5 Lessons From 5 Years of Marriage

By Rachel O’Neill, Contributing Writer

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As of June 28th, 2013, my husband Niall and I have been married for 5 years. While I can hardly believe how the time has flown, it is also hard to imagine life before marriage! By God’s grace, marriage has been a wonderful tool for sanctification in both of our lives.

Marriage has taught me a lot, though I still have so much to learn. It is difficult to narrow down my observations, but I thought that I would share with you all 5 of the more significant lessons I’ve learned in our first five years.

5 Lessons Learned

1. Sometimes a conflict is best resolved in the morning.

Many nights Niall and I stayed up late, wrestling through a disagreement, no end in sight, only growing more tired and frustrated. Our intention was to honor Ephesians 4:26-27; “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Unresolved conflict can certainly welcome the devil into your marriage!

However, sometimes it is best to kiss, confirm your love for your spouse, and just go to bed, with the agreement that you can work out the details on the morrow. The direst argument can shine with new hope and light after a good night’s sleep. This is not negating the teaching of Ephesians 4- you can choose to put away your anger before going to sleep- rather, it is agreeing to work through the nitty-gritty of your disagreement at a time when you are both feeling refreshed and renewed in your minds.

2. I am my biggest problem {my spouse is not!}.

It is all too easy to point the finger when things aren’t going my way. If I remember that I am a huge sinner in need of God’s constant mercy and grace, my entire perspective shifts. Instead of digging out splinters in my husband’s eye, I must first address the log in my own. Dave Harvey’s book When Sinners Say I Do {only $1.99 on the kindle right now!!} is an excellent treatise on this subject! I highly recommend it to you.

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3. Be approachable.

To my chagrin, there have been too many times that my husband has been unable to address an issue in my life because of my unreasonable self-defensiveness. When you ask your spouse for constructive criticism, be sure you are willing to receive it and to respond graciously. While it can be hard to hear about your sin and shortcomings, being approachable is a tangible way you can show love to your husband or wife. It gives them the hope that you want to change, and that you are responding to God’s working in your life.

4. Men and women have different understandings of respect and love.

I want to honor my husband with my words and attitude towards him- but sometimes I’ve been surprised when he reads disrespect into speech that I thought was acceptable. It is an honest enough mistake, neither of us are in the wrong. Communication on this issue should lead to change in me, however. I need to allow Niall to define what respecting him looks like, and seek to honor that {even if it doesn’t always make sense to my female brain}.

The same goes for husbands learning to love their wives- what makes your wife feel loved? Are you seeking to love her in the way she best receives it?

5. When Christ is central, everything else falls into place.

Five years hasn’t come without ups and downs. There have been times of financial struggle, trying physical circumstances, and painful moments of loss and grief. Yet I’ve been so blessed to find that as Niall and I seek the Lord first, our bond grows sweeter and tighter, and He mercifully supplies all of our needs {be they physical, spiritual, material, or emotional}. Individual time in the Word, and prayer {both private and as a couple} make all the difference in our response to life and our enjoyment of one another. Five years have shown me that God is ever so faithful to His children!

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What significant lessons have you learned in your time as a married person? Did any of these lessons surprise you or challenge previously held notions?

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Comments

  1. I have learn in my 9 years Of marriage that I can’t change my Husband only God can, And the only Way to Bring him close to God is By being a Christian is living like Christ, Also being quiet not argumentative…. 1 peter 1:3-6

  2. Mandy S says:

    Wow-I wish I could say the same for me and my husband. We will have been married 5 years this November. I only recently really started trying to find out how to truly respect my husband in the biblical sense. It seems the harder I try, the harder it is to do. We get into fights a lot and its all issues with communication, not showing love to one another based on love languages, etc. I hate that my 1 year old sees us argue and I try so hard not to around him. Do you have any advice??

  3. After 22 years of marraige, I can say that these are still some of the most important lessons a woman can learn! Wish I had caught on to some of these earlier.

  4. Yes Rosie! These are excellent insights. Completely agree!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing this Angela! That is encouraging :). Though I certainly have a long way to go in applying them!

  6. In almost 26 years of marriage, one of the main lessons I’ve learned is that words can’t be taken back. Oh, forgiveness may be sought by me or offered by him, however, that doesn’t change the fact that they can’t be undone. Also, I wish I had listened to all that marital advice I was given so long ago! I wish we had never tarnished our treasure in any way as is prone to happen in taking such a long journey together. Still, that’s what Godly reconciliation is for and it’s so beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing this!