I love this picture from our wedding. We had a great photographer and he snapped this special moment between Bret and I. I posted on Facebook that on this day 10 years ago I married my prince and I thanked Bret for giving me our happily ever after.
10 years has gone so quickly. We have moved countless times, had four children, graduated from various programs and grown up a lot together. To celebrate our anniversary we went to an all inclusive resort with two other couple in Jamaica. It was a great time and we relished every moment of it. On one of the last days there we met a couple at the swim up bar pool who were there on their honeymoon. The crazy part was that they were from KS also and he was getting ready to start medical school at KU where Bret attended.
It was crazy to see a version of Bret and I ten years ago starting the same crazy journey. We wouldn't trade places with them for all of the crazy amounts of student loan debt we accrued :)
After ten years of marriage here are some of the things that I have learned. Choosing the right life partner means more than just falling in love. A priest once told Bret and I that we should spend at least twice as much time preparing for our marriage as we do preparing for the wedding. He was so right. As part of getting married in the Catholic church we went through some crazy marriage prep. We were required to meet with a marriage counselor 6 times, we had a two day marriage encounter workshop, several meetings with our priest, and a workshop on family planning.
The tools these experiences gave us are things we relied on heavily over the years. Topics we covered were things like money management, family planning, how to fight fair, future goals, and how important keeping God at the center is. Marriage is hard because life is sometimes hard. Your marriage doesn't exist in a bubble so when you throw in stress, hard times, family, jobs, money, and moving things can get rough.
I have learned that even though Bret and I love each other very much it is OK to not always like each other all the time. I have also learned that as Bret's wife my vow is to love him unconditionally. It took me a long time to understand that sometimes that meant loving him even if I didn't feel like he "earned it" or "deserved it".
I think that the most important thing that both Bret and I have learned in 10 years is that sometimes you have to fight for your marriage. There have been some rough times over these past ten years. During our first year of marriage there were some fights that I would say "I can't do this anymore". After things blew over Bret and I had a long chat and he told me that every time I get upset or angry I couldn't throw the whole..."I'm done" or "I can't do this anymore". He told me that we had to trust each other not to give up and to really commit to do everything we can to make our marriage work. I think what we both really meant at this time was "I don't know how to do this" being whatever it was that we were fighting over. At the point 10 years ago we took the option of divorce off the table it became a lot easier to find a way to work through the tough times.