Thursday, June 30, 2011

Marriage: 5 Years, 5 Lessons

The honeymoon is over and reality is on. If you look at the scary divorce stats, you know the first 5 years of marriage are nothing to play with. It's encouraging to know that there is strength birthed from loving well. Here are 5 lessons learned during my first 5 years.   
Wedding Vows

1 • Help! We Need More Counseling! • We were very blessed to have counseling before getting married. As the months went by, we realized we needed even more. We went to a marriage retreat, listened to sermons, read books and sat down with counselors who helped us with our issues. Finding a spouse is not the end of a love story. Imperfections always rise to the surface of the marriage and counseling is a great way to work through problems and find resolutions.
2 • The Encouragement Factor • I never knew how much of a positive force encouragement was but these first 5 yeas of marriage taught me that. A while ago I took 30 days experimenting with the thing and came to realize that it can be learned and perfected. I also learned that criticism leaves scars but encouragement brings healing. More importantly, I learned that encouragement changes my focus from his faults to his virtues. Praise is a powerful weapon in marriage, it always lifts one up and changes the atmosphere of the home.
3 • Hope for In-law Issues • Some of us experience complex extended family dynamics through marriage but there is hope. I have learned that it’s essential to seek peace with everyone. I wrote a blog post saying that taking my gloves off essential to have a successful relationship with my MIL. I hope you find success and hope for your in-law relationship.
Wedding Day & 5th Year Anniversary
4 • Date Night Magic • One of the advices we heard most often as newly weds was to be sure to have a date night. I can say that in the first 5 years of marriage, having date nights really helped power up the relationship. No need to take a trip to the Eiffell Tower every week (unless you live really close of course). In the early months of our marriage, all we could afford was breakfast at a local coffee shop. I can honestly say that those dates bound us together and kept the romance going. If you have kids try not to spend the whole time talking about them but talk about things that are important to you such as your goals and dreams.
5 • Loving Well • the first 5 years of my marriage taught me that I need to add quality to my loving. Being the only expert on my husband is loving well. Whatever it takes to speak his love language fluently and to serve him is worth the effort. The more I know him, the better I will to love him. Love is a decision, love is a verb and in the first 5 years of marriage, loving well means serving my husband in a way he can receive it. 
Related Podcast: Rights and Wrongs of Dating a Musician
• Do you have a question for a Professional Counselor? I am working on a Podcast titled: "Counseling Demystified: Benefits for Individuals and Families" and I would love to ask your questions! E-mail me at and your question may be answered in the Podcast!