10 Things I Learned in the Fifth Year of Marriage

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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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. 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.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


23 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned in the Fifth Year of Marriage”

  1. Happy Anniversary! I love reading these every year. As a newly wed, I think I will do something like this yearly and send it to our wedding email. Maybe I’ll give them to him every year, maybe I’ll make them part of a cool gift on a milestone anniversary. Maybe if we have a child (I’m with you on this) I’ll save them for him/her. Have the best trip!

  2. I always love reading this update from you every year. ALL of what you wrote is true – so much of building a healthy relationship is just about growing up, maturing, and becoming comfortable with who you are as a person vs. who you are as a couple. And I just wanted to tell you that my husband and I were the exact same way on the kid topic as you guys are. We had the conversation every year, and every year we were on the fence. (People thought we were nuts for not knowing THE DAY we got married.) Then one year we decided to give it a shot. Now we have one super cool kid and he’ll be our only by choice. (Again, people think we’re nuts since we’re not having more.) So glad to see that you’re doing what’s best for you, and not for anybody else! 🙂

    1. it’s amazing what a little maturity can do for a relationship! and congratulations!! that’s so awesome! it’s funny how people always want MORE from you – one kid isn’t enough, they need siblings. it’s all about doing what is best for YOU, not everyone else. so glad you found your own happiness!

  3. Love everything about this! My husband and I are the same in several of these points and it helps so much! While neither of us expected or planned for a kid, Fate surprised us last year 😳 I think going with the flow and letting the Universe decide/lead you is so much easier than trying to force something when it may not be right or a good time!

    1. it feels like such a less stressful way to do it. i see so many of my friends struggle with pregnancy and infertility issues and it becomes such an insane stressor for them. i just would prefer to see what happens and know that everything will work out how it’s supposed to! congrats on your surprise!!

  4. Awe!!! I have been following forever! I remember the Brian break up way back, getting back together, the engagement…these posts make me so happy! Proud of how far you have come over the years!

  5. Love these posts every year – our 5th anniversary is April 29 and I remember planning my destination wedding the same time you were. Love seeing how you’ve grown together as a couple and agree on all of these topics. Happy Anniversary! Hope you had a great trip.

  6. People have a lot of expections re: children, so it’s good that you are checking in with each other and deciding what’s right as you grow together. We decided definitely not to have kids and people gave us a hard time for YEARS. We’ve been together over 20 years now (married for 18), and I can honestly say I haven’t regretted it for one second, but we did check in with each other on a regular basis to see if either of us were changing our minds. Nope.

  7. JULI! SO MUCH GROWTH AND MATURITY! Ive always said, 30s are WAY better then 20s and THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY! You think you know yourself when youre in your 20s but glord, you REALLY realize how little you know and you start to realize things about yourself that you never knew, in your 30s, its such a great time of life. I am very impressed.

  8. I love these posts!! Thanks so much for sharing the lessons that you’ve learned throughout your marriage and how your relationship and mindset have evolved. You’re setting a healthy and realistic example of what marriage is — it’s work! As someone who is not married yet, I thank you for sharing these tidbits! <3

  9. I love your viewpoint on having kids!! It’s something I’m slowly coming around to considering and finding the beauty in too.

  10. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary. Worth celebrating and always fun to share with others. Love that you’re both taking risks, open and exploring. How fun!

  11. What a great post! We are going on 27 years of marriage in May and I’m still learning! 😂Have two amazing kids and can definitely say it continues to be an amazing journey! Love your content and humor and positive vibes, and proud member of two of your fitness programs!! Happy Anniversary! 💕

  12. I love these posts! I find myself nodding along to the lessons I’ve learned (usually the hard way) and hitting pause to think about a lesson that I don’t employ.

    This year’s (fervent) nod: separation of money. We have our separate accounts (with the same bank) that we use to pay for our individual crap, and then we have a joint account that we use for paying bills, any joint activities, date nights, etc. I keep a spreadsheet for our bills/spending and update it every month, so we both know how much to transfer to the joint account to cover our costs. I don’t like being told how to spend the money I earn, and I certainly don’t want to get angry over how he spends his. We don’t argue about money, we check in with each other if something unexpected is going on the joint account, and life is good!

    This year’s pause: managing my tone. One of the first things I tell new people is that I have an aggressive personality. Maybe aggressive isn’t the right word, but whatever I’m feeling, talking about, or trying to convey… I feel it with my whole heart and sometimes it comes out with such a strong tone (which is misinterpreted by some people). I blame my German heritage, the fact that I’m a fire sign, and myself for not working on this more within myself. Communicating in my relationship is difficult because of this – especially when I’m trying to explain why I’m frustrated and he’s not getting it (I find myself saying “I wasn’t aggravated at first, but I am now!”) Long story short, this is something that I’m going to sit with, and find a way to better myself. Thank you for the push 🖤

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