Five things I’ve learned in the first five years of marriage

Today is my five-year wedding anniversary. Somehow, it feels so fast and so long, all at the same time! I am thankful that it has been a wonderful five years, and I am excited for the years ahead. 

Whether a five-year anniversary is a nostalgic memory for you or if it feels forever in the future, it is good practice to pause at big life moments and reflect back. So, here are five things I’ve learned in my first five years of marriage.

It takes intentionality to share life together.

Life is busy. It is easy and tempting to fall into routines that emphasize our work commitments, extended family members’ priorities, and our own personal preferences for bedtimes, dinner menus, and beyond. Yet marriage is a partnership. Life is much more meaningful when we share it. This takes intentional planning, and sometimes the sacrifice of personal convenience.

Caring for each other while you’re angry is possible, and important. 

Anger is a normal emotion, but our emotions are no excuse for hurting each other. In these first five years, we have learned that we handle conflict differently – I need space to cool down, but my husband feels hurt and isolated if we take that space. This is hard. When we can shift to a focus on “how can I care for you while I am hurt/angry/upset” we honor God and resolve conflict.

Words are powerful. 

My husband is the most encouraging person I’ve ever met, and I am amazed by what a blessing this is in my life. He is constantly sharing thanksgivings, giving compliments, and asking questions about what I think, how I feel, and what’s happening in my life. He uses his words to bless me, and I have likewise grown in using my words to bless him (and others).

Friendships are still important. 

While my husband and I have a great friendship, he still needs some guy time and I still need some girl time. Friendship is part of a healthy Christian life, providing perspective, accountability, encouragement, and help. Friends do this in a unique way, helping us all live out the call in Hebrews 10:24-25 to encourage one another. 

God’s ways are higher than our ways. 

Of course, even before marriage I knew that God’s timing did not always match my desires. Yet, it was definitely worth many years of singleness and searching in order to wait for the right man! But even as we’ve been married, it is still hard to pray and plan for things, and not see those things happen as we’d like. Our marriage is blessed as we fall on our knees together, grieving together, waiting together, praising God together.

“In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  Praise be to God.

I wonder what lessons God will teach me during these next five years… Stay tuned!

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director