Twenty years is a long time. Someone that is twenty can vote, drive, and buy a gun. They have graduated high school and are likely in college. This weekend my husband and I celebrated our anniversary, which was not just the 11th anniversary of being married, but also the 20th anniversary of us being together. We've been together longer than we've been apart.
We met my sophomore year of high school, his freshman. We stayed together through almost all of high school. (There was the summer before my senior year but let's just leave it at that---teenagers are so stupid.) Once we graduated high school, we stayed local, getting our Associates Degrees before moving to Miami to finish college. After college, we married, moved back to our hometown, had babies, the rest is history.
The years have added up so quickly. It doesn't feel like we've been together this long but looking back on all we've done, it has been. When we got together, neither of us even drove yet!
In these last twenty years, we have found what works for us. We are still learning about each other and still learning what it takes to have a successful marriage. We've learned that while being married is awesome---it's tough and takes lots of effort. We've had ups and downs but we always come back to good.
We've learned we can never allow our marriage to be on cruise control. The moment one of us stops engaging in the relationship, we lose traction. We have to be constantly giving effort to each other, especially having kids in the equation. We have to carve out time during the work week for lunches. We need date nights where we catch up with each other. We need late nights laying in a dark room just talking about whatever is on our minds. All of these things have to happen to keep our marriage strong. The moment we stop trying, our relationship suffers.
We've learned communication is so important. I'm not one to share my deep, down thoughts and emotions---my husband is the complete opposite. We learned that for us, open communication is critical. Surprisingly, we never run out of things to talk about. My husband knows me. He knows all of my experiences, he was there for most of them. Despite this, we always have something to talk about. Whether it's the kids, work, long-term plans and dreams, or reminiscing, we have to keep sharing.
We've learned gratitude goes a long way. It's so important to say thank you. Even after all this time, I still thank my husband for cooking dinner, he still thanks me when I clean up the house or do the grocery shopping. It's so easy to feel unappreciated in the day-to-day minutia but a simple "thank you" makes it feel appreciated. Gratitude goes a long way.
Nothing here is earth shattering but it is easy, in the rush of our lives, for these things to fall by the wayside. We are in no way perfect and we constantly give effort to each of these things.
Twenty years has gone by and I pray we have many, many more to come. Happy Anniversary Babe. Forever and always...