1. Marriage is fucking hard until it's not. Don't give up on it. You'll never know if you were "two feet from gold." Early in my marriage, I literally hated my husband (and myself) after plenty of kicked out, dragged out fights. We both acted like our previously unmarried, immature selves, and until we got the immaturity out of our systems, marriage was taxing.
2. Sex is important. Don't stop having it or being good at it. Life will try to sneak up on you and steal your intimacy. Fight back tooth and nail. That bitch doesn't deserve a moment of YOUR orgasmic bliss.
3. Stay sexy! This isn't about being something you're not. Be you. Doesn't matter the skin you're in so long as you love the shit out of you. This love of you gives you the confidence to love hard outside of you too.
4. Haters gonna hate, especially on love. If you've worked hard on your marriage to make it look easy, then you're doing it right. Through it all, you'll be complimented and criticized (of course, the latter usually happening behind your back). Be attached to none of it. The haters will hate and the cheerleaders will cheer. Do you, do each other, and leave it at that.
5. Eventually I had to accept it, I am not always right. I come from a strong family of hardheaded mo-fos! Marriage taught me to drop my cool and stop trying to win every debate. Things got easier when I stopped closing out the world from my righteous bubble.
6. Marriage isn't a fairytale, but I won't settle for anything less than GREAT. It is never selfish to get consistently better at marriage. Sure, you could have a good marriage, but good is the enemy of great. Go for great, always.
7. Kids consuming your life kills sex drive and intimacy, so keep those boogers at bay. Do whatever it takes for them... feed, cloth, love, protect, and all that jazz, but never EVER make them the center of your marriage. You and your spouse come first.
8. Throughout marriage you'll lose friends, not to worry. Marriage will take your time and focus. It will disconnect you from some and connect you to others. Go with what feels right. Now, I don't mean to say become friendless, but friendships WILL change. Find authentic friends who will influence your marriage positively even if that means having a smaller circle of great friends.
9. When "push comes to shove" be the real you... the most "ugly" and vulnerable you. In that rawness, marriage gets bigger and better. It's okay to emotionally fall apart with each other, if not with one another, then with who? Plus, it's this breakthrough in connection that takes weakening unions to the next level.
10. Protect boundaries: sexual, emotional, and physical boundaries alike. Pushing boundaries can be dangerous for the sanctity of good love. Proceed with caution.
11. Everyone pushes their OWN little red wagon. This isn't 1952, men AND women do housework in 2016. Together they made those babies, so they sure as hell get to raise them TOGETHER. Besides, to me, there's nothing hotter than a guy doing handy work. Today, I witnessed my hubby bathe our son while simultaneously hosting a tea party and reading session with our daughter. SWOON!
12. Safeguard against contention. You know that couple that passive aggressively snaps at each other and sucks the air out of the room? Yeah, don't be them. They're headed towards Splitsville. Studies have shown that contentious marriages are deteriorating marriages with a high probability of divorce. Project yours from such a slow and malicious death.
13. Don't compare yourself to other couples. Avoid looking outward for validation or direction. Look inside yourselves where your unique struggles and strengths lead to the perfect rhythm for a lasting relationship.
14. Your children will marry their parents. Be the best example for them. Those little sponges are watching where your union is weak and where it is strong, so be very careful not to model disaster. They deserve better after all. If you don't settle for a crummy marriage they won't settle for one either.
15. We're never done learning or changing. My marriage is only ten years young. As it evolves and changes, so will we. With that, I embrace change with every passing day. Still change is often uncomfortable and hard. That doesn't make it bad, so I'll accept it as it comes and evolve alongside it.
What are the lessons you've learned in love?