10 Things I Learned in the Fifth Year of Marriage
As I type this, I’m in our hotel bed in Maui as we look out at the ocean. And when I say look out at the ocean, I mean Brian is watching The Masters on his phone. I’m sure Brian was slightly bummed that our anniversary trip fell on the same week as the Masters. Does he love golf more than me? Maybe. But I also love food more than him, so we’re even. This post is a post I share every year on the blog on our anniversary. I talk through 10 things I’ve learned throughout that year – some are emotional and some are extremely small lessons I’ve taken away. Either way, I can honestly say that our relationship is the strongest it’s ever been. We had some rough years during different transitions of our lives, but we are both at a point where we find ourselves happy and content most days, and that’s pretty freaking cool to (finally) both be there. I respect Brian so damn much and I’m so proud to see how much he has grown and evolved through our time together, and I can’t wait to see what he’s like in another 5 years. Hopefully some of the lessons I’ve learned help you in your own relationship growth. If not, I hope you enjoy the relationship creeping. I know I love reading this kind of shit, so I hope you do, too!
- Check your tone. As I get older and the longer I’ve been in a relationship with Brian, the less I have interest in fighting. And let me be clear, we have arguments all the time and get annoyed with each other weekly. But I don’t find myself getting extremely angry or upset like I did when I was younger. And I think this comes back to me and the work I’ve done with myself. Anger, screaming, and making a scene doesn’t solve the issue, it normally just makes it worse. These days I take a deeper look at myself and why I’m truly upset (is it something he did or is it actually about frustration I feel towards myself) and then I take a breath instead of saying something I don’t need to say. No need for screaming, no need for being condescending – just communicate like an adult.
- Becoming optimistic. Depending on what you’re going through, it’s pretty easy to only see the negatives in a relationship – they never take the trash out, or clean the toilet, or change the lightbulbs – and those nevers tend to take over someone’s brain. But when you start concentrating on what your partner DOES do, everything can change in a positive direction. Do they get you water without asking? Do they fold your laundry? Do they tell you you’re beautiful out of the blue? Changing a pessimistic outlook into an optimistic one not only can help with life in many ways, but it can also transfer over into your relationships, as well.
- Communicate. If you’re still expecting your partner to know what you need or know what you’re thinking, you’re setting the relationship up for failure. If you need something, ASK. If you want something done, ASK. If you’re frustrated with something they’re doing, TALK ABOUT IT. Constant open communication and discussion is so incredibly important and will mature and development the relationship in so many ways. I used to feel frustrated when Brian didn’t do something and I would let it boil up in me until I exploded. Now (most of the time) I simply ask him to do something and sometimes even explain to him why I feel frustrated about having to ask it in the first place. The more we talk through that annoying type of shit, the less we deal with it in the future and the happier we are!
- Money is stressful. We took some big leaps with money this year, throwing a ton at Brian’s new business, and that was really stressful for both of us. I was giving up years of income from my business and Brian was using it to build a business that he really didn’t know if it would survive or not. It was a stressful situation for both of us and we both still don’t know how it will work out. But we communicated (see #3), talked through our hesitations, and figured out the best plan for us. Money is stressful and taking chances is scary, but when you talk openly about these kinds of things and know you’re in it together, it really eases some of the stress.
- Support. Brian went through a huge transition in his life this past year. He quit his job two years ago without knowing what direction he was going to go, so he just started trying different things throughout the past two years. And even if I didn’t think it was the best option for him, I supported him. When he fell, I supported him. Then when he was down and couldn’t drag himself out of it, I supported him. I stood by with support every step of the way, I challenged him when I knew he need it, and I’m seeing him blossom into a new person because of it. That support has gone so far for him and I hope that he can do the same for me when I go through something similar in the future.
- Just let go. I’ve always been a very regimented person who prefers having control over all situations and it’s hard for me to let go of that. But this past year, I decided I really needed to work on this and start letting go more since the universe often has its own plan. I even had a spiritual reading where she told me my spirits were telling me to let go and have more fun. So I’ve started saying yes to more things and going with the flow more, and I think it’s been really good for our relationship. Brian doesn’t feel as stressed about how I’m doing in certain situations and I’ve had more fun. It’s a real win-win!
- Just do it. This really goes against the whole communicate thing, but I’m going to say it’s anyways – sometimes it’s just better to do something vs asking your partner about it. I used to ask for Brian’s opinion on everything, like the chairs I chose for the dining room or the fake plant I wanted for our countertop, etc. etc. etc. But the thing is, Brian wouldn’t even notice most of those things if I hadn’t had asked him about them in the first place. And not asking him would have saved both of us a lot of time. So these days I just decide certain things on my own instead of asking him. He doesn’t notice these changes and I’m happy. It’s another win-win that he knows nothing about! This definitely won’t work for everyone, but it does for us!
- Separation. I never thought much about this until this year when I had a handful of people ask about it on instagram stories – Brian and I keep our accounts separate. We share credit cards, we are still on each other’s bank accounts, but we mostly do our own thing when it comes to money. He buys golf stuff from his account, I buy skincare products and hair appointments on mine. When we need to bring funds together, like when Brian started his business, we do. But for everything else, we have separate accounts and we like it that way! I bring this up because I know some people feel a little lost with what to do with money when they enter a relationship, but I’ve found in 5 years of marriage that keeping our money separate, for the most part, works great for us!
- Explore. Brian and I both hate the cold…we are in Maui at the moment for a reason. So living in Colorado can be a drag come winter. In just the few shorts months of 2021, we’ve been able to explore a good amount and it gave us the idea of exploring more spots around the US, not just for vacation, but for a spot we may want to move to sometime. We’ve talked about finding spots in the US where we can rent a house for 6 weeks or so to help us really get to know the city. This isn’t a huge learning lesson for us, but I’ve learned that we are both open to the idea of living somewhere else someday, somewhere WARM year round. Will we stay there forever? Probably not. But we love the idea of trying someplace new and we are excited to both be on the same page when it comes to where we live!
- The children topic. Every year I check in with Brian to see how he’s feeling about kids. When we first started dating, I told him that if he definitely saw himself having kids, I probably wasn’t the woman for him. Well now we are 9 years into our relationship (23 vs 32) and I’m feeling slightly more interested in children. And when I say children, I mean child. As I’ve gotten older and a bit more spiritual, I see the world a bit different. Instead of seeing the world as this depressing, scary place like I once did, I now see life as extremely beautiful. And to be able to give the gift of life to another person, where they get to decide what mark they put on it…well, I guess I just find that really beautiful. To think that I could put someone on this earth that could change the world for the better…that’s pretty magical. So we are open to it! If the universe has that plan for us, awesome. If not, that’s cool, too. I know we will have a fulfilling and wonderful life either way!
Cheers to another year of marriage! 2020 was rough for everyone, but luckily I think it brought us even closer. Can’t wait to see what our next 5 years looks like! I have a feeling it’s about to get REAL good.
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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