12 lessons learned over 12 years of Marriage

Husband, father of four girls and one boy - the most important lessons that gained over 12 years of marriage




For 12 years of marriage, my wife and I have seen a lot.

We were married before I graduated from college. In a short time we brought the first child. I graduated from college. New baby. Four more children. When the youngest was born, we had five children under the age of 8 years.

Owned four houses. We rented a house and an apartment somewhere in between. Five different papers with four different companies. They lived in four cities.

In many ways, life has been on fast forward.

During these 12 years we have learned a lot. About ourselves. About each other. The importance of marriage. And why should fight for it.


We were young, in love and ready for the wedding. When she said "yes" to us was a little over twenty. But all this does not mean that we were ready for marriage.

After 12 years, we understand for themselves 12 things about marriage:

1. 50/50 Expectations lead to disappointment.
For a while we considered marriage as a game. Competition. If I do this - you should do this. Meet me in the middle of the field here, do a little more here. If you do 20 things - I do 20 things. This kind of game. But the real work is done when one of you can not get to the middle. When you need to go the extra mile to another. Perhaps, the ratio is 90/10, if the spouse is ill or depressed. Do not look at marriage as a figure. Thus always someone loses.

2. Save a life of adventure.
At the very beginning of the novel with Brooke I always tried. We took long walks, dinner by candlelight, I worked hard to earn it. When we piled years and commitments I have given fire between us die many times. Fight for that this fire is not quenched, it is not necessarily a trip to Paris, this may be an unexpected foray into the local hotel, suddenly hired babysitter for the evening, or even hand-written note. Find a place in your marriage for adventure.

3. The first kiss each other.
I'm not perfect at it, but I try to kiss Brookie immediately when I come home from work. Before I kiss their children. These small details really are of great importance. For me to be a first-class father is important, but even more important to be first-class husband. Otherwise, we will become housemates who raise their children together.

4. Exposure - that's often the best description for love.
It was easy to love Brook, when we were newlyweds. She was easy to love me in the days of comfort. But it is much more difficult to fight for love, when you lose a child. Or suffer huge financial failure. Or recognized its really disgusting secret. Fairy tales are good for the movie, but real life is often confusing, it is chaotic and messy. Be patient, when it gets difficult.

5. Real life consists of small things.
Having a baby, buying a dream home ... Peaks marriage great. However, most of the day - daily routine. I blame the fact that I missed a lot of little things, while working to implement large. I realized that life is just these little moments. Now I am learning to love the journey as much as the destination.

6. The proximity and the presence - it's not the same thing.
Come home early, hire a nurse to go with his wife on a date or even a vacation - it's all great stuff. But to be physically closer - it does not mean to be closer emotionally. For me the emotional intimacy - is instead of constantly staring at the iPhone, to look into the eyes of his wife, and instead of browsing and reading Instagramma Twitter - to listen to her heart. When you have the opportunity to be together physically, and be together emotionally.

7. Comparison of killing your joy.
In an age where people are constantly portrayed in social networks edited facades of his life, it is easy to feel that your marriage - sucks. As if you beat the Jones family. When I start to compare our bank account, house, children's behavior and marriage with others through the lens of the far - I have a loser. This leaves me with joy. There will always be others who have more ... I do not play this game.

8. Each of you has the ability to drop everything.
We all know marriages that end in pain and not a holiday. Divorce instead of dancing at the 50th wedding anniversary. We Brooke realize that there are days when much easier to give up than to keep fighting. But every day we continue to choose each other. We continue to be honest about where we are wrong. Because it's worth it.

9. Take the initiative for the benefit of another.
We often discuss our family, if we are the ones who give, or, conversely, those who are inclined to take. Do we give and serve? Or just take and use? I am convinced that life is much better to spend when you serve for the benefit of another.

10. Live in the community.
Marriage - a complex and difficult thing, but at the same time, it is beautiful and worth it. When you live in isolation - there is always the temptation to give up. But when you are surrounded by family and friends who know about your strengths and your fight, you feel constant support.

11. Will you forgive me?
Let's face it: we go to the marriage are unfair to each other more often than are willing to admit it. We lie for salvation, we forget about the important dates, we get angry. Millions of other examples. Instead of transferring the blame to others or to evade responsibility, ask, "Will you forgive me?", Then your marriage is becoming stronger. That is the question, much more than "I'm sorry," leading to reconciliation.

12. Love wins.
This list can be very long. I have not touched on such things as honesty, the need to find time for meetings and to emphasize the strengths of the partner. But all the lists of the world does not strengthen marriage as far as making love. In the end, love wins. It conquers all. It removes doubts. It helps to cope with fear. It pushes for great things. Love wins.

Justin Ricklefs

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