August 3, 2002 was the day I married my husband. My marriage is about to become a teenager. In some ways the last 13 years have gone by so quickly. In other ways it seems like a different world. It was before I became a Military wife and when I said I do I didn’t know that would be in my future. The Army was in his past and I thought that was all it would ever be for us.
I know there are a lot of marriage advice posts out there but I wanted to add my own based on 13 years of being married to my husband. I was only 23 when I married him and I am 36 now. We have been through a lot of different situations over the years. Having 3 boys, buying a house, 4 deployments, job changes, getting a dog, moving away from California, living in Germany and now trying to figure out are after active duty Army future.
13 Marriage Tips for 13 Years of Marriage
1. Remember that you are in it together. This is so important during the more stressful parts of your life. Remember you chose each other and you are in thismarriage together.
2. Have your own likes and dislikes. My husband and I have a lot of different likes and dislikes. In some ways we are quite opposite from one another. I think it is good to have your own interests. It is also good to have some things in common as well.
3. Spend time apart. I feel we spent too much time apart, but being without each other sometimes can be a good thing. I have learned more about myself since I have had to be without him at times.
4. Spend time together. Busy lives can make this hard but it is so important. Figure out when you can spend some quality time together and make it a regular thing. This can be a weekly, monthly or even quarterly date.
5. Sometimes the kids will need you more. I know there is advice about not putting your kids first but I see it differently. I don’t think it is about putting them first, at least not for me. It is about remembering that sometimes your kids do need you more than your husband does but that he can’t be ignored either. It can be hard in the early years to balance everything and maybe I see it differently since so much of that baby time was spent with a deployed husband. I didn’t have to work hard to focus on my husband because he wasn’t there.
6. Be honest with each other. If something is upsetting you, let them know. You don’t want to be the type to complain about every little thing but sometimes your spouse doesn’t understand why you could be upset about something and it could be helpful to talk about it.
7. Listen to one another. If your spouse brings up something important, listen to them. You don’t want to just go through life ignoring each other.
8. Invisible trust. We have had to have this during deployments. He has to be able to trust me when he is gone so he can focus on his work. Trust that I will be faithful, that I won’t waste all our money on things we don’t need and that I will be there for him. I also have to trust him in return. I see it as an invisible line connecting us that we just have to believe is there.
9. Keep learning about each other. My husband is almost 40 and he was 25 when I met him. A lot has changed and I still am learning about him. It is good to keep asking those questions and to learn more about your spouse.
10. Don’t let the bad stuff take over. Deployments, moves, money issues, problems with children, etc, all of these can really make life hard for you and your spouse. Don’t let it take over your lives. Remember you are walking through it together.
11. Enjoy those quiet nights. You don’t have to leave the house to have moments together. One of the things we like to do after the kids go to bed is find an interesting movie on Netflix and watch it together. It is something so simple but it bonds us and we don’t have to spend any extra money to do it.
12. Take photos of each other. When we were dating I was always having us take pictures together. Over the years I have tried to keep that up and I so enjoy looking back at them. Even if it feels like we are in a boring or uninteresting part of our lives, it is still nice to have so many couple photos of us.
13. Love each other. I know this one seems obvious but it is the most important. Treat each other like you love each other. Tell each other often that you do. Hold hands and always be there for one another.