Three whole years of marriage. My how time flies right?
On Tuesday Charlie and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary…and I don’t think either of us could have predicted what a wild ride these three years would be.
In three years I have been a civilian wife, a National Guard wife, and an Army wife. We have lived in four houses in two states. We added a son. We lost a dog and adopted another.
There have been some really high highs and some pretty low lows.
And we have loved. More importantly – we have learned to love better. That’s what matters right? The bad things aren’t quite so bad when you learn something.
So maybe this will become an annual thing, or maybe I will forget by our fourth anniversary…but I am going to share three things I have learned in three years of marriage. Because my anniversary means I get to be a little self indulgent and pretend to be an expert right?
1. Choose love
This might seem like a no-brainer. Or at least on the easy days it does. But every relationship will have its ups and downs. There will be challenges. Some challenges may feel like they will be the end of the relationship. The important thing to remember is to choose love. The wedding is the fun part- marriage takes work. You have to choose your spouse every single day. When you are angry or frustrated or scared, remember that you love that person. You chose them and made a commitment to love them forever. When you struggle, remind yourself of that love. The thing is, relationships don’t just happen. Love doesn’t just happen. It takes work. Make a conscious effort to choose love every single day and you will be amazed at how changing your perspective can change your life.
2. Go with the flow
When Charlie and I got married I had no intention of being an Army wife. I don’t think he had any intentions of going back to the Army either. But here we are.
Life throws curve-balls. (I really shouldn’t use baseball metaphors because I don’t know much about baseball…but it seems fitting because most of the time I don’t think I know all that much about life either.) That’s just how it works. You think you know which way it is headed, you prepare, then at the last minute you are swinging at empty air and the ball (aka life) is hightailing it off in an unexpected direction. (Ok my baseball metaphor turned out better than expected right?)
You can fight it. I know I tried before. But fighting with life usually turns into fighting with your spouse. Which is obviously not something you want. So go with it. Some things are worth fighting for, but when life goes a little crazy, roll with the punches. If you are a military spouse this is especially true. Your spouse is going to come home with more bad/unexpected news than you ever wanted to hear. You can hold it against them and feel resentful for their career being the reason for the constant upheaval…or you can learn to roll with it. That doesn’t mean you have to love every duty station. It means you have to accept that there are things you and your spouse can’t control. But if you work together you will get through the tough stuff and come out stronger.
3. You have nothing without trust
Trust your spouse. Every relationship looks different, but I am 110% convinced that unfailing trust in your spouse must be the foundation for every single one. If you spend your entire relationship doubting that your spouse is trustworthy, you are going to bring so much unnecessary stress into your relationship. And marriage worth having is built on a foundation of trust. I see so many military spouses asking questions in Facebook groups about whether or not their significant other is more likely to cheat during a separation or deployment. I think the deployed/separated service members have the same question about the spouse at home equally as often.
I cannot imagine how exhausting that must be. If your spouse is trustworthy they will not cheat no matter the circumstances. I can honestly say that fear of cheating has never once crossed my mind because I trust my husband beyond the shadow of a doubt. Because that is what our marriage is built on.
If you cannot trust your spouse, you need to work on your relationship at the deepest level because it cannot grow into a truly strong and healthy relationship without that foundation of trust.
Alright. I can stop lecturing now. I am obviously not perfect and my marriage isn’t either. But after three years I have learned a thing or two (three to be exact lmao) and I hope sharing the things I have learned might help someone else. Because marriage takes work. It is amazing and I would not trade it for the world. These past three years have been a crazy, wild ride that I would not trade for the world. But it takes work.