10 Things I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Marriage

10 things I've learned from 10 years of marriage

I’m excited to share with you 10 things I’ve learned from 10 years of marriage. But first, let me pain you a picture of my wedding day…

It was a scorching hot day in late September of 2009.

105 degrees to be exact. 

I said “I do” at the beautiful Regale Winery in the Santa Cruz mountains.

My husband participated on every level and in many ways, managed more of our wedding day than I did. 

I focused on curating our Italian romantic soundtrack, the rustic ambiance, flowers, the delicious farm to table food and the finer details of guest arrival. 

Todd focused his attention on more practical matters. Vendor payments, the schedule, the timing of the guest shuttles up the mountain, accommodations and travel arrangements. 

During the craziness of our special day, we both looked at one another with excitement and recognition. 

“We’re a good team, aren’t we.”

To this day, I can hum every song that was played that day. My husband has no recollection. He remembers the cost of our wedding. I have a vague and foggy memory of this.

I’m always asked about my marriage as I’m known as a Matchmaker, a marriage strategist, dating coach, and advisor. People look to me to have the perfect union and to follow my example. 

I’ve got to tell you, it’s a lot of pressure. Relationships aren’t a perfect science and mine is certainly no exception. 

Marriage seems to be everyone’s destination. It’s as if nothing that happens before meeting “the one” matters or holds any real value. 

My drive and purpose isn’t just to help people get married. I’m more interested in helping singles connect with like-minded people and offer an opportunity for a higher chance of personal success and growth.

Marriage is a journey. One that has many twists and turns, hills and valleys. 

In honor of my anniversary this month, here are

10 Things I’ve Learned From 10 Years Of Marriage

1. Marriage is like the ocean. 

There will be high and low tides, calm and stormy seas. Learn how to be a strong swimmer before you get married. Otherwise, you can drown in rough weather or take your partner down with you. Yes, you become a team, but we all have the responsibility to hold ourselves up without leaning too much on our partners for oxygen. If you want a stellar marriage, learn your skills independently before you jump in the water.  

2. You’re not going to get everything in one person.

The #1 thing that gets in everyone’s way of finding the right partner is unrealistic expectations and long laundry lists of requested traits. You’ve got friends, family and colleagues to fill in the gaps. Go for a partner who answers your top three core needs and values. Let everything else go. The important stuff is what is going to keep you together for the long haul, not whether you both ski, like romantic comedies or like the same rock bands. Focus on what is top of the list and you’ll end up being happier than you ever imagined.

3. You both need a solid work ethic.

When times get tough, and they will, it’s vital that you’re partnered with someone who knows how to roll up their sleeves and problem solve. It’s way too easy to cut and run for those who have never had to work hard at anything in their lives. I’m grateful. I happen to be married to a man who is ride or die, a Steady Eddie and a man whose work ethic runs through everything he does in life.  No matter how many challenges we’ve faced, and we’ve faced A LOT, he’s constant. I don’t have to worry or panic which enables me to focus on other things that are dear to me; my aging parents, my business and clients. Doesn’t sound romantic enough? Ask anyone who’s been through a painful and expensive divorce with someone who ran away every time the wind blew. Feeling safe is sexy. 

4. Shared values are a must.

A total MUST. Think of every relationship you’ve had that slipped through your fingers and ended in disaster. Any frustration you typically feel in a relationship is generally a sign that your values are not aligned. I married my husband for many reasons, but I always knew we shared the same values.  Our love of family is a big one. I never need to explain my dedication to my family or why it’s important that I speak with them daily or visit often. It’s just a given. This is one thing that makes my life easier and for that, I’m very grateful. If I had married a man who didn’t understand the importance of family, we’d find ourselves in a constant battle. 

5. Arguments are just triggers.

Without knowing it, we’re drawn to those we can learn from. They push our edges and help us grow. This can be incredibly painful and annoying if you haven’t done some work on yourself ahead of time. Know who you are and where you’re most vulnerable. Your worst partner will poke the bear and exploit your weak spots. Your best partner will offer a pathway to heal old wounds by creating a safe place and a kinder look in the mirror. 

6. Collaboration is key.

You can’t live like a single man or women within the framework of a marriage. Seeking the support, advice, and collaboration of your partner is essential to a happy marriage. Do it together and you’ll stay together. That’s my motto.

7. Respect and adoration are essential. 

When these are lost from either side, it’s game over. A marriage can endure a lot but when a woman doesn’t respect her husband and she isn’t adored, the life goes out of the marriage like a deflated balloon. Do women need to be respected and men adored? Of course! But, remember, how women arrive at respect is different from men. When a man adores his wife, respect follows. When a woman respects her husband, the adoration follows. It’s like math. Keep it simple and you’ll never go wrong. 

8. Never take your partner for granted.

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this but it’s worth repeating. Gratitude is often overlooked and the behavior that is most often cited for the demise of any marriage. Familiarity can breed contempt so it’s important that we thank our partners for things they do for us, how they made our day easier or what they bring to our lives. Forget to do this and you’ll soon find yourself in a loveless marriage heading for a tragic end. It’s said that love makes the world go around. I say gratitude is what keeps it spinning.

9. Check-ins are necessary. 

As my 10 year anniversary approaches this month, I’m feeling a sense of urgency to recommit our vows, to take stock and create a new agreement. After all, it’s been 10 years. So much has changed. We can’t assume that just because we said “I do” on that hot day in September 2009, that we’re all done. It was just the beginning. Getting married is really easy. Staying married is manageable. Staying happily married is a whole other category of skill and care.

I constantly check in with my husband (much to his frustration) to see how he’s doing, how we’re doing and if he’s happy. Never assume anything. You’ve got to ask the tough questions. Be brave and fearless without worrying about the answer you receive. Digging your head in the sand will just keep you from excellence within your relationship. Think about a business with employees. Everything would crash without weekly/monthly meetings and reviews. Your marriage is only the most important partnership you’ll ever have. Trust and communicate. Rinse and repeat.

10. Compassion wins over anger. 

All couples fight but it’s how we fight and recover that matters most. It’s so easy to get caught up in the spin cycle of anger and ego. I’m still learning to not be triggered when my husband gets angry, but to actually take a breath and take a deeper look at what is causing the anger. Somewhere underneath the surface is sadness, frustration, and vulnerability. Matching anger to anger only skyrockets the problem. Looking at anger with compassion is like applying a healing salve that always cools the pain and shifts the focus of an argument.

Am I always a Jedi at this? Heaven’s no, but I’m aware enough to know it’s a practice and practice makes perfect. You only need to try this once to see the profound impact it will have on all of your relationships. 

The past 10 years went by so very fast.

I love being married, the complexity of it, the learning, the growth, the safety, excitement and most importantly, the partnership that comes with it. I love collaboration, connection, and communication. And I can’t live without it nor would I want to.

In a happy, healthy marriage, these values can be expressed or repressed. Your partner isn’t responsible to make you happy but they can make you happier than you already are or kill off all the goodness in your heart. Be smart. Stay alert. Dedicate yourself to the skill of connection. Stay open. Focus on what is most important and above all, have patience.

Your choice in a partner doesn’t just impact your life. It’s a generational decision that will affect everyone in your life, now and in the future. Choose well.

April Beyer

P.S. When you’re ready to put your single days behind you, get serious about your future and shift the odds in your favor, We’re here to help. Inquiries: hello@levelconnections.com

Comments (9)

Beautifully said April. I fully agree. Thank you for your constant wisdom and knowledge to help couples and singles grow into their greatest potential. Love Andrea

Happy 10th Anniversary, April! Thank you for sharing these wonderful words of wisdom. This all rings so true! Please wish Jayme my sincerest congratulations on her recent nuptials; I’m so very happy for her! 🙂
XOXO,
Carrie

I give this marital advice a “10”! I agree that most of us can manage marriage, but few couples make the consistent effort of checking in, listening and making small adjustments to thrive together.
I think I need to print and save this post.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and candor!

You are wise beyond your years. I so appreciate your “realness”, your ability to share your depth of knowledge, and to deliver the message with truth and kindness. You are amazing! Love you, girl!

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