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10 Things I Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

Holy crap! It’s the eve of my 10th wedding anniversary. Woah 10 years. Shortly after we got married , we moved from France to NYC to start a new life. My husband left a job in Paris to come to the unknown in NYC. Thankfully he landed a job before it all got crazy in 2008.

 We were in our mid 20s (and my husband would probably like you to know that he is almost two whole years younger than me) and thought we could do anything.
 
And here we are, 10 years later, many jobs, blogs, two babies and a house later.
10 years of marriage
 
Marriage is a living entity. It is never finished. It is a constant work in progress. Every day you wake up and work on your marriage. I don’t claim to know all the answers (who does? If they say they do they are probably lying!)
 
I’m just sharing what I’ve learned, maybe it will resonate with some of you.

 

10 Things I learned in 10 Years of Marriage

 
  1. Marry someone whom you’re not afraid to be yourself around. My husband and I were friends before we started dating. So, by time we started dating, we knew a lot about each other. My husband had seen me in my most natural state: glasses, no makeup.  I was naturally comfortable with him. I can be vulnerable around him, he knows all my flaws and loves me anyway.
  2. Sometimes it is OK to go to bed angry. I’ve read the opposite, but for me, I think sometimes you just need the night to cool off. Sometimes things are better the next day.
  3. Lose your pride, and say you’re sorry. If you ask my husband he will tell you, “Diana always wants to be right.” and he’s probably right, I do. But if anything, marriage has taught my sometimes it isn’t about who is right. Sometimes we just need to say we are sorry.
  4. Becoming a parent will be life-changing, and marriage-changing. With my first baby, everything changed, and as a breastfeeding mom I felt the weight of this a lot more than my husband, because he didn’t need to run home every night to feed the baby, for example. Becoming parents changes lives, but it also changes the dynamics of a marriage. I think in my 10 years of marriage, that first year of parenthood was probably one of the hardest ones (if not the hardest). There are many times in parenting that will challenge your marriage… many of those moments will be related to culture, if you’re in a multicultural marriage like I am. Whoever thought that holidays and deciding how Santa Claus brings the presents could pose such a problem in a home?
  5. Listen and try to understand where they are coming from (i.e. put yourself in their shoes). My husband recently became a vegan. So, I’m trying to listen, be open-minded, understand where he is coming from. And this goes for everything. If we don’t stop to think about how our partners feel, then we will never understand their point of view, and we will never truly get it.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help, other for help when you become a parent, but most importantly, and don’t be afraid to get help if your relationship is having difficulties. As I mentioned in my earlier point, the first year of parenthood is hard. It can be make or break for some couples. You’re sleep deprived, more prone to snap at the person who loves you the most and really probably does want to help you, so you snap at them, you say things you probably don’t mean… sometimes you wonder why you’re married. In Latino culture especially, counseling isn’t seen as something that you “do.” But, saying “I do” to counseling can save a marriage. Don’t be afraid of counseling.

  7. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind.
    Many of the issues that happen in a marriage are due to one person’s expectations of the other– and the things that we say in our heads that we don’t say out loud but we think that the other person will magically understand or know. Sure, it may be common sense to me but maybe not to my spouse. You want the person to know what you want? Tell them (nicely).
  8. Gratitude is important. I first learned this from my friend Lorraine Ladish, who in her book,“Reach: From Single Mom on Welfare to Digital Entrepreneur” , talks about how something that helped her while she was going through a hard time was to keep a gratitude diary. In my earlier days of marriage, I remember thinking “Why do I have to thank him for taking out the garbage, or giving the baby a bath, or ____________?” But I now understand that gratitude can go a long way. (It also helps put things in perspective when you’re going through a hard time… you may think “everything sucks” but really, when you have a roof over your head, and food in your fridge and your kids are healthy, all things to be grateful for, then we actually realize our first world problems aren’t that bad).
  9. You can’t get your way all the time. Marriage isn’t about being right all the time, or getting your way. (Now, my husband will read this and will probably tell you I still want to get my way all the time).
  10. Laugh…. and breathe. Breathe before you’re going to say that thing that you know is probably not so nice, breathe before you answer back in a not nice tone (GUILTY, raising my hand!).  And Laugh and believe that you can get through it!

Marriage is about compromise and learning to live together, with all the emotional baggage we bring into the marriage, with our cultural backgrounds, with our preconceived notions about marriage.  All in all, it takes work for a marriage to work, whoever wrote those Happily Ever After stories were just selling little girls lies.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive, I would like to think that I’ve learned more than 10 things in 10 years.
 
Thinking back, I think there are things we don’t do enough of. We don’t go on enough dates. We don’t leave each other cute notes anymore, or we’re each other love letters (yes, we used to do this).
 
Of course, we don’t take enough selfies. (Once we got married my husband was like I’m here why do we need so many pics??)
 
 
 
So, for the next 10 years I’m going to try to do more of that. and more understanding. and definitely laughing. We all need to laugh. and sex, because a very smart person told me once that  “Sex is the glue that holds a marriage together.”
 
Check out our happy day!
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1GBKg8JNg0
 
Tags : marriage
Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a Latina working mom from Astoria, NY, mom to a trilingual four-year old. I blog about motherhood, Latino issues, women's issues, work/life balance, food, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural son!

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