When someone turns 20, people usually comment on how young they are and how much life they’ve yet to live. When a marriage turns 20, though, all of a sudden the two ‘someones’ in it are deemed wise and experienced and able to dole out all kinds of meaningful advice. The funny thing is, whether they’re in their late thirties or into their fifties…those two individuals probably still feel 20 themselves. That’s life, right? You’ll always feel like a teenager – at least on the inside. And, you’ll always make mistakes you hope to build on in order to grow and make better decisions next time. As Jeremy and I see our marriage turn 20 today, first of all…WOW! It feels like a lifetime and just a day all at once. God has been faithful and so good over the last two decades of wonderful and hard years! As I reflect, I don’t find myself overflowing with amazing, sage wisdom to share with those who’ve been married for less time. Instead, I’ve found it’s all about what I’ve picked up on along the journey. I have 20 quick takeaways. Little tidbits of realization that have come through years of late night arguments, periods of giddy infatuation, and hard-learned lessons we both really hope will lead to an even better 20 years to come. So, I’m offering them to you. Consider this list a gift you can choose to accept, reject, or pass along to another couple who may seriously laugh about how much we still don’t know. And, to my love…Happy Anniversary, Sweet Face. Let’s keep going.

20 Quick Takeaways from 20 Years of Marriage…

  • Marry the person he or she is…not the person you want them to be.
  • God has to be in the center of everything, not an afterthought.
  • You’re going to fight. Learn to do it in a way that doesn’t harm your relationship.
  • Go on adventures. Never stop experiencing life together!
  • Issues from your past? Find the help you need with a pastor, a counselor, or both!
  • Talk about parenting BEFORE kids. Before marriage.
  • Make room for what’s important to your spouse: being alone, a hobby, exercise, etc.
  • Eat dinner at the table at least a few times a week.
  • You are not perfect. Neither is he or she. Try to remember that.
  • Hold hands.
  • Share the housework but don’t keep score. You’ll do more sometimes. It’s OK.
  • No matter how hard things are or how angry you are in the moment, it will get better. Hold off on saying or doing something you’ll regret when it does!
  • Give 10% of your income to God and save 10%. Use the rest for expenses.
  • Hold each other when you are sad. Keep holding on tight.
  • Talk long and hard about major decisions. Pray longer and harder about them.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to compliment your spouse – especially in public!
  • Unexpressed expectations cannot be met.
  • Treat each other the way you hope your child’s future spouse will treat him or her.
  • Don’t compare your marriage or your spouse with anyone else’s. Not anyone’s.
  • Dance in the kitchen.

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