What I’ve Learned About Marriage After 14 Years

I married Adam when I was 25 years old. He was my first serious boyfriend, and considering our age gap of over ten years And the fact that we worked together, it might not have been the wisest decision I’ve ever made. But I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life – even if someone tried, there wouldn’t be a hundred percent chance of convincing me to give it up.

This week we celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. It sounds totally crazy to say it. We’ve been parents together for a decade and I can’t believe we’ll have a middle schooler in the house any time soon. I remember hearing that after being married for a few years, everything would definitely go up in smoke—passion would take a backseat when we had kids, one of us would be itchy for seven years. year. I kept waiting for that to happen, but somehow our relationship got better and better. I don’t claim to know our “secret,” but I think it helps that we both believe we’ve found gold when we find each other.

So, in honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned about lasting love after fourteen years with my soulmate. Everyone’s relationship is different, but here are the lessons that have helped us through challenging times. They inspired a relationship built on trust, mutual respect, passion, unfading attraction and shared excitement ensure our shared life is never boring. Take what you want, leave the rest.

Engaged in London, 2008

Let it go

I’ve watched relationships fall apart as small annoyances build up over time, slowly growing into something bigger. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to let that happen to us—I chose to accept things that probably wouldn’t change and be very selective about what I made matters. When I start to feel uncomfortable, I try to ask myself, “Can I laugh about this?” (By the way, this is a great strategy to use with your kids, co-workers, moms, sisters, etc.)

Newly married in Greece

Redirect to “bid for connection”

Let’s talk about the bid for connection, a concept I learned from Dr. John Gottman’s research on healthy marriages. Essentially, a “bid” is a partner’s attempt to get attention, affirmation, or connection. It could be a wink, a touch, a request for help, sharing something vulnerable or a suggestion to do something together. When you realize that your partner has bid to hook up, you have a choice: you can consciously return bid that by admitting it, or you can turned away from that bid by ignoring or rejecting it.

Research shows that this “turning on” or “turning away” is extremely important to the health of a relationship. Missing a few bids to connect is normal, but when it becomes the norm, it can lead to the demise of a relationship. It’s about paying attention and prioritizing. (Highly recommend reading more about this in Gottman’s book.)

Traveling with a baby

Look at your partner with fresh eyes

A few years ago, I went to dinner and sat next to a sex therapist. Esther Perel. One of my biggest lessons from our conversation is that we are most attracted to our partners when there is a clear separation between us. Even in long-term relationships, we are not one and the same—we never really “belong” to each other.

An example of this is when we consciously choose see our partner through the eyes of another. For example, if Adam and I are at a crowded event, I can watch him from across the room during a conversation, and I try to see him as if he were a stranger. Creepy? Maybe (lol), but just TRUST ME, it’s sexy. There’s something about looking at that person with fresh eyes that sends the same wave of emotions as when you first met. It always reminds me why I fell in love with him in the first place.

Ringing 2018

Let them know you want them

Now that you remember how hot your partner is, let them know it. Talk to them, touch them, flirt with them. Let them know that you don’t want to spend time with anyone else. The feeling of being wanted somehow makes you more wanted, and it creates a whole new energy in motion.

Building our dreams in California

Cool down, then say I’m sorry

Arguing is inevitable, but road we fight is the real kicker. Adam and I can both be stubborn, but over the years we’ve gotten better at being the first to say sorry. We’ve learned that it helps to rest and soothe so we can honestly ask ourselves what role each of us plays in the disagreement. Owning it and apologizing goes a long way. Usually, we both realize that whatever we’re arguing about doesn’t matter anyway. When we release the need to be right, we can move forward together.

Always learning, always growing

There is always something to grow together

Shared goals and dreams for the future are always something we love to talk about. Whether we are starting a workout routine, backyard scene, starting a business or saving for a vacation is on the to-do list, a common challenge that brings so much life to our relationship. Some best chat happens when we pour a glass of wine and share dreams about the future. Even if we don’t actually do all of them, it reminds us that we are on each other’s team, building something together.

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