtful that can be. Anger doesn’t mean you don’t love your partner!

  10. I never thought about how important it is to go to ned at the same time but I actually think thats great advice! Great read

    1. Thank you! It seemed like a soft of odd and silly piece of advice at first, until I realized what a difference in made in our relationship personally!

  11. Great post!
    I love it when we go to bed at the same time.
    It also gives us a little bit of alone/kid free time as well.

    1. Yes, I completely agree. And that time is so cherished for us parents!

  12. Congratulations on 10 years! Marriage isn’t easy, I love the lessons that you shared with everyone. Finding similar interests can be tricky, but is SO worth it!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it can be challenging especially as we change and evolve over the years. It’s definitely worth it to try and take up things together! Who knows what you’ll both end up loving!

  13. We’ve now been married for 12 years – both of us had started to conclude we’d NEVER find someone to spend our life with (I was 35, he was almost 40 when we married) – and that, I think, has given us an unusual perspective versus those who married younger. Yes, we fight and quarrel and rub each other the wrong way, but not very often – because we are both keenly aware of how very blessed we are just to have found each other, and how very different our lives would be if we had not.

  14. Congratulations on 10 years! We are hitting 15 in a couple of months, and I loved reading your reflections and lessons learned. I can’t decide which one I like the most – I think it’s the one about experiences being better than gifts. Couldn’t agree more!

    1. 15 years is amazing! I think that one is my favorite too. Choosing to do trips over gifts has been one of my favorite and most exciting things about our relationship!

  15. Wow, congratulations you made it for 10 years and that is such a long one. There is still years to come and only I wish for both of you to be happy and receive more blessings

    1. Thank you so much Jasmine!

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