What 15 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me…Just a few things we’ve learned over the years…By Eric & Tracy Robbins
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6 (NIV)
Eric and I just recently celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary. I thought it might be fun to share what 15 years of marriage has taught me. So I invited Eric to write this post with me to share some of the things we’ve learned over the years. Some things are fun, and some are serious.
One of the first things that 15 years of marriage has taught me is that when you’ve been married this long and have gone through a lot together, you’ll do some crazy stuff! In honor of our anniversary we decided to celebrate by getting “ring tattoos”. A friend of mine said, “Pain to symbolize the pain of 15 years?” 🙂 Like many marriages, we really have had our fair share of pain though. I’d do it all over again, pain and all–that’s how much I love this man!
What 15 years of marriage has taught me – Eric:
- That you shouldn’t joke or say things facetiously that are negative to your spouse.
- That when your wife knows she’s right, you probably shouldn’t bet against her…be it music artists, a certain date or a sitcom theme song from the ‘80s. 🙂
- That when you’re at a restaurant and you order something that looks good, your wife will want a bite.
- That when you have a nice sweatshirt that’s comfortable, your wife is going to want to wear it.
- That it’s very beneficial to identify your wife’s love language and use it. This will only work to your benefit—showing them love in their love language, not just your own. (see this post here)
- That when your wife is tired, hungry or hormonal, you should just back off and give her some space. And definitely don’t say anything about why you think she might be so cranky.
- That sports aren’t the most important thing in life. (Tracy just said, “Yeah, apparently you have to have time for hunting and fishing too!”) After watching football on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Thursday, maybe you shouldn’t watch the World Championships of Curling on Friday…might be best just to let that one go.
- That when your wife says, “I don’t care”, it really means, “no”.
What 15 years of marriage has taught me – Tracy:
- That you shouldn’t try to talk to your husband when sports are on TV. You could say that you’re pregnant with a baby dinosaur, and he’ll just nod and say “OK, hon.” Make him PAUSE it! Along the same lines…I’ve also learned that men apparently think the people playing sports on TV can hear them yelling at them. For instance, I often hear him shout at the TV something like “What were you thinking?! That was a terrible play call!” I usually follow that up with “You know they can’t hear you, right?”
- I’ve learned to pick my fights. The clothes on the floor just don’t seem that big of a deal compared to the purchase of a $20,000 motorcycle!
- I’ve learned how to tattle-tale on my husband to God—it’s much more effective than griping or nagging. I just go tell on him to my “dad”. 🙂
- Not to hold unrealistic expectations. Watching too many romance movies or reading romance novels tended to jade my view of what “he should do if he really loved me”. Kind of along the same lines, I’ve learned not to expect him to be able to read my mind. I remember buying into the same lie… “If he really loved me and knew me he would know without me saying.” What a crock! Things seem to go a lot smoother when I just tell him what I want or what I’m expecting. I’ve also found it beneficial that when things didn’t go the way I expected to say something like, “Here’s how I wish things would have gone…” or “Here’s what I would have preferred you to say instead…” or “Here’s how I saw this going in my mind…”
- What it means to submit to and honor your husband. This is definitely still a work in progress! I love the Amplified version of these 2 verses:
“… and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].” Ephesians 5:33 (AMP)
“When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him–to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].” 1 Peter 3:2 (AMP)
- To always persevere and never give up, regardless of what the current situation looks like. God is bigger than anything that I could ever go through, and He can turn any situation around.
- To give grace (actually to pray to HAVE grace so I could handle difficult times). To me there are several definitions of grace. This kind of grace is being able to endure things I wouldn’t normally be able to endure or put up with.
- That you shouldn’t throw your husband’s golf club if you get mad when you’re using it. He might say a few choice words and/or potentially call you a bad name! On a positive note though…you may get your very own set of golf clubs after that! 🙂
What 15 years of marriage has taught
me us- Eric & Tracy BOTH:
- We’ve learned to be a “united front”, both with our kids and other people. We are a team, and we always need to be on the same page.
- We’ve learned that it’s good, not selfish, to have occasional time away for refreshing. It’s good for the individual AND good for the marriage. For example, Eric takes hunting or fishing trips with trustworthy and responsible friends, and Tracy visits friends out-of-state or has girls’ weekends.
- We’ve learned not to butt into other people’s business (relative, friend, etc.). We heard a saying not too long ago that we loved…”Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” That pretty much sums it up. Tracy’s dad has always given the advice “If you’re not part of the problem or part of the solution, then stay out of it.” We think that’s good advice. Unfortunately, we’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of unsolicited advice from both family and friends. We know people mean well, but at the same time it’s extremely annoying and sometimes damages the relationship. Because of this we have tried not to be “those people.”
- We’ve learned to seek help/counsel when you need it. Asking for help does NOT mean that you are a failure.
- We’ve learned the art of forgiveness—both the giving and receiving of it. Nobody is perfect, and we will all need forgiveness at some point.
- Lastly, we’ve learned this past week that talking about what you’ve learned can stir up a lot of emotions and even cause some “tension”! 🙂
Take Some Practical Steps:
- Take inventory of what you’ve learned in your own relationships (just be prepared if you have a discussion about this–sometimes it can get heated!).
- Remember the things that God has done and has brought you through. This will help you through future times. When you remember where you’ve come from, you know what you’ll be able to get through. You’ll be able to say, “God helped us through that; He’ll get us through this too.” (See Deuteronomy 5:15, Deuteronomy 6:12, Deuteronomy 8:2, 1 Samuel 12:24, 1 Chronicles 16:12, Psalm 77:11, Psalm 105:5, and Isaiah 46:9)
- Pay it forward…share what you’ve learned. Help and mentor others. Any marriage veterans out there? I almost always welcome advice and wisdom of those who have more experience. I love visiting with older couples who have been married for a long time. I feel like a sponge just soaking up their wisdom!
What have you learned in/from your marriage? Some of you have had to deal with the unfortunate heartbreak of divorce…What are some things you learned from that experience? Leave a comment below (or click on the post link to join the conversation if you’re viewing through e-mail).
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If you have benefited from this post or if you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward and share this post with them via the sharing links below! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)