Celebrating 10 years

by Andrea Cooley

adam and andrea

It’s hard to believe Adam and I have been married for 10 years! Happy anniversary, Babe! Before we got married, we dated for almost 4 years, so we have been together all of my adult life and nearly half of my whole life! I can’t really remember what life was like without him by my side.

Tonight a dear friend is watching the boys so we can enjoy a nice steak dinner downtown. It’s been a couple months since we got dressed up and went on a date, I can’t wait!

Over the years we have been through ups and downs, but I am so thankful for our marriage and how God is using it to refine me. I joked with Adam the other day that I wasn’t sick of him yet. I guess that’s a good sign!

weddingHere are 10 things I’ve learned since we said “I do”

1. Laugh together
If you can’t remember the last time you laughed with your spouse, ask yourself why not? No one makes me laugh like Adam, and that is one of my favorite things about him.

When you have little kids, a lot of times you just have to laugh at the ridiculous things your kids do or make you do. Even when we are frustrated with each other, he can make me laugh until I cry. Whatever you’re going through, and chances are if you’ve been married for any amount of time life has thrown you a few curve balls, if you can laugh about it together, I guarantee your circumstances will seem a little brighter and easier to manage.

2. Make memories
I love reminiscing about things we have done together. Every birthday and anniversary, I like to relive the highlights of the year. Before we had kids, Adam and I took a trip to London and Italy. It was something that we talked about doing for several years, and it’s something that we still talk about. We would love to go to Europe again, but for now, the memories will hold us over until we can go!

Obviously not all of our memories are as epic as a trip to Europe, but I think it’s important to be able to reflect on where you’ve been together and the things you’ve done. It’s always encouraging to see how you’ve grown and changed and when you’re in a dry spell it helps to be able to talk about an easier time.

3. Start traditions
This is in the same vein as making memories, but I think of traditions as things that you do regularly. Some of our favorite traditions are making pancakes (I make the batter and Adam flips them), making stove top popcorn and homemade pizza, getting a real Christmas tree, and birthday celebrations. I’m sure as our kids get older our list of traditions will grow!

4. Have date nights
Dating your spouse isn’t a new idea, but I feel like it has to be on the list because it is important! It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, whether or not you have kids, that you forget to make each other a priority. Dates don’t have to be fancy. These days our dates are usually at home and involve playing a game, watching a movie, or sitting outside by the firepit after the kids are in bed. Sure, fancy dates where you dress up and go out to dinner are great, but if that’s not possible, you can still have dates. For us, the important thing is that we are intentionally setting apart time to spend together.

5. Spend time apart
I know I just got done saying that you need to be intentional about spending time with your husband, but I also think it’s important that you spend time apart. Whether it’s a golf league your husband is in with friends from work or a writing class you take, you are still individual people and need to do things separately! Adam and I try to plan for each of us to have a weekend away every year. Yes, it means one of us is home alone with the kids, but it’s so good for each of us to get away and recharge!

6. Support each other
Whether it’s in little things like making time to be in a women’s Bible study or big things, like encouraging your husband to go back to school or pursue a big dream, be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader. Dream together and partner with each other. For us, Adam has been a huge supporter of me staying home with our kids. And even though it hasn’t always been the easiest decision for me, he affirms this choice and encourages me when it’s hard.

7. Put your marriage first
Life is busy, and it’s easy for your marriage to take a backseat to kids, a demanding career, or a difficult situation. But at the end of the day, your marriage is what remains. Your kids will grow up and move away, you will eventually retire from your job, and circumstances change, but Lord willing, your marriage will remain. That means even when life is crazy and stressful, your marriage needs to be a priority. If you ignore it, it will start to show.

8. Say thank you
These two little words go a long way. Whether it’s a quick thanks for getting up with the kids and letting me sleep an extra half hour, washing the dishes, or making a late night grocery store run, it’s easy to take things for granted when you’ve been with someone for awhile. You assume they know you appreciate them and notice that they took the garbage out, but it never hurts to recognize it with a simple thank you.

9. Do things with other couples
Yes, it can be hard to find couples who both of you enjoy hanging out with, but I really think it’s important to spend time with other couples. It is encouraging to be see how other couples interact and no matter what stage of life you are in, you can challenge each other in your marriages, hold each other accountable, and just have fun together! We have been blessed with wonderful couple friends who we have game nights with and even go on trips with.

10. Find a mentor couple
We recently started meeting with an older couple from our church. It’s not anything formal, but I am really excited to have a couple other than our parents and immediate friends and family who are praying for us, encouraging us, and challenging us to grow in our faith and our marriage. I know some couples swear by counseling, and that’s great too. I think it’s good for couples to have men and women in their life who can speak truth and offer objective advice in their relationship.

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your marriage?

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