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10 lessons learnt from 10 years of marriage

October 25, 2018
10 year wedding anniversary

Like most big, life changing experiences reality isn’t always what you expected. Marriage is no different. We are all warned about the potential challenges one could face but when you’re in love, passion at boiling point… You can’t imagine things ever changing and 10 years sounds a lifetime away… Until, in a blink of an eye, you’re there!

This post isn’t meant to scare anyone, it’s also not written with a negative thought or feeling. It’s simply our honest account of lessons learnt from 10 years of marriage. The good and the bad, the challenges and the amazing rewards.

It ain’t all roses…

10 year wedding anniversary

Life shouldn’t be perfect and neither should love. It’s in the messy, dark trenches that we see each other for who we really are. Our naked souls, with no place to hide. It’s then when we really get to know who our partners are, what matters the most and when inner beauty shines through blindingly.

We embrace the bad with the good and remember, nobody likes a boring fairytale…

Unexpected things will happen…

10 year wedding anniversary

Losing a parent, losing a baby, losing a job… Making MASSIVE mistakes… We couldn’t have known what was waiting for us. I wish I could say we handled it all like a power couple but that ‘s not true. Trying to be strong and independent, “protecting” the other, actually drove us apart and made us feel alone.

It was only once we realised we have an endless amount of strength, TOGETHER, that nothing could get us down. We’re not scared of what waits within the next 10 years. We don’t even think about the challenges anymore. Instead we just work on always sticking together, sharing everything with each other, no matter how big or small.

Saying “sorry” can mean more than “I love you”…

10 year wedding anniversary

Remember when those 3 words was the ultimate phrase to hear and say? It was such a BIG deal! It still is but, saying “I love you” comes easily and can even just be out of habit. Saying “sorry” however, never gets easier, maybe harder…

We hurt the ones we love the most and then we expect them to accept it “because they know we love them”. It’s easy to take Mr. Perfect for granted, to vent and take out my own frustrations on him. It’s normal too BUT I can never stop saying sorry.

Sorry mends a broken heart, it breaks down walls, it opens the door for forgiveness and if it’s honest and true it can erase mistakes. A heart-felt “sorry” also shows more love than anything else. We never hold back on our apologies. You’ll never feel regret about saying sorry to the one you love, only about saying nothing at all.

Always share in one another’s  dreams…

10 year wedding anniversary

Ten years ago I had too many dreams, Mr. Perfect had one! Five years into our marriage he accomplished most of what was on his “to-do” list, I was still doing everything! Now, he has many dreams – all brand new, and I only have a few.

Our dreams change and differ but the core, most important ones are the same. Having a family, growing in faith and making a difference in this world.

We will always have our own dreams too and being total opposites means they will rarely be similar but we respect each other and always support the other’s dreams – no matter how outrages they seem. We dream together and when in doubt we reassure the other to dream even bigger because so far doing all we can for the other, has helped both of us achieve all our dreams.

10 year wedding anniversary

Ever thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours…

10 year wedding anniversary

This was something Mr. Prefect thought me early on in our marriage.

We are both kids of divorce and statistically that makes our marriage a high risk for divorce too. We have so many friends that didn’t hit the 10 year mark with us even though they were just as in love back in 2008. To us it’s not only about the love and the happiness. First and foremost it’s about the commitment.

Things get challenging, at times you get bored, you hurt one another and there are times in marriage when you feel lonely (eg. the 2 years of Alec’s Masters degree or the 1st few months of newborn life). Temptation doesn’t disappear either.

The only thing to do is to “choose each other” every, single, day! Choose to go through the rough patch, the loneliness and the tempting times with only your partner in mind. These things are inevitable and I’m not switch dance partners – we’ve come too far! We’ve made a choice to stick it out with only each other.

Trade up…

10 year wedding anniversary

Society values passion over commitment. If the flame ain’t burning on full there must be something wrong…

NOT TRUE, thank goodness passion fizzles (I’m not saying it should burnout completely). If we were running at the same level as 10 years ago we would have 10 kids by now. No one would ever get fed and finding time for work would be impossible.

Our passion needed to make room for true love, real friendship, an incredible life we get to share and more love from others… our 3 girls.

I would trade all the passion in the world for what we have now because what we have can’t even be put into words. And best of all, we can still turn the passion on when we like…

Focus on the good…

10 year wedding anniversary

Our world is changing and with so much pressure to be a certain way, look a certain way and maintain appearances it’s easy to loose focus of what is real and right in front of you.

Social media is forever shoving the “perfect couple” down our throats. We’ve been called one too but that’s just our highlights reel. Our perfection actually comes from all the imperfect moments we’ve shared and worked through. The moments we didn’t have a camera handy or even thought of recording.

Still, we work through them and then we put them behind us. We don’t want to hold on to the negative, instead we remember what we learnt, how far we’ve come and we celebrate who we are today because of it all. Other couples might inspire us but we never want to be anyone else but US.

10 year wedding anniversary

Same same, but different…

10 year wedding anniversary

Then and now. You will be different.

Ten years ago we were kids. We thought we knew it all, like most 20-somethings. A soon-to-be teacher and an accountant on the road to becoming a CA. All grown-up, doing the most grown-up thing in the world; getting married.

10 year wedding anniversary

Looking back we were actually just a big eyed girl and a barely bearded boy… Today, we are still getting the hang of this “adulting” thing, Mr. Perfect does a full stubble proud and my eyes are still doe-eyed, always looking for the good in our world. We are however a little wiser, a little softer and more empathetic.

We don’t fight change, we hold on to the good and work hard at bettering the bad. We criticise each other less, learning to accept our new selves while remembering where we’ve come from. Aren’t these changes exactly what keeps things interesting after all…?

10 year wedding anniversary

Take care of one another…

10 year wedding anniversary

Credit to our pastor for teaching us this lesson on the day of our wedding.

In the sermon he explained that from today onwards we were “not to worry about our own hearts anymore”, instead we were to only focus on the other’s.

If my main focus was to protect Alec’s heart without taking my own into account I would never be able to hurt him, harm him or love him less. He would always feel safe, loved, wanted, respected and he would flourish. The same applied to me.

Doing this requires one to act and think  completely selflessly. It’s not easy and it doesn’t come naturally, not even after 10 years but it’s the one lesson that makes the biggest difference. It’s a marriage game-changer and a mindset we work hard at keeping up.

Always say “good morning” and “good night”…

10 year wedding anniversary

Value “good routines”. Kissing him good morning, always saying goodbye when someone leaves the house (even if it’s just for a quick errand), being the last good night of the evening, having that glass of wine after dinner, bathing together, praying together… Whatever it may be.

Never give up on the little things because during some (busier) life seasons these will be the things that carry you.

Even forever will never be enough…

I love you my Mr. Perfect.

10 year wedding anniversary

PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Manii October 25, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    What a beautiful post. Can’t wait to share it with hubby. Congratulations on the first decade of your … love actually ❤️

    • Reply Mari-Louise October 26, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Thank you! For reading and leaving such a beautiful comment too. I’ll pass on the well wishes too. x

  • Reply Jana Blignaut October 26, 2018 at 6:00 am

    So mooi geskryf ❤️

    • Reply Mari-Louise October 26, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Baie dankie dame. Waardeer die tyd wat jy gevat het om te lees en vir my terug te skryf. Beteken regtig baie.

  • Reply Anna October 27, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    This is so true. My husband and I renewed our wedding vows two weeks ago. Being married for 10 is definitely not all sunshine and gravy . We have been through a lot, and even with all the trials we have been through we realized that without each other we are weak. This is so beautifully written, congratulations on your 10 years and wish you more years to come.

    • Reply Mari-Louise October 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Congratulations to you too Anna and how special to do a vow renewal. May the years to come be blessed for you too. x

  • Reply Jasmine Hewitt October 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    congrats on 10 years together, that is truly awesome!

    • Reply Mari-Louise October 29, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Thank you Jasmine, really appreciate it.

  • Reply Rachel October 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary! 10 years is no joke. It took a lot of work to get there.

    • Reply Mari-Louise October 29, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Thank you! I still can’t believe it’s already 10 but you are right, its not all sunshine and roses…

  • Reply Caley October 29, 2018 at 7:10 am

    So so beautiful, and the most valuable lessons! Happy 10 years love birds x

  • Reply Jenn October 29, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    This is so great. Happy anniversary to you both.

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