10 Things I’ve Learned In 10 Years Of Marriage



On the first day of spring this year, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. And boy did we celebrate in style, he was exhausted after working a hectic week and I was laid low with a throat infection. We had homemade pumpkin soup for dinner as it was one, a Friday and two, the only thing I could eat.

And yet, despite this anniversary fail, we still celebrated. Why? Because getting to ten years of marriage is fairly abnormal in this day and age. After a decade we even, shock and horror, enjoy each other’s company.

Reflecting on this milestone I realised that we had learned a few things over the years, some the hard way, that might be of value to others whether they’re married, engaged or discerning their vocation.

1. Humour and humility go hand in hand – I never thought I’d say that having a husband who teased you was good for your humility but it is. Being able to see the lighter side of life helps diffuse tension and can often be a kinder way of dealing with issues that need to be resolved. An excess of comedy helps evaluate the exaggerations we might have in other areas of life.

2. Marriage is not work, but it requires effort – Marriage is not a job, nor should it be viewed or referred to as such (“my wife is hard work!”). Marriage is a vocation that requires effort. Consistent, selfless actions even when we can’t be bothered. Putting some one else’s good ahead of our own requires a concerted effort.

3. Putting your spouse before your children is easy in theory and harder in practice – especially when they’re small and demanding. As a mother, you wear your heart on your sleeve when it comes to your kids and sometimes, hubby’s needs are thrust into the background. Remember that he comes first.

4. Real love is an act of surrender – no one exemplifies this better than Jesus whose act of surrender is the very means of our salvation. Each of us is called to follow His lead and lay down our lives for each other. This means waving a white flag over our wants and desires for the good of the other.

5. Being open to life is exhausting but ultimately rewarding – in ten years of marriage we’ve been blessed with five kids. Like other families our size (and with children spaced 2years or less apart) we are a chaotic mess at times. But we would gladly trade the nice furniture, the worldly acceptance, for the children that crown our marriage. The world’s treasure is fool’s gold; our children are the pearl of great price.

6. Marriage requires loyalty in thought and deed – there are so many ways to undermine our marriages and sometimes we don’t realise that we’re doing it. Perhaps it is the complaints to our friends about our spouse’s glaring faults or the jealousy we feel when we hear other wives outlining the merits of their husbands. It might even be the wishing our spouse was more like someone else – our ideal of what they should be. Yes, our hubby has faults, just as we do. Together we should be encouraging and striving towards the better in each of us,15 not undermining or undervaluing the other.

7. There’s no one size fits all approach to marriage – we are all different in temperament, taste, love language and so forth. Advice that may work for one couple in a particular situation won’t work for the next couple. Coming to a greater understanding of each other on a deeper level will ultimately strengthen your marriage.

8. The more love requires effort the more you truly love your spouse – it’s easy to love each other when you feel like it. But we don’t always feel ‘in love’ with our spouse. Exerting effort to love our spouse, putting their good ahead of our own, when we don’t feel like it shows the depth of our love and means we’re on the right track.

9. Personal growth is not possible without spiritual – there’s a whole industry based around self-help and being the best we can be. And while these books may contain some practical help or guidance, we are not likely to make great strides unless we’re making them in partnership with God. If we want to help our spouse, and ourselves, we need to make sure that we don’t neglect this vital area. Growth within marriage is not possible if we don’t have our eyes fixed firmly on Christ.

10. Time as a couple is imperative – this is vital. Amidst the busyness of marriage and family this can be overlooked. Make the time, take the time, to spend time together, to pray together. Strengthen your relationship in this way at every opportunity.


Perhaps you can contribute some things you’ve learned along the way too? Comment below, we’d love to hear them!


Filed Under: Family LifeFeaturedMarriage

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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  1. Eartha Sobolewski says:

    Very wise words Emily, thank you! I think you covered everything really well. A couple of things I’ve learned along the way are a) Don’t sweat the small stuff and b) if there is something significant to discuss with your spouse, to talk things through in a loving way- not to be harsh, but also to not be constantly quiet in order “to keep the peace” (as more likely than not there will not be peace inside the “peacemaker”!) If this is difficult at first, praying and asking for the Holy Spirit to help you find the right words, and to help solve the issue peacefully may be helpful. Also, it gets easier with time and practice.

    • Emily Shaw says:

      Thanks Eartha! Absolutely, and I’d add that being open to the direction of the Holy Spirit and to learning from our mistakes as couples in all areas. We’re supposed to be helping each other get to Heaven so humility is key. God’s Will not ours…

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