Tomorrow Kim and I will be married 16 years. Where has time gone? I also realized today that if you take our 16 years of marriage and add to it the 4 1/2 years that we dated, we have been together more than twenty years. That means we have been together over half the time we have been alive.
We have had mountain top experiences together and we have had some very dark moments. There has been times where life was stagnant, moving at mundane speeds. Through it all, the trajectory of our marriage continues to go up and to the right.
In honor of our anniversary, here are 16 areas that have helped our marriage to thrive.
16 Areas for 16 Years
- SPIRITUAL: We are both actively growing in our personal relationship with God. We know that as our relationship with God deepens, our relationship with each other will grow closer.
- FRIENDSHIP: Our friendship has continued to deepen and evolve over the years. There is no one I would rather spend time with than Kim.
- CHANGE: We have allowed each other to grow and change with time. Who we were at 20 is vastly different than who we are at 40. (Kim, the countdown is on until you hit the big 4-0)
- FIGHTING: We don’t always fight fair. We don’t always resolve our fights. We probably break all the “counseling techniques” prescribed to couples. But we always make up.
- COMMUNICATION: Communication has been something that we have intentionally worked on. Our upbringing and our personalities complicate this process. We try to model an attitude that our words can either build up or tear down.
- THE LIST: We have developed a list of talking points that are off limits when we are
fightinghaving a conversation. We protect that list at all costs.
- LEARNING: We are always learning, growing, and working on our marriage. There are many couples that have influenced us. We are deeply grateful.
- ADVENTURE: Our life is one big adventure with a positive outlook on making the best of all situations.
- KIDS: Kiara and Claire are huge blessings in our lives. They are energetic and full of life. We have been intentional to not let them become the center of our lives. We model a real and attainable marriage so they have no preset goals that can never be met.
- INDIVIDUALS: We allow each other to maintain our individuality. I am not her, and she is not me. We are wired differently. The lenses that we look through are a different color. We embrace each others differences, even though the differences can be infuriating.
- SEX: It is like wine, just gets better with time. (Sorry mom, but I had to include this one.)
- PERSONALITIES: We continue to learn how each other are wired. I am an INTJ, and my wife is an ESFP – exact opposites. (See #1, #5, 10) By the way, it is recommended that INTJ’s not get married. Ouch. (Kim is glad that she didn’t follow that rule!)
- DECISION MAKING: We make decisions together. If we don’t agree, we work towards a solution together. The key word – Together.
- SUPPORT: We support each other in our crazy ideas, challenges, and new adventures.
- THE DOG: I have learned that Kim tolerates dogs because she knows I love dogs. (Between you and me, she really does love Mollee, our 11lb morkie.)
- WE TRUMPS ME: Over the years we have come to embrace the value of “we”. Don’t mis-interpret what I am saying, it is important for couples to retain their separate identities. But our default modus operandi has become “WE”, not “ME.
I am sure over the next 34 years this list will shift as we approach our 50 year wedding anniversary. What I do know is that the last 16 (or is it 20.5?) years has been an amazing journey! I cannot wait to experience the next 34+ years with my best friend.
One more critical point: I did receive permission from Kim to post everything above – even #11 and #15.