After 5 Years of Marriage…We’ve Learned a Few Things

So Bukky and I celebrated our 5th year anniversary in December and we both got some time to reflect on what we have learned after 5 years.

These are some of the most important lessons and realizations that have come out…and are totally worth sharing:

1. God has been faithful. It has been him:

It has been Him all along the way! How do we know?
Many marriages have broken up for far less than we have faced. It’s one thing to operate with wisdom (and that is very important) but what truly matters is the grace of God and functioning in that grace.

2. We love each other…but we don’t always know HOW to love each other:

Many times we realize the love is there but HOW to show it in the way that best communicates it to the other person (at THAT particular time) could sometimes be messy. This is where it becomes very important for each person to be able to express their needs and for those needs to be accepted and understood by the other person.

Sometimes what you think is the best way to love, won’t mean much to the other person. God has to teach you how to love each other in the way that carries the most weight for them

3. You don’t have to do much to spend quality time together:

We realized very early in our marriage that it’s the person you are marrying; not the things you can do, the places you can go, or things you can have with them. We know how to hang out and just chill with each other. In fact, this is probably our favorite thing to do.
Marry your friend and if you didn’t, start working on a friendship.

4. Thank you. I’m Sorry:

Both of these are foundational to marital success. We have learned that if those words easily flow out of our mouths, we save ourselves from emotional turmoil. You should do the same. Say “thank you” all the time and say you’re sorry when you have caused pain. It could make or break your relationship/marriage.
(By the way…you don’t have to wait till you’re in a relationship or married to start doing this. In fact, it’s better if you start learning this well before if you can)

5. Netflixing and Chilling may need calendar help:

Yea….when we first got married, there wasn’t much to distract from this “bonding activity”. However, with a toddler now and so many other areas of our lives competing (and one of us being notorious for falling asleep during movies), we are learning to plan and intentionally make it a priority. Here is the lesson. Don’t assume that everything that is good in marriage will always come naturally as a result of your love. You have to intentionally create and maintain those things if you really want them.

6. My spouse is not my enemy:

We are not each other’s enemy. Rather;

We have a common enemy and that’s who we should be fighting.

Disagreements are bound to happen and have happened but one thing we’ve had to constantly remind each other is that there is an enemy that we should focus our energy on. Through this, we have had to learn the art of fighting together….not “against” each other.
Fighting together is about working through life’s issue as one team in prayer and in oneness of mind.

7. If you don’t own your weakness, you’ll never be open to learning:

We all have weaknesses.

If it is hard for you to own up to weaknesses, then you will find it hard to learn from the person God has put in your life to teach you.

We are each other’s mirror; this is what marriage is all about. It shows you who you truly are, not who you intend to be. So while it is great to know who you want to be, it is important to own your weaknesses as it pertains to who you actually are right now.

8. If you don’t own your strengths, you will never be a source of strength in the relationship:

We realize that God had spent our entire lives before we married, preparing and equipping us for each other. He basically prepared us every step of the way.

Your partner does not have to have the same strengths as you. That is why YOU are there.

You must balance each other and appreciate the strengths you both bring.
If we do not acknowledge or own those strengths, then we rob the relationship of what those strengths are supposed to contribute.

Here is the thing though. We are learning to ACCEPT each other’s strengths.

You can have all the strengths you want. But if you don’t see and accept each other’s strengths, they will get stifled.

9. Overall communication is important…. but we’ve learned that on being a good listener is VERY important:

Listening is not as easy as it sounds. It is not just about sitting there as sounds pass through your ear canal (lol). As a good listener, you have to pay attention to
-How you SAY things (Telling)
-How you HEAR things (Interpretation)
WHEN you say things (Timing)
-How you LOOK when you are receiving (Body language)

10. Have a JOINT mentor(s):

This has been very important (and beneficial) to us. At any given time, there are several people who can call us to give us advice about life and marital issues. People we trust, who are not partial to either one of us. Let me repeat that:

People we trust, who are NOT PARTIAL TO EITHER ONE OF US.

No one can do this marriage thing alone or isolated.

11. Win with the in-laws:

It doesn’t mean the in-laws get to control your marriage or that they have a say in everything you do. Very far from that.
It just means that if you truly love your spouse, you should learn to love the parents that raised that spouse.

They may not like you all that much, and you may not see eye to eye on everything. However, you owe it to yourself and your spouse to continuously try to maintain a good relationship with them. This will yield unspoken dividends.

We are so blessed to have in-laws that genuinely care about us and each other but it’s not always that simple. It’s ok to have to work at it. It always pays off.

12. Keep the fun alive!

Know and stroke the funny bone.
You have to laugh. You have to know how to make your spouse laugh directly (through you) or indirectly (putting them in environments where they can get a good laugh). Know what is considered “fun” for each other and help each other find it.

Don’t take yourselves too seriously!
Be able to make fun of yourself and each other.
Keep things light!

13. Share a passion:

There needs to be at least one thing that you are both passionate about. This is very important. This passion will prevent conflict, resolve conflict, keep the peace, keep you both focused, be a source of calm, provide opportunities for bonding, and countless other benefits.

So that’s it folks! It’s been an amazing ride so far and we can wait for what God has in store for the next five.

We also take this opportunity to pray for you that God will perfect everything that concerns you in this area of your life.

What do you think? Which ones do you think would be easier for you and which ones do you think might be more challenging?
Married? What are some additional lessons you think are important?