5 Lessons from 5 Years of Marriage from my Husband
Dustin and I celebrated 5 beautiful years of marriage this last Friday with a weekend escape to Las Vegas, It was perfect. We ate so much good food, we painted with dolphins, we played Blackjack (and won!) and we explored as many casinos as we possibly could. We ended the weekend spending time with our very best friends from college who live in Las Vegas now, and I swear I haven’t laughed so hard in years. Sometimes you make friends who are irreplaceable, and even though you only see them once a year, when you get together, it’s like you’ve seen each other every day.
ANYWAY! Today, I’m turning HTC over to the man behind the blog, my Instagram husband (cue fanfare music) DUSTIN! Since I’m always talking about the things I learn during momentous occasions, I thought I would ask him to share 5 lessons he’s learned over the last 5 years of marriage. I loved reading his perspective on the things that have really worked for us and hope that you find it as insightful as I did!
5 Lessons from 5 Years of Marriage from my Husband:
Communication Is Key – always discuss your thoughts, feelings, and needs well. If you bottle things up the pressure will eventually cause an explosion. It’s never about who’s “right” or “wrong”, but rather that you tackle differences together. And if you really want to “win” an argument, be the first person to say, “I’m sorry” and seek to understand where your other half is coming from – those are the real winners.
This is something Dustin and I have been working super hard on this last year specifically. I tend to be someone who just bottles my frustrations up and instead of explaining them, I would just increasingly snappy and frustrated. We hit a wall in our communication efforts at the beginning of this year and we realized that we were both so concentrated on what we each felt individual that we weren’t even listening to what the other person was ACTUALLY saying. Once we stepped back, apologized and started again with hearts willing to listen, we realized that we actually were saying the SAME thing – just in different ways.
You Before Me – seek to put each other first in your wants, needs, plans, etc. If you both look out for the other first, neither would ever be left behind or out of the loop. It’s the rule of serving others. When you are serving someone, and your goal is to help them, somehow your burden seems easier to carry as well, and you are happier. Weird, right? But I swear it’s true.
This is something that Dustin has really and truly gone above and beyond in our marriage, especially since I went full time at my regular job and have been blogging on top of it. I think it’s important to note that you shouldn’t fight it when your spouse is trying to put you first. I used to say things like: “No, it’s fine, I can do the dishes and the laundry when I’m done blogging and you don’t have to worry about it” after Dustin would offer to do the dishes and laundry so I could work on a blog project. He would get so frustrated and say: “just let me help you!” Don’t deny your spouse the opportunity to serve you – but at the same time, don’t take it for granted. Always be looking for ways to serve your spouse at the same time.
Spend Money on Memories – not things. I always struggle with this because I feel like a new TV last for years and a vacation only lasts a week, but the difference is that you don’t fall more in love over a TV (I hope), and you definitely won’t find yourselves reminiscing over the first time you turned on your TV (hopefully); instead, go on a trip somewhere, literally anywhere, and have fun – those memories will last forever and be more valuable than and $$$ you spent making them.
Hahaha, Dustbust is right – he did have a problem with wanting to spend money on vacations. He’s gotten a LOT better about it though – mainly because he’s got the best vacation partner he could ask for (that’s me, in case anyone was wondering.) When Dustin and I talk about our favorite things we’ve done together – it’s always an experience that we got to have together that we saved up for. Swimming with sea turtles in the Grand Cayman Islands. Hiking through Oneonta Gorge in Oregon. Camping in the Redwood Forest. Driving the Jeep over the slickrock in Moab. While things are nice, spending time with each other, reconnecting with each other, creating memories together, and getting to know each other on an even deeper level has been the key to our marriage is even stronger today then it was a year ago.
You Can’t Both Be Strong All the Time – it’s ignorant to expect that you will both be happy all the time – everyone has bad days. However, even when you are both having a bad day/week/month, one of you needs to be the strong one for the other to lean on; you still have to eat which means one of you still has to cook dinner (or call Jimmy John’s). If that’s you, don’t worry, your time will come when you will need them to be there for you too – so just remember, “you before me”.
There have been periods of time where Dustin and I are both struggling and if we aren’t careful, it truly puts a divide in our marriage. We’ve learned that it’s silly to expect each other to magically be strong during a time like this and that we both have to be aware of how we’re feeling. It’s been a great way to practice the “you before me” mentality and it always helps us get out of our funk.
Make Plans – one of the biggest sources of depression and anxiety is often a lack of confidence or optimism in the future. If you make plans together and work towards a goal, it makes it a lot easier to say, “everything will be ok” – even during times when you think it won’t.
Last year was one of the hardest years of our lives. As I’ve shared before, Dustin and I lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage. Dustin also had to undergo an emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder. Something that we’ve kept under wraps and haven’t talked about at all was how hard Dustin’s recovery was after that surgery. It took a huge onal toll on his body and watching him fight through those battles for months on end without knowing how to best support him was terrifying. We were so overwhelmed with so many things, especially when it came to what the future looked like for our little family. I was suffering from awful anxiety attacks just thinking about it. But like Dustin said, once we started sitting down, digging into what our future looked like, and making plans – things got better. We had a plan – baby steps to take to get to our end goal. And things did get better.
Overall, just LOVE each other. Figure out his/her love language and express it often. Life is too short to let anything get in the way of your love. – Dustin