Friday, November 22, 2019

What I've Learned from 5 Years of Marriage

I attempted to write this post without a gazillion cliches but it just can't happen. You've been warned.

5 years of marriage has flown by. Seriously. I look at my husband and see the exact same man I married while also seeing an entirely different version of him. He's grown some white hair and lost a few pounds while I've grown a few humans and gained a few pounds. Life is funny.

When we first got married I wanted to wait at least 5 years before having kids. My thought behind this was to give ourselves time to really get used to being us before growing our family. Plus, I wanted to pay down debt and travel. Well, that plan didn't even come close to happening.

Here is a basic breakdown of our family 5 years into this journey:
Married in 2014
First baby in 2016 (Payton Shirleyanne)
Second baby in 2017 (Maverick Stanley)
Foster teen in 2019
Third baby coming 2020

We have slowly paid down debt and traveled modestly over the years but that hasn't made our marriage what it is today. I don't regret jumping into marriage (Josh and I only dated for 4 months) or having kiddos so quickly. Actually, I think it has been the most amazing and challenging adventure of my life. I know a lot of people have thought we were crazy over the years but here we are, stronger and happier than we were 5 years ago. We disagree. We hurt each other. We get in ruts. We forget we're husband and wife and default to mom and dad. We're not perfect, but we do choose each other every single day.

If you're interested in hearing about what I've learned over the past 5 years, keep reading. Otherwise, just scroll through some of my favorite pictures from our anniversaries.

November 22, 2014 ~ Orange, CA
Our wedding day

1. Love deepens

My love for Josh definitely deepened with the births of Payton and Maverick; however, I am in awe of how much my love has deepened as I've watched parts of him unfold that I didn't even know existed during this fostering process. I feel like my love is somewhere in the very dark and cold and uncharted parts of the ocean. It's exciting. It's invigorating. Now if we only had the time to really channel all these feelings into date nights. Ha! When we first got married I was full of butterflies but now I'm full of the warmest heaviness. It's like I'm living with a heated blanket wrapped around me in the middle of a snowstorm induced power outage.

2015 ~ San Diego, CA
Celebrating one year while 5 months pregnant

2. Marriage is work

Marriage is not a walk in the park. It is hard work. It's the hardest work I've ever done. In order to grow together, we have to intentionally make decisions like talking about the hard stuff after a long day, going on dates when we're really tired, attending therapy both together and separately, prioritizing the needs of the other person (I'm not saying sacrificing your own needs, but sometimes we need to put our spouse first), saying "I'm sorry" quickly and genuinely, listening, being the strength when the other is struggling, living with your arms wide open, etc.

2016 ~ Placentia, CA
Celebrating two years by announcing baby #2

3. Pick your battles
I try to ask whether or not something is really, truly important to me. If the answer is yes, then I move forward with a discussion, but if the answer is no, then I let it go. Or at least I do my best to let it go. If it becomes impossible to let go then I reevaluate how important it is to me. During this process, I remind myself who I know my husband to be: kind, well-intentioned, loving, and imperfect. I also remind myself that he has to do the same thing with me. I'm not an angel.

2017 ~ Orange, CA
Celebrating year 3 by saying our vows at the place we got married

4. Have tickle fights
Sometimes you just have to laugh off all the seriousness of life. Just so we're clear, after two babies, this almost always leads to peeing my pants.

2018 ~ Jacksonville, FL
Celebrating year 4 while visiting my parents & celebrating Thanksgiving a month after my dad's liver transplant

5. It's totally worth it
The work is worth it. I want to tell everyone who gets engaged that marriage is hard work and that is the exact reason to get married. Finding someone you're willing to fight for is a true gift.

White hair (on him) and getting older together is sexy.

We haven't gone on extravagant vacations or bought each other expensive gifts over the years, but we have stayed close to one another. We make time, with the help of family and friends, each year to spend some quality time together and I count it a blessing that we don't feel like we have to escape our lives to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'd love an extravagant vacation to unwind, but I also know we're making intentional choices about how we're living our lives right now.

Mr. Jones, I'm still 120% positive I want to spend my entire life with you. Happy 5 years of marriage!

Marriage is hard work. This is my advice after 5 years of marriage to my junior high crush.

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