1. Not vacationing sooner with my wife. I met a woman who loved travel. This defined her. My sweetheart stopped traveling when we got married and began having children. I hadn't realized she was sacrificing part of her for us. Now, we travel at least once annually (sometimes up to three times a year). What's important to her, is important to me.
2. Not admitting we needed help sooner. Once the newlywed haze faded, my marriage had issues I thought we alone could fix. I didn't think we needed outside help. Eventually I understood our church, friends, family, and even own self-improvement (books, retreats, etc.) was meant to make us better at this whole marriage thing and the struggles that came with it.
3. Not understanding sooner that my wife wasn't here to cater to my needs and my needs alone. Everyone has their own messy life to get through, it isn't her job to fix me. It's my job to fix me.
4. Fighting about the fight! How many times does a fight start and the reason it started gets lost mid-fight? Before you know it, you're fighting about crazy things said during a fight, someone's tone, or even their silence. This is an exercise in futility. You end up going in circles likely escalating an issue and losing sight of why it began.
5. Not embracing sooner the work it takes to really make a marriage work. Dating folks and newlyweds have it easy (or at least it's suppose to come easy in the beginning), but hard work is required to make marriage last over the long haul. It took me too long to understand this, and once I did, I was better at being the best I could be for me, my wife, and our children.
6. Trying to change my husband! At first, I didn't realize I was always trying to make my husband "more like me". I had to stop demanding he be anything other than himself. For instance, he HATES washing dishes. Nothing I do or say will change that. If that's so then why the hell did I spend years fighting about dishes? This is the same man who would gladly do 8 hours of any labor intensive work. Screw having him do dishes like I always do. We are different and that's good in so many ways.
7. Making my husband the bad guy after every fight. I often wanted to place blame on my husband when things went wrong or we disagreed. It was a sad reaction. A reaction I wish I was aware of sooner. Now, I stop when arguments get heated and do my darnedest to admit when I am wrong.
8. Not consistently showing my husband how much I desire him. It feels like he wants sex all the time. Truth is that's not the case. He wants to feel desired and I can damn well show him often how much I love and desire him with not only sex, but my words and actions. Authentically expressing my desires for him keeps him happier, more connected, and connection is one of my biggest needs. It's a win-win!
9. Pretending we were something we weren't when things were hard. Early on I wanted to hide every detail of what went wrong with us. There was no need to hide it and become alienated from loved ones because of it. I am now proud of our battle wounds. After I began sharing the real struggles of our marriage with confidants, I felt more sincere in my life, and how we lived it. Plus, our lessons can help others going through similar challenges. Oddly enough some challenges began to go away the more transparent we became. There's a lot of growth in honesty.
10. YELLING! I've done plenty through the years. It never ever works or ends well. I still yell from time to time, but I sure as hell understand I am hurting communication instead of helping it.
What have you regretted through the years?