Next weekend, one of my dearest friends is getting married.

Last weekend, we celebrated her upcoming nuptials with some wine and dining. I’m not in the wedding—not for a lack of trying to squeeze myself in—but the whole ordeal has me thinking about marriage. This summer, my husband and I will be celebrating five years of marriage, and towards the end of this year we will celebrate almost a decade of being a couple.

My husband and I still have a long ways to go before we become that older, wiser couple at weddings. You know, the ones with the real advice about what it is like to ride the marriage rollercoaster. However, I do think we have learned a few things along the way.

I have learned that not turning off power strips and checking the dryer lint trap between every load can single handedly drive my husband to divorce, and Chris has learned that there is a “right” way to load the dishes into the dishwasher and a very, very wrong way to fold towels.

We have both learned that a little laughter and an inappropriate joke can go a long way in those tense evenings when we are both too exhausted from work to make small talk.

We have learned that folding the ten baskets of laundry I wash over the weekend is painless when we knock it out together.

Chris has learned that commenting on my house cleaning skills — or lack thereof during the school year — is never a good idea.

I have learned that sometimes as men get older they become obsessed with the appearance of the lawn, and I have learned that any comment regarding the lawn other than “Looks great!” is always a bad idea.

We have learned that saying nothing is sometimes better than saying anything. There are days when we can just tell that the other one had “one of those days” and we have come to realize on those days, it is best to let the other one be.

A huge thing that we have learned since adding kids to the equation is the importance for “us” time. This isn’t always a vacation to Jamaica — even though we are doing that in July — but sometimes it is just a private conversation about something we saw in the news after the kids go to bed or a late night Taco Bell run so we can munch on tacos while binge watching one of our favorite HBO shows. Sometimes it is just a short hug while I’m standing by the stove cooking dinner. Even when the two becomes four, we have found that it is important to be just us from time to time.

Given that we travel over 1,200 miles one-way trip together once or twice a year to see our folks, we have learned that there can be no “real” talk in the car. When two married people are stuck in the car together for at least 20 hours, it is a bad, bad idea to get in a fight about the number of kids you want or the current status of your financial situation because there is no empty room to stomp off to or any bedroom doors to slam when you’re stuck in a car. This many years into traveling together, we try our best to say as little as possible to each other and usually aim to choose all dining choices beforehand.

We have learned that yelling is waste of time. Five years ago, I was quite the spitfire, but nowadays I find myself more mellow. When the electric bill comes and it is way more expensive because we left our Christmas lights up too long or when the water bill is high because the kids insist on filling the bathtub too full each night, I tend to shrug it off. I’ve learned that things somehow always work out and fighting about our frustrations with each other is usually just a waste of time.

Beyond all, I have learned that this marriage is a team sport. We chose to play the game of life together and the only way to win is to play as a team.

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