17 Surprising Things I Learned in 8 Years of Marriage

by Ivy B
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What marriage has taught me in 8 years.  I’d hoped to write this up for my anniversary, but life happened.  So, I’m sharing the lessons I’ve learned in 8 years of marriage now, because Thanksgiving week seemed an appropriate alternative.

You’re going back to work.  You’re going to get rid of your Porsche and drive around in a cash car.  You’re going to (insert whatever threat your husband comes up with).

I can’t remember what the fight was about.  And, I can’t even remember what started it.  But, I distinctly remember threats were flying out of my husband’s mouth.

We were experiencing a rough week and were in a slump.  I’m pretty sure it coincided with a stressful time in his job, too.

Instead of crying and begging for him not to follow through with the threats, I just agreed with him.  “Okay, I’ll go back to work.”  And after the next threat “Okay, I know I never needed the Porsche.”

The more I agreed, the more irritated he became.  I remained calm and agreeable.  Instinctively, for the first time in years, I just knew he was blowing off steam.  If I argued, it would give him more fuel to continue the fight, but not actually talk about what was going on.  So, I didn’t give him fuel.  Instead, I kept the level of aggravation low and didn’t give him reason to raise his voice or elevate the issue at hand.

He shut down, sat at his computer quietly, and wouldn’t speak again until the children went to bed.  Then, he told me he was surprised that I didn’t fight him … and that it made him mad and he felt powerless.

Though it wasn’t my intent to take away his power, I simply didn’t want to have another major argument in our marriage.  I was exhausted from the kids and not looking forward to another issue to take control over my emotions.

But, what I did turned out to be the one thing that kept the issue from escalating.  And, it allowed us to talk through the issue before we went to bed.  For the first time, it prevented him from running out of the house to blow off steam without resolving our issue.  Other times, we don’t resolve issues for days … both giving each other the cold shoulder and not speaking.

And that’s when I realized being married for years has taught me a few things.  I will always learn new relationship skills.  I have learned more about love and relationships after marriage than I ever could have known before.  And, I can share that wisdom in hopes of helping others.

In September, we celebrated 8 years of marriage.  Can I share what marriage has taught me in those 8 years? I’d love to know what you’ve learned through your own marriages or if any of these marriage lessons can help your own marriage.

What marriage has taught me in 8 years.  I'd hoped to write this up for my anniversary, but life happened.  So, I'm sharing the lessons I've learned in 8 years of marriage now, because Thanksgiving week seemed an appropriate alternative. | www.sahmplus.com

What Marriage Has Taught Me in 8 Years

I’ve grown a lot in the 8 years we’ve been blissfully wed.  But, what marriage has taught me in 8 years is that sometimes it’s not blissful at all!


1. I didn’t know anything about real love until I was married

Real love is kinda dull, honestly.  I mean, once you get passed all the “in love” stuff, real love exists in spite of farts, burps, and any other annoying habits either of you have.

2. Sometimes staying married is about your commitment to your relationship

It’s not always about “love” rather honoring your commitment to your marriage.  What marriage has taught me is when you cherish that commitment, you can find the love again.

3. Your friendship truly creates the foundation for your marriage

It’s important to remember what brought you two together, because 8 years of marriage and two kids later … nothing is the same.  But, you can always find a way to reignite some passion or invoke some lovey-dovey feelings if you remember how it all began.

4. Secrets always have a way of surfacing

Even if your secret isn’t “hurtful” it can sting if something comes up unexpectedly.  Be open and honest with your partner about even minor things to make sure your spouse knows they can always trust you.  But, that doesn’t mean dole out the deets of a special gift surprise 😉

5. Never assume something without consulting your partner

Assumptions are a terrible thing … we all know that.  But, you’re bound to get yourself in trouble if you make an assumption and a plan without consulting with your spouse.

6. Being married with children requires a partnership mentality

Working together to parent as a team and create time for each other without the kids is key to maintain a healthy partnership.  And, the kids can’t take advantage of a situation if you’re both on the same page.

7. Marriage is constant work as every moment of your life creates growth and change

It’s important to work together to grow and change in the same direction instead of growing apart.  Marriage after kids takes even more work!

8. Feelings can wax and wane

You may not always feel “in love”.  There will certainly be times when you’re irritated with your partner.  But, if you were ever in love, it can return if you always remember you were at one time.  Keep your heart open and allow yourself to love even if you don’t feel it right this moment.

9. It’s better to commit to ensuring your partner’s happiness over your own

When we make sure others are happy, it usually results in our own happiness.

10. It’s important to put your partner ahead of your children

Without your significant other, parenting (and life in general) will become more challenging.  Put them first and everything else sorts itself out.

11. Marriage is 100/100, not 50/50

Both parties should give 100% percent to their relationship and family.  If you’re seeking to split equitably, you’re concerned more about equality than giving freely.

12. Each of you will go through phases of needs

One of you will need to be strong while the other experiences weaknesses.  And then, things may alternate and you’ll have to adjust to each other.

13. Sometimes you “fight” for your marriage by not fighting at all

There may be a time when your partner picks a fight and the best way to fight back is simply to agree with them.  Don’t let their unhappiness or a ruined day control your emotions.  Sometimes, letting them sort out their issues quietly resolves the issue better than bickering back and forth.

14. It’s not really give-and-take … it’s mainly give

And I don’t mean we become martyrs to our relationships.  We don’t sit on the sidelines of our marriage constantly in a state of want.  Instead, you create a sense of generosity, making you feel good, and your partner will genuinely appreciate and give back.  But, never expect anything in return.  If you do, and you don’t receive, you may find yourself resentful or questioning your relationship.

15. I can’t tell my children what a healthy marriage is

Instead, my husband and I have to model it.  And, we don’t model just the good stuff.  We do sometimes disagree in front of them and come to an agreement in front of them.  We show affection and we show compromise.  Modeling a healthy and loving marriage is one of the reasons I would never choose to “stay together for the kids” if our relationship ever became irreparable.

16. It’s possible to be happier with your marriage later on

We passed the “7 year itch” with ease.  I still don’t know how we did it.  Not that there haven’t been some really troubling times.  Our marriage isn’t without its faults.  We’re human … we’re not without faults.  Learning to live as a married couple came with its trials.  Learning to be a married couple after babies created new challenges.  After the work we’ve put in, we’ve both agreed we’re happier and more fulfilled now than we even believed possible.  Our relationship has deepened immensely.

17. We have to respect our individual passions AND pursue activities together

Not only is it important that we share hobbies and activities we enjoy together, we must continue to be ourselves.  Respecting our individual needs but still giving our marriage the focus it deserves allows us to strike a balance necessary to work together.

What marriage has taught me is that every new phase is a chance to learn, grown, and overcome.

What marriage has taught me is that it will always be work and I could likely write a huge list every few years about the lessons I’ve learned from marriage.

What marriage has taught me is that romantic comedies are full of crap and I knew nothing about love until I experienced a real and healthy marriage.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I figured this was the perfect week to share my gratitude for my marriage.  I admire my husband and love that we’re sharing our lives together.  And I am grateful I can share our marriage success secrets with you.

What are some things you’ve learned in your marriage?

In honor of both Thanksgiving and all the things I’m grateful for in my marriage, I created this printable!  What marriage has taught me is that I need to be grateful for what I have, and I want to show it!  This gold lettering printable is designed to fit an 8×10 frame with cut out lines to get your printable straight.

8 years of marriage has taught me to be grateful, so I created this printable - perfect for Thanksgiving or sharing your thankfulness every day. Grateful for you 8x10 printable | www.sahmplus.com

If you’d like this free printable, just sign up for my email newsletter, and you’ll receive access to a free resource library full of freebies like this one


What marriage has taught me in 8 years. Would you like to know the 17 surprising lessons I've learned? | www.sahmplus.com
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Echo November 20, 2017 - 12:31 pm

It is so important for us to share these things!

I have been with my husband for over a decade and I know that one of the reasons our marriage is so strong, is because he really is my friend! We enjoy each others’ company!

Ivy B November 20, 2017 - 12:35 pm

SO TRUE! I married my best friend and that hasn’t changed for me either. Although, I’m still not sure why he enjoys me now that I’m a cranky mom LOL

Katelyn Fagan November 20, 2017 - 1:18 pm

My husband and I will be celebrating 9 years of marriage next week!! Even though we fight (of course) I love him like crazy. He’s an amazing man, husband, father, teacher, student, friend, and so much more. I think that prioritizing your relationship is SO important. As well as communication. I know that when we are more testy with each other, it is usually because we haven’t been really spending time together, or talking.

I’ve also found that making goals as a couple, and working to support each other’s indiviudal goals, has been a HUGE blessing to our marriage. We constantly make big and little goals in our family and I love it so much.

Oh, and definitely greet your husband (or wife) with a smile, long warm hug, and a kiss when they get home, and when they leave. It makes a BIG difference. And then try not to do the “this is everything that went wrong today” spiel as soon as they walk in the door. Never goes well. :/ Just ask about their day first if your day sucked, and try to find something positive to say and let the “cranky mom” moments of your day go.

Ivy B November 20, 2017 - 10:29 pm

I’d like to start working on making goals together! I used your greeting tip today … hugged him and asked about his day with a smile on my face. We didn’t really talk about the stuff the kids did to annoy me until later. It felt so much better!

Monica @HappyandBlessedHome.com November 20, 2017 - 1:53 pm

After 11 years, I agree with you on so many of these points. It is mainly give and sacrifice and tune-ups every now and then. We hug for about a minute or two every morning and I truly believe it’s made a difference. God bless you and your family!

Ivy B November 20, 2017 - 10:28 pm

I try to remember to kiss my husband in the morning before I leave the room to start getting everyone moving for the day. When the kids are more independent, I’d love to spend a couple minutes snuggling in the morning instead of rushing. But, check-ins and tune-ups have been essential for us to make sure we’re both happy 😀 Thanks for sharing your tip 🙂

Jennifer November 20, 2017 - 10:43 pm

These things are all so important to remember. Sometimes it’s not easy when we’re in the thick of life’s “stuff”, but it always comes back down to these essentials. In fact, just today my husband and I were reminding each other that sometimes we just need to get back to the basics.

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