Y'all know I can't resist sharing a list with you guys, especially if the list contains five things (more of said lists here, here, and here). The number 5 has always been my lucky number, so it only makes sense that I should share another "5 Things" post on my fifth wedding anniversary! And buckle up because this is actually a list full of lists! I am who I am. 

This has, by far, been the strangest, year of marriage Greg and I have experienced (lest we forget the tornado, quarantine, and subsequent brief period of unemployment). But maybe since it's our fifth anniversary, that's a good omen?? Hope so!

July 11, 2015

Therefore, in honor of our fifth wedding anniversary, I consulted with Greg, and we decided to share five things we've learned over the last five years together.  I've considered doing wedding/marriage themed posts on our anniversary in years past, but I've always ended up deciding against it. Mostly because I don't feel like I'm a credible source for advice. ๐Ÿ˜‚ And specifically regarding wedding advice, my hesitancy towards sharing my thoughts is three fold: 
1. With the current events going on in the world, many couples are postponing or cancelling weddings, and unfortunately, I don't' have any experience with that. 
2. Most of my followers are not currently in the bride season of life. 
3. Other than my choice of groom, I found my own wedding to be, at best, underwhelming, and at worst...disappointing. 

I can give you a laundry list of what I would have done differently, but that’s a story for another day. Plus, it's not the most cheery of content, now is it? 

Honestly, when asked (which thankfully isn't often), the advice I give to young couples regarding weddings is this:

Save your money and ELOPE. Plan a celebratory party later. 
Spare no expense and have the wedding of your dreams.
There is no in between.

Personally, I was so concerned with budget and being seen as a bridezilla that I felt like I cut corners and compromised on so many things. And yet now, 5 years later, I can’t even remember most of that day. Riddle me that. So all of my stressing really wasn't even worth it. 
Regardless of how I perceive my own wedding day, I snagged a hottie husband out of it, so I’d still call it a win. 

We had our programs printed on fans because it was the hottest day of the century. 

Donuts from Ralph's instead of wedding cake!

SO! Moving onto the good stuff. 

5 Things We've Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

1. Communication is Key
I know that this point (maybe in this exact wording) can be found in almost every book or article touting relationship advice. But that's just because it's so true! In fact, pretty much every point I list after this somehow relates back to good communication. 

One of the most important things I've learned regarding communication is that, as much as you want them to, men. cannot. read. minds. ๐Ÿคช If you want your husband to do something or know something, you have to tell them. Sure, Greg has surprised me a few times and done something like clean the house while I'm stuck at work or plan a weekend getaway. But ultimately, you must communicate things that you want him to know.

Also, after being disappointed a few too many times (due to my lack of communication), I've started planning things myself. If I want to do something for my birthday, I organize it. If I want dinner reservations for Valentine's Day, I make the phone call.  Though I do think that Greg could stand to read between the lines a little bit more, I have to remind myself that it's not fair to hold him to standards that he never even knew existed. 

There's a phrase I've heard somewhere before that says something like, "expectation without communication leads to disappointment." This is something I'm still working on daily, but if you create a home that is a safe space to talk to each other about anything, you can freely communicate your expectations with one another and hopefully avoid disappointment and frustration! 

2. Determine the Vacation Planner
Growing up, my dad was always the vacation planner in our family. I think he literally enjoys the logistics of planning trips. Maybe more so than the actual trip! I always assumed it was a "man thing." However, Greg always experienced trip planning as a "woman thing" seeing as his mom usually booked all of their family vacays. Unfortunately, we didn't figure out this little discrepancy until a few years into our marriage. After a a couple of trips where we stayed in absolute DUMPS and Greg stressed about every detail, I realized that he truly hated organizing and planning. I offered to take over planning our getaways in the future, and his response was something along the lines of, "thank goodness, I thought you'd never ask." 

While this may be a silly example, the main point is to consider loosely defining some "roles" in your marriage. Know your own weaknesses and allow your spouse to take over when necessary and vice versa. It all goes back to the first point. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

3. Pray to be a better spouse.
Ask God to equip you with the tools and knowledge to better understand, appreciate, and respect your spouse. If you BOTH consistently pray for this, you’ll be on the right track. 

A Helpful Diagram

4. Remember the Past
Some of the things that annoy me the most about Greg are some of the qualities that initially attracted me to him: his steadfastness, predictability, responsibility, attention to detail, and sense of security. I try to really remember how appealing these attributes were (and still are) to me whenever they frustrate me. 

5. Go On Dates
This is another one of those obvious tips that you hear over and over again. But, again, that's because it's true! Greg and I try to have some form of a date night at least once a week (granted, it's been slim pickings recently thanks to the 'rona). It doesn't have to be anything super formal, but there's still something fun and special about looking nice and going out like you did when you were first dating. Even better, leave your phones in the car. That way you can truly converse, or dare I say, communicate?? 

We had a small wedding party with just our siblings and cousins. 

Now, I'm not pretending to be an expert on marriage. With just five years under our belts, Greg and I have a lot left to learn. But, these are the biggest nuggets of wisdom I've gleaned in the last five years. Whether you're engaged, newly married, or have spent a lifetime with your spouse, I hope a point or two from this list will resonate with you and inspire some new growth in your relationship.

To end, I thought it would be fun to share a few anniversary gift ideas. I'm a sucker for the traditional yearly anniversary gifts. If you didn't know that was a thing, give it a Google! It's so fun to see all of the old traditions and the new modern versions of gifts that people have come up with as well. Keep scrolling to get a few ideas (just for years 1-5...I don't have all day, people!). Even if you've been married longer than five years, or not at all, maybe you'll still get a few fresh gift ideas.

1st Anniversary: Paper
Think personalized stationary, a new bible, or a custom couples portrait!

2nd Anniversary: Cotton
Greg literally bought me a single stick of decorative faux cotton for our second anniversary. ๐Ÿ˜‚

3rd Anniversary: Leather
To all the men out there, Louis Vuitton makes excellent leather products. Just sayin'!

4th Anniversary: Fruit/Flowers
Honestly, the best thing you can do here is get an Edible Arrangement.

5th Anniversary: Wood
You can just use your imagination to guess what crude comment Greg made about a "wood" gift. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

What are some of the most important things you've learned in your relationships? Do you give traditional anniversary gifts or come up with your own? Maybe you opt for no gifts at all?? Let me know!

Wishing you all the best, forever and always!


*all photos by Zach and Sarah

*I receive a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
However, I simply promote the brands and products that I love, and all opinions are my own.*