Today, Jared and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that the two teenagers that were getting married, despite their family wishing they would wait, actually made it to 15 years. But we did and I want to show you how.
Our Origin Story
Every superhero needs an origin story and while we are mere mortals, I think ours deserves to be heard too.
We started dating when I was 15. After some bumps in the road, a couple of miscarriages, and break ups, I decided that this was the person I wanted to be with. To prove it, I asked him to marry me. Yup, I’m not one for tradition.
Three months later, we were saying our I do’s on my aunts front lawn with family and friends. My family wasn’t thrilled but like always, they were supportive. Two months later, Jared left for basic training. That started our very lopsided relationship of him gone and me waiting for him to come back.
Between training and deployments, we had spent more time apart than together. It wasn’t until year six or seven that we finally got balanced on the time away from each other to the time together.
While in Texas, I got bit by the homestead bug and started our gardens. Which flopped. But I wasn’t deterred. I am pretty stubborn. When we moved back to Georgia, the plan was to retire to a cabin in the woods. I wanted to live in the mountains, and Jared didn’t care. We circled the area we wanted to live and got to work.
Seven years after moving back to Georgia, we bought our little cabin in the woods. It’s at the base of some mountains, which is close enough for me. We have been busting our butts to get this cabin renovated and a homestead started from scratch. We are still moving and shaking on it but I am really proud of the two city kids that had a dream and are now making it a reality.
When we got married, we were given a bunch of advice. I’m pretty sure we have all heard it before.
“Don’t go to bed angry”- I am grouchy when I’m tired or hungry. No fight will ever get solved when I’m tired or hungry. Ever.
“Happy Wife, Happy Life”- No, just no. I am not the only one in this relationship. Neither is he.
“Love is Enough”- There are going to be times when you are questioning if loving them is even worth the stress they cause.
“If you’re soulmates, it’ll work out”- There are no such thing as soulmates. #notsorry
I am here to tell you, those people are full of shit. Again #notsorry.
Here is my advice:
Make your spouse and relationship a priority. Your kids will leave your house. Your friends will be busy. Your dog will die. But if you take care of your relationship and make them a priority? They will stick around.
Every day, love your spouse more than they love you. It doesn’t matter if they are speaking your love language. It doesn’t matter who actually loves who more. But if you are doing every single thing that you can do to love them, nothing else matters. Especially when they are doing the same for you.
Realistic expectations. Unmet expectations are the number one relationship killer. Period. If you expect them to love you more than you love them, and they don’t, what happens? If you expect them to buy you expensive jewelry all the time and they don’t, what happens? You get hurt. But if you have realistic expectations you will be much happier. For example, I know that Jared is going to clean the kitchen after dinner, when I’m at work. That is my expectation. My unmet expectation is that he is going to clean it the way I want it cleaned. To be completely honest, that expectation goes unmet with myself too.
Communicate with your partner! This is the other half of realistic expectations. If you don’t communicate with your partner about ALL of the things that are bothering you, good luck. But if you can communicate with them like a normal human being without starting a fight? You’ll be fine. Jared knows when I’m pissed because I tell him. He knows when I’m happy, because I tell him. He knows what I want, why? Say it with me! BECAUSE I TELL HIM!
Is it worth it? This is the key piece of advice that I give every single couple. Especially the young ones. It is the very last one for a reason. When you’re young, you will fight about everything. Every. Single. Thing. Becomes an argument. But I want you to stop, and really think about what you’re fighting about. Is it worth your relationship? Is being right, worth whatever it is that you are fighting about? Because if it’s not, let it go. In almost 20 years of being together, and 15 of marriage, I have yet to find an argument that has been worth my marriage.
Jared and I had been married a whopping two years and he was deployed to Iraq. We got to talk a lot which in hindsight was probably a problem. We were looking at house plans and he got mad at me because I didn’t want to share a bathroom sink with him…. Yes, you read that right. We had a three day fight over a bathroom sink…. In an imaginary house. The irony is that both houses we bought? The master only has one sink.
But let me tell you, this man has my whole heart. I walked into loving him eyes wide open. I make the commitment every day to love him more than he loves me. That is what I worry about. I don’t worry about whether he loves me more, because he shows it. I don’t worry about letting things go because I stop myself before it becomes a big deal and talk to him. So before you go into a relationship remember one thing, you can only control you. So you need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make the relationship work. Don’t let them walk over you, but also remember, you aren’t always right.
So for all the young couples out there, do yourself a favor. Don’t search for your soulmate. Find someone who treats you like a queen and work every single day to earn it.
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