What I’ve Learned From Five Years of Marriage

As a wedding photographer, I get to talk about marriage a lot. From the dress, to the venue, to the real talk about love stories, my life can seem to pretty much revolve around marriage. I’m super grateful to be in an industry that daily reminds me to think about my own marriage.

Today, Spencer and I are almost 6 years into this covenant love called marriage. We got married when we were 22 + 24 straight out of college. We were the first of our friends to get married and we were totally babies! Our wedding was stunning simply because God’s love was everywhere. Our tribe of people were oh-so gracious with us from the planning to the actual event. We kind of had no idea what we were doing when we were planning our wedding. Thank you to everyone who stood by us, helped us with invites and all of our DIY projects. You are AMAZING!!! We really do love you guys and would not be anywhere near where we are today in our marriage without our team!

We’ve learned quite a bit since we said I do, and I can’t wait to see what the next years have in store. If I could go back to my 22 year old self, I would tell her the following advice:

Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

This is probably the most recent lesson I’ve been learning. I felt like in the first few years of our marriage I was concerned with making sure that we looked like the perfect married couple. After talking with friends and hearing about divorces, I realized that no marriage is perfect (duh). Spence and I are decisive, stubborn and think we are right all the time. We are both passionate first borns and are used to getting our way. Even when we are at our very best, we bicker like kids. It’s simply how we are built. We’ve learned to turn our arguments into flirting rather than take them so seriously. Sure, some things are serious and deserve attention, but a lot of the things we argue about won’t matter at all come tomorrow. In these times, I remember to laugh at myself, say sorry and laugh about how ridiculous we can be. I’m okay with being the couple that bickers sometimes, because we get things out and don’t harbor bitterness towards each other.

Ask For Help

This is for the “some things are serious and deserve attention” category of arguments that I talked about above. Asking for help starts with me, I have to humble myself to know that I don’t have all the answers (I laugh when I write this haha). When we were engaged, we signed up for pre-marital counseling and I think it was the BEST thing we did during our wedding planning. Five years in, we went back to marriage counseling and I would say it was one of the BEST things we did for our marriage. Sometimes, outside help can give you the extra strength you need to walk through that hard season with confidence. If you’re ever looking for a great marriage counselor, I’d love to help point you in the right direction. Remember that it’s ok to not be ok and NO marriage is perfect. We’re human beings and we need others, that’s how we grow stronger too. You’re not alone if you struggle, I promise!

Listen to Your Spouse

Oh my gosh. Laughing again as I type on this topic because I am so dang bad at listening. Spencer is probably one of the funniest, most entertaining people I know and I am still so bad at listening to him. It’s easier for me to scroll on my phone, think about the cookies I want, or pretty much do anything other than listen. Because we know each other so well, I sometimes think that I already know everything about Spence- total LIE. You can bet I’m going to be working on this one today because I really really need to practice it!!

Find A Common Hobby/Activity You Both Love

We find tons of joy when we are doing the following together -hiking/backpacking, running, days at the beach, road-trips, farmer’s markets, Surf Church, being obsessed with our cat, decorating our home + gardening. It took us a while to figure out what these hobbies were, but now that we know them, we step into them when we need quality time together. We fall more in love when we get to participate in our shared interests together. Moments spent on our shared hobbies are some of the most dear memories for us.

Don’t Be Afraid To Do Things Separately

I think this whole post might be me laughing and smiling as I write just because I am so overjoyed/thankful for this journey of marriage. It’s refining, hilarious, humbling and amazing all at the same time. Marriage is my favorite and hardest accomplishment thus far. I smile as I think of how long it took us to figure this one out. I think of all the times I sat super bored as Spencer was bass fishing, or when I tried to make him my second shooter for weddings. We realized there are some hobbies that our personal hobbies and it is totally fine to pursue them on our own.

Overflowing with gratitude over here for Spencer and for the fact that he keeps showing up to love me. I love that we get to show up and love each other despite our shortcomings: my bad listening, his 10,000 hobbies that are ever-changing. I hope that you find some encouragement in what we’ve learned 5 years in!


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