Two years ago today, Rob and I were saying our vows in front of nearly 200 family members and friends. I choked back tears and squeezed Rob’s hand as we stood at the south end of the Chicago History Museum, making the biggest promises of our lives. As nervous as I was, I remember feeling a sudden sense of calm when we turned, faced each other and held hands. I didn’t feel like crying anymore—I couldn’t stop smiling.
The happiness I felt in that moment was overwhelming and before I knew it, the reverend had announced us man and wife, and the party began.
When I look back on that day, I remember how I felt on our wedding day—thinking about how amazing it was to be so in love with the man I was about to marry. I felt like I loved him more in that moment than I ever had. What I didn’t know or expect was that I would continue to fall more and more in love with Rob over the next two years. Being married has truly changed my understanding of love.
I feel so blessed to have such an amazing relationship with Rob, but we’re not perfect. We occasionally hurt each others feelings (usually unintentionally), make each other mad and disappoint one another. It happens to every couple, we’re only human, after all.
Even though we’re not perfect, on a daily basis, we do our best to show each other how much we care. It can mean an extra hug before work, a kiss on the cheek while I’m making brunch on the weekend, a specially prepared dinner at home (because I know Rob loves my cooking) or volunteering to run errands or walk the dog while the other is busy.
I realize that two years of marriage doesn’t make me an expert or anything, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a good partner and to build a strong, meaningful and happy marriage.
Here are a few of my love lessons…
Once you’re married, it’s no longer just about you. Both of us have had to compromise on certain things to find a balance in our relationship, and to make sure both sides feel equally valued and heard.
2. You’re On the Same Team
I’m thankful that neither Rob or I have ever been ones to fight. I hate arguing, I hate conflict and so when we do disagree on something, we’ve always been able to talk through it without spewing mean, hateful words at each other. It’s not about outdoing or one-upping the other, but instead, it’s about working in tandem for the greater good of your relationship.
3. Say “I Love You” Often
Rob and I dated for several years before saying “I love you”. It wasn’t because we didn’t feel that way, but because for both us, those words hold so much meaning and seriousness that we didn’t want to throw them out too soon. Telling someone you love them makes you vulnerable too—what if they don’t say it back?!
Now, the words, “I love you,” are some of my favorite words to hear because I know just meaningful they are.
4. Hug Frequently
If your love language is physical touch, this one is especially important! Even if it’s not your love language, physical touch is essential in any relationship. Yes, even through just a hug. When you hug, a chemical is released which creates a feeling of being bonded to each other. For me, that’s the perfect excuse to hug in the morning before work, again when Rob gets home, before bed, and randomly throughout the day!
5. Ask for Help
I’m not always good at this one. The independent girl boss inside me thinks she can do everything on her own and hates asking for help, but I’ve learned that asking for help is sometimes the best thing I can do. It not only takes some pressure and stress away from me, but learning to ask for help and being willing to help, has been key in making our marriage a peaceful one. If one person feels like they’re doing everything, toxic feelings and emotions are bound to follow.
6. Remember, You’re Not Always Right
I used to hate admitting I was wrong, but you know what? There’s something really freeing about saying, “You know what, you’re right. I was wrong.” It’s a lot easier than arguing, that’s for damn sure! I know that for us, it’s created a stronger and more trustworthy relationship because both of us is willing to admit we’re wrong, ask for forgiveness and know that the other won’t judge.
7. Learn to Forgive
This one is major. Marriage isn’t always easy, and feelings will get hurt along the way. Learning to forgive and learning to accept forgiveness are crucial to building a strong bond between your partner. Holding grudges and being angry might feel good for a while, but what purpose does it really serve? Letting things go, even painful things, can be really healing in marriage, or any relationship. If you can’t learn to do those two things, chances are you won’t end up very happy.
8. Talk About Everything
Your worries, concerns, dreams, goals, feelings, health, bank accounts, etc. Talk about all of it, and more! I struggled with this a lot when we first got married, but putting these things out there reminds me that I can trust Rob with anything, which makes me feel safe and secure. I can be totally vulnerable around him and that trust strengthens our relationship hugely.
I’ve learned plenty more, but these have definitely stood out to me the most over the past two years. So on that note, happy anniversary Rob! I can’t wait to celebrate with you tonight over a home-cooked meal and fancy wine. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our life together holds!
What lessons have you learned from your relationships or your marriage? Has your understanding of love shifted throughout your relationship?