Dustin and I celebrated 4 years of marriage in April, but because we had just bought a house, gotten back from a wedding, brought home a new puppy AND had gone through a scary emergency surgery all within the two weeks before, I didn’t have a chance to sit down and write anything about it. At first, I figured that I would just wait until next year since the time had passed, but I then realized that I shouldn’t have to wait for our official anniversary to write about our love.
So today, I’m pulling out all the photos from the day we got married (I don’t think I’ve ever shared them on here before) and wanted to open up a little bit about what 4 years of marriage has looked for us.
Photos by Jen Perkes Photography.
Insights on Year Four:
One – I wouldn’t say that the newlywed stage has “worn off” but now that we are four years into our marriage, we definitely feel the weight of making adult decisions more and more. In year four, we decided to change jobs twice (which resulted in two cross-country moves) and to buy a house. Those are really big adult things that we didn’t have to deal with when we were still in college, living in a little apartment. As big as those decisions were, I don’t think they have ruined marriage for us – we’re even more in love now than we were in those early months. Going through those challenges evolved our love and made it deeper than ever before, mainly because we’ve allowed them to. I think it’s easy to let stressful situations (like job changes and moves) put a wedge between you, but we’ve vowed to always let them strengthen us. How? We make it a point to always talk about how we’re feeling and being open to making changes to help each other through those times.
Two – A lot of people keep asking us when we’re going to have kids (especially in Utah) and while we’re getting closer to wanting to start our family, I’m so glad that we haven’t tried to grow our family just yet. We have had four beautiful years to figure US out. We have been able to take trips, make memories, and reconnect over and over again and strengthen our relationship in new ways. I look forward to growing our family in the future, but I am in no rush and that is OKAY! The choice to start our family is between Dustin and I and when we decide that the time is right, we will go for it. Until then, we are going to enjoy learning more about each other, going on new adventures, and working on strengthening our relationship as much as possible.
Three – One of the biggest things we’ve learned in the last four years is that it’s okay to still be an individual in your marriage. I mean this as it’s okay to have your own hobbies, passions, and even group of friends. It’s okay to want “me” time and to watch your own shows in different parts of the house. When Dustin and I first got married, I felt like we had to do EVERYTHING together and would get hurt and offended when he would want to play video games for longer than 20 minutes instead of hanging out with me. Over the last four years, we’ve learned that it’s okay to do things on our own. We aren’t the “same” person; we are a team made up of two different people. We each have our own group of friends we’ll go out with individually at times and we never guilt each other for wanting to hang out with our friends without inviting the other person.
On the flip side, we always make sure that we spend time together and that we don’t become so wrapped up in our own gigs that we become disconnected. Friday night is ALWAYS date-night. We make it a point to have companionship inventory at least once a month where we both openly communicate about what’s working and what we want to improve on in our marriage. Whenever we feel distant from each other, we put a pause on everything else, unplug, and work on reconnecting. We’ve learned that it’s all about finding a balance between honoring our individualities while still loving, supporting, and connecting with each other as a partnership.
What Dustin has Taught me in the Last Four Years
Work Hard for What You Want – Dustin does not settle. I mean, we’ve gone through four job changes in the last four years of our marriage because he refused to settle for a job that didn’t make him happy or get him where he wanted to be. While it’s been hard to move that much, I have always been so impressed and amazed by Dustin’s drive to make sure he finds the best opportunity out there so that he can provide for our family.
Dustin takes that same work ethic and applies it to my own passions and side-gigs. He knows that I work hard on my blog and puts in as much time and effort into my side-hustle to help me get what I want. There have been so many times that I have wanted to throw in the towel and give up because blogging is hard, but he has patiently reminded me that I can get anything I want if I put the work in. I’m so grateful for his example in this.
It’s okay to always be a kid at heart – Anyone who has met Dustin, talked to Dustin, or even seen a photo of Dustin knows that he is a big goof. He loves to laugh and he loves to have fun. We went to a water park last weekend and he was the only one who was hooting and hollering down the waterslides. He always reminds me not to take so seriously that I lose the joy in the small things.
It’s okay to ask for help – Sometimes, things just don’t go the way we plan or expect them to. Dustin has taught me that it’s okay to ask for help, even when you are afraid to or embarrassed to ask. He has taught me that there is strength in asking for help and that you are never wrong to speak up for yourself.
Bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean we should live in fear – This is one of the biggest things I struggle with on a daily basis because #cancer. I had something really bad and traumatic happen to me when I was younger and I spend a lot of time convinced that something bad will happen to me again. Just yesterday, a woman was shot dead in her car a few blocks from our neighborhood (and we live in a really cute and safe neighborhood) and I was terrified to go home.
Dustin reminds me daily that bad things do happen and probably will happen, but that I shouldn’t let it prevent me from living a vibrant life in the meantime. I’m grateful to have someone to calm my fears and help me find joy when I’m scared.
I am so grateful for Dustin and for the opportunity I have to be his partner in life. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it has always been easy to choose him. I can’t wait for year five!
I love you more today than I did yesterday. I know this year has been rough at times and really crazy, but I know that as long as we are together, we can get through anything. Thank you for making me laugh, for being the best Instagram husband, for watching the Bachelor with me, and for always reminding me and encouraging me to live a vibrant life. I love you, I love you, I love you.
What has your significant other taught you during the span of your relationship?