Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

It’s true. Ritch and I got married 10 years ago today.

You know how often times people say they can’t believe a certain amount of time has passed, and it feels like “only yesterday” an event took place. Well that is definitely not how I feel about the last ten years of life.

We were actually talking about that a couple months ago. If someone were to tell us, OOPS, actually you’ve been married 15 years, or 20 even we’d both say…yep. That sounds about right! So much has happened over the last ten years {we’ve had four kids, moved across the country, planted a church etc. etc.} that I can honestly say it definitely feels like we’ve been married for at least  a decade.

I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. I just mean that we have lived a lot of life over the last 10 years, and I’m glad we got to do it together.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

That being said, I thought it would be fun to share a few things I’ve learned about marriage after being with my main man for this long and being through all that we have together. Because I really believe our culture gives an unrealistic picture of what marriage really is like.

All the romantic comedies you see end with the wedding. But the reality is that  the wedding is just the beginning of your lives together. The movies don’t show what happens when you get in your first fight, when money is tight, when one of you gets sick, when you have to navigate all the trials that life throws your way.

Nope, we just see the bride in her white dress and the groom in his perfectly pressed tux kiss each other and presumably go on to live happily ever after. However we all know life doesn’t just stop after you say “I do.”

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

You all know that I absolutely adore my husband. Ritch is the best man I know. He selflessly and sacrificially loves and serves me and our family and doesn’t even bat an eye. He has loved me through the good times and the bad and has eyes for no one else. But, it hasn’t always been easy. We have had some very rough times, and if it weren’t for our faith and commitment to each other we likely would’ve called it quits before our first year was over. But we’ve made it 10 years by the grace of God, and are hopeful He’ll give us 50 more!

So, here are some of the things I’ve learned about marriage that are counter-cultural. Things that society won’t tell you, but are of the utmost importance for a joyful marriage that lasts.

#1) Your marriage isn’t an island. 

We need other people to help us on our journey. I got married when I was 21. I knew nothing and still know very little. I am in no way, shape or form a marriage expert. I learn more about being married every day and am growing and changing to better love my husband all the time. I am not a perfect wife and he is not a perfect husband, and we never will be. All we can hope for is that we love each other a little better with each passing year.

For this reason, it’s important to be open to soaking in the wisdom of couples who are further along in their journey. We have given some of our most trusted, more experienced friends carte blanche to tell us if they notice something in our relationship that could {and should} be changed. Our marriage isn’t an island, and we need others to help us cultivate and grow our relationship.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

#2) My husband’s primary job isn’t to make me happy. 

What we believe the purpose of marriage is will determine the trajectory of our lives together. Is your spouse’s primary role in life to make you happy? To fulfill a hole in your heart? To “complete” you? If you answered yes than the outlook is grim. What happens when he makes you sad? When you don’t feel fulfilled? {Because I guarantee it will happen}. One of the thoughts that has most profoundly impacted my marriage  is this…

What if God designed marriage to make you holy, more than to make you happy? 

When I first read that my mind was blown. I thought getting married was the ultimate way to find happiness {thanks to every romantic movie and princess story ever written}. Boy was I wrong! The thought that marriage was designed for my sanctification has shaped my relationship with Ritch and transformed my thinking. No longer do I expect Ritch to “complete” me. No longer do I put the burden of my happiness on his shoulders. He is not my savior.

Now the coolest part about this is that when we seek to glorify God, serve each other, and let ourselves be changed from the inside out we become happier! When we stop focusing on ourselves and choose to care more about our husband’s happiness than our own, we are more joyful.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

#3) Your spouse will not be “the person you married” 10 years later.

How many times have I heard the line, “He/she isn’t the person I married.” Darn right they aren’t. And that is absolutely no reason to throw in the towel. People should change. In some areas we become more sanctified, more loving, more like the spouse our husband needs. But in some areas we regress.

There have been seasons in my marriage where I have not been the person Ritch married and not in a good way. Most notably the year after we had Naomi, I didn’t even know who I was based on some of my thoughts, feelings and actions. But my husband didn’t give up on me.  I was less patient, less loving and less sanctified during that time than I ever had been in my post-salvation life. But he never threw in the towel. He never stoped loving me {even when I was utterly unloveable}.

No, he never quit. Instead, he bore my burdens. He held me in his arms. He prayed for me. He waited patiently for God to work on my heart. He loved me through it all and we came out stronger and more unified than ever. And I am eternally grateful he didn’t listen to the lies our culture spews out. “She isn’t as good as she was so you can go find someone better.”

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

#4) Your spouse is “the one” because you are married to him.

Another cultural idea that pervades our thoughts on love and relationships is that there is an etherial “one” person out there for you. Only person on the planet exists who is your soul mate. The culture tells us that if your current spouse isn’t meeting your expectations of him, then he must not be the one and it’s time to ditch him and keep searching.

I don’t buy it. Ritch isn’t the one because he’s the only one I could’ve married, created just for me to meet my every need. No. Ritch is the one because God told me to marry him and stay married to him. Of course I love him. Of course I feel like he was hand-picked by the Lord just for me. I absolutely couldn’t imagine my life without him or with anyone else. BUT it’s not because I couldn’t have had that with another person. It’s because he IS my husband.

When times get hard I don’t fantasize about my long-lost real soul mate who must be roaming the earth waiting for me to find him. Nope. Ritch is my one and only as long as we both live on this earth, in the good times and the bad.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

#5) Love is a choice not a feeling.

Oh how many times I’ve heard that someone just “fell out of love” with their spouse. But let me tell you something you might not like to hear…you can only “fall out of love” if you let yourself. Despite what the culture says, you are in control of your feelings.

We make the choice to love, even when someone is acting unlovable. It’s up to you and me to stay in love with our husbands. Of course he can do things that make it easier or harder, but ladies we need to pursue our husbands with the same love that we expect them to pursue us. Do not believe the lie that “falling out of love” is a reason to end a marriage. Choose to love. Choose to be selfless. Choose your husband over everyone else and watch your marriage thrive.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

#6) Date your husband!!!

Don’t stop dating each other. Ever. There is nothing I love more than date nights with Ritch. Sneaking away for a couple hours of uninterrupted conversation is literally my favorite way to spend an evening. However, date night wouldn’t happen as frequently around here if I didn’t plan it…and that’s ok. Ritch doesn’t love me any less because scheduling and planning dates isn’t his forte. But instead of letting months go by and getting bitter that he’s not reading my mind and whisking me off on a romantic evening, I do one of two things.

1) I just plan a date and tell him when it is. He’s always glad I did and gushes about how much he loves dating me.

2) I kindly {<- most of the time} communicate to him and ask him nicely {<- hopefully} to plan a date because I need to feel  like a priority. He always jumps to and finds a babysitter and sets it up!

Especially when you have kids, making date night a regular thing gets harder and harder. But alone time with our spouses is not something we can afford ot neglect. The best way to love your children is to love each other well. So please, go schedule a date with your man today!

#7) Marriage is the best 

Even with it’s challenges marriage is my favorite. I love that I get to do life with my best friend. I have someone who loves me unconditionally and who will always be by my side. We laugh together, we cry together, we pull our hair out when we don’t know what to do with our crazy kids…together.

I really couldn’t imagine my life without Ritch in it, and I never want to {ever}. Lets commit together to loving our spouse and rejecting the lies our culture tells us.

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

If you want to stay connected or you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

Instagram: @joyfoodsunshine

Pinterest: JoyFoodSunshine

Facebook: JoyFoodSunsine

Twitter: @joyfoodsunshine

Pin for later:

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse. JoyFoodSunshine

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through a link you clicked on here, I receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for supporting JoyFoodSunshine! 

Lessons I have learned after 10 years of marriage that will help cultivate a joyful and lasting relationship with your spouse.  JoyFoodSunshine