25 Things We've Learned in 25 Years of Marriage

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. It's funny, because only old people are celebrating their silver anniversary and we are still young kids just learning how to adult. At least that's what it feels like! We married young {I was 19, he was 20} and we immediately started our family {ahem...I was 26 weeks pregnant when we walked down the aisle}. We were the first of our friends to get married and we've seen our fair share of couple friends get divorced. We've had a lot of good years and some bad years in there, but overall, I think at 25 years we have a few things we've learned that we can share to those coming up behind.


25 Things We've Learned in 25 Years of Marriage


One of the most beneficial lessons I learned early on was to have friends who are just a few steps ahead of you in the life stages. This was incredibly helpful with parenting and it's proven to be helpful in marriage too. Being able to see an example of what you admire and want, even if it wasn't emulated to you, is an important mentorship. That said, both of us have very loving examples of marriage that have been set by our parents and grandparents and we have surrounded ourselves with friends who are also good examples of long-lasting marriages. 

1. Your Spouse Isn't a Mind Reader

This has probably been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn through the years because I have a very strong desire to receive love through acts of service. I like knowing that my husband is thinking about me and chooses to do things for me but I would often feel resentment if he didn't.

I remember stewing one weekend when he had to be away from home early for a meeting. I started thinking about how nice it would be if he would bring me home my favorite Starbucks coffee when he walked in the door. He wasn't at Starbucks, he doesn't even drink coffee, but for some reason I thought that would be the most thoughtful thing he could do for me that morning. When he walked in the door empty handed, I was crushed. It's not as glamorous to have to ask for what you want, but when I ask for something he generally is happy to oblige. 

2. Learn About Your Spouse

Consider yourself a constant student of your spouse. We all change and grow over time, but there are often core traits that will never change. Know what those are, learn about them and adapt to bring out the best of those traits.

3. Marriage is a Choice

I watch a lot of crappy reality tv shows about love and marriage. There is a lot of talk about soul mates and finding your one and only. Honestly, that's all crap. It's a choice. There is no one person out there made just for you, but you have to choose to be with that one person. Some days it's easier to make that choice than others, but it's always worth choosing love. 

4. Laughter is a Good Thing

I'm pretty sure that more than half of our disagreements are deflected with humor. Part of it is not taking yourself too seriously and the other part is just laughing about life and your weirdness and hang ups. 

5. You Can't Keep Score

We had to juggle parenting very early into our marriage and it's very easy to want to keep score. Marriage will never be equal. There will be things you both do differently and better and routines you will fall into and that's ok. If you try to make everything equal all the time and share the responsibilities of life, someone will always fall short.

6. If You Fight to Win You End Up Married to a Loser

We went to a marriage retreat and the one piece of advice I got from it was if you fight to win, you end up married to the loser. Let that sink in. No one wants to be married to a loser.

7. Do Not Go to Bed Angry

In 25 years we have not gone to bed angry with one another. Not once. {edited to add that Mike would like me to update this to not include extreme statements like never and always. I like to think it's not really anger but more annoyance, so I'm leaving my current statement.} 

Now, there have been times I don't think our issues have been resolved and other times we've still been upset with one another, but we've never gone to bed not addressing the issue and made a promise to continue to talk about it or apologize before moving on.

8. Apologizing is Hard but Worth It

Apologizing isn't something that comes easily to me. I don't like to admit fault but I have my fair share of times when I'm in the wrong. Making the choice to apologize and forgive allows time for healing. 

9. Compromise

To know my husband is to know that he's, shall we say...particular. There is a lot of our marriage that comes down to compromise. Usually by me, because I care less about the particularities of most things. But when there is a hill I will die on, he knows to compromise with me. 


10. Your Spouse Has Faults-Don't Try to Change Them

You can spend a lot of energy trying to change a person, but that's just going to bring resentment. You can only change your attitude so focus on that instead.

11. Remember You Are a Work in Progress Too

I don't know if it's because we got married so young and were still "finding" ourselves {whatever that means} or if the conversation about emotional intelligence is more open in the past decade or so, but it's important to continue to work on yourself too. 

For me, that means sucking up my pride more often than I had in the past to apologize and accept fault. Marriage isn't going to fix you, you are going to need to work on it.

12. Buy a King Size Bed and Never Look Back

When we first got married we slept in a hand-me-down full sized bed. How cute. Buy a king size bed as soon as you can afford it. No regrets.

13. Support One Another

We both have our own things we are passionate about. Support one another in their thing.

14. Celebrate the Partnership

Most people don't enter into a partnership with someone who is exactly like themselves. The best partnerships work when your strengths compliment the others weakness. 

15. Go to Bed at the Same Time

I can't think of a single time in our marriage when we didn't go to bed at the same time. Sure, there are times when one of us is tired and the other is not, but we make it a priority to crawl into bed at the same time every night.

16. Agree on the Big Stuff

You don't have to agree on everything, but agreeing on the big stuff sure does make life easier. We had very similar financial goals for our life and we had similar dreams for our future and how we were going to get there. 

We paid off our home! Read more about how we view money here!

17. Say I Love You Daily

Sure, it may come out out of habit, but hearing those three words daily is a great way to stay connected and know you are both on the same team.

18. Appreciate One Another

Simply noticing the sacrifice made or the effort taken can go a long way. Even if it's as simple as thanking the other person for making dinner or taking out the garbage.

19. Think About the Future

Having something to look forward to together is so important. It could be an upcoming trip or it could be dreaming about what your future plans will look like. My husband is nowhere near retirement, and yet we talk often about what those days will look like. It's important to see the future together.


20. Make One Another Stronger

Don't let your differences divide you. Focus on those differences and how the two of you can work together to make one another stronger.

21. Learn to Communicate

Having a disagreement isn't bad. It's important though to know how to communicate. If you argue in a way that tears one another down, you're going to have a lot more work to build one another back up again. Work on communicating effectively.

22. Don't Keep Things From One Another

Just don't. Trust is a huge part of marriage and as soon as any trust is broken, it can be very difficult to come back from.

23. Ask For What You Want

There is nothing romantic about asking for exactly what you want, but if you don't ask, you are going to have unmet expectations.

24. Keep Dating One Another

Sometimes our dates look like a trip to Costco or a walk on the weekend with the dogs, but it's important to keep making time to do things together. 

25. Say Yes

If your spouse asks if you want to do something with them, say yes. Take any opportunity to do things together and say yes, even if it's not something you really want to do. 

We can both agree, that at this point in life, neither of us would survive the world of singleness. We'd probably swipe the wrong way and get all the uggo's. So daily, it's a choice to stay married. Some days that choice is easier than other days, but it's always worth it. These are just a few things we've learned after 25 years of marriage and I'm sure we will keep learning for the next 25. If there's anything that's sweeter than young love, it's love that's been growing together for decades.

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