Lady Hiva and I celebrate completing our 5th year of marriage today!
Feeling loved and accepted is one of the basic needs in life. Lady Hiva and I talk often how we hope, and pray, that all people in life find someone that makes them feel special and needed. I am thankful that I am married to Lady Hiva—it took some convincing (if you have read White Lilies in Autumn you know she tried to run away a few times! But persistence paid off! Haha) for her to marry me.
The day we married, we took a chance on each other. I loved Lady then, but today, five years later, I can say I love and respect her deeper and more full. I am married to my best friend. She is one of the strongest, most compassionate people I know. I am blessed every day by her giving nature and calm spirit.
Now, I don’t want to insinuate that we, or our marriage, is perfect. Marriage takes work. There are ups and there are downs. Together you face trials, misunderstandings and culture shock as you try to blend your ideals, personalities and goals. We are constantly working at it. Some days we do really well, other days we set goals to do better the next day.
Here are 15 Reasons why I (WE—Lady Hiva and I went over them together and talked them through) believe the last 5 years of marriage have been amazing:
(These are not necessarily in order of importance)
1. Make Your Spouse Your Best FriendIt is tempting, even after we are married, to spend time with our girl or guy friends and away from our spouse. The reality is, our spouse ought to be our best friend. They are the ones we confide in, laugh with and cry with. Lady Hiva and I have made it a goal to never holiday apart or find reasons to be away from each other. Yes, you need moments of space, but we are happiest when we are together.
2. Be Honest
The most basic part of any relationship is trust. This is especially true of a marriage. Being open and honest, even when it is awkward or hard to do is the only way to build trust. Both Lady and I have what we call “trust issues.” We highly value honesty and trust and when someone violates that trust it is hard to regain it—if they ever do. We have found it is easier to just be honest with ourselves and our spouses to begin with. It takes a humble and mature person to do it, but it makes a difference.
3. Be Humble
There is no room in a marriage for blame. We all do things wrong, it’s true. Sometimes we even need to be corrected or ask for forgiveness. The only way those can be done is if we avoid blaming and we approach the situation with humility and love.
4. It’s OK to disagree—IF you work it out
Each of us has different conflict styles. Lady Hiva is an avoider, I confront the issue head on. We learned early on in our marriage that we both had to alter our conflict styles. She had open up more about what was bothering her and I have to not bull-doze. We have realized that it is alright to disagree. Working out differences keeps a relationship healthy. Hiding the problem only causes problems later. We know which topics are “hot” topics for each of us and we only approach those when we are both ready to talk openly and civilly.
5. Never Argue or Embarrass Your Spouse in PublicThere are times when one of us does something the other doesn’t like or appreciate. However, we learned that we cannot, ever, argue or embarrass each other in front of other people. We have all been in the car, or at a dinner with another couple and it gets really awkward fast when a couple starts to bicker or demean each other. It shouldn’t happen—it is degrading and uncalled for.
6. Find Mutual Hobbies
We all have different hobbies and favorite past times. Find a few that you can enjoy together. That means that both of you may have to try something you don’t necessarily enjoy because that is what your spouse likes. Lady and I read together (we even read Twilight—yikes!), we do crafts, cakes, cook, exercise, find adventures, travel together and enjoy nature.
7. Believe in each other’s dreamsLong before we were married we had dreams for our lives. Your spouse should be your biggest cheerleader and support system. No dream is dumb, worthless, or problematic. If you cannot tell your spouse a dream, who can you tell? When we were married Lady wanted to be a mother and a doctor. We have worked together to try and get them both, we still have to figure out how to get her MD. Lady also supported me as we move all over the world and as I published a book.
8. Go on Dates and say ‘I love you.’
Keep the romance and intimacy alive and healthy. Being unselfish is key. Trying to find ways to care for and love your spouse makes a huge difference. Something as small as saying “I love you” or making sure to hug or kiss as you depart each day makes a difference. When we first were married Lady was embarrassed to even hold my hand in public, but she has outgrown that (thankfully). We try to go on weekly dates. The last few months with new babies in our home, our date nights consist of watching Harry Potter movies or turning on ‘The Newly Wed Game’ and answering the questions too to see how well we do.
9. Pray together
Nothing brings Lady Hiva and I closer than finding time to pray or read scriptures together. Those two things have brought us through some rough patches.
10, Complement each other
We may think about how great our spouse is, but do we tell them? No matter who we are or how ‘highly’ we are respected, we need to know people accept and love us as we are. Small, genuine, compliments make a enormous difference. On the flip side, there is no room in a marriage for sarcasm or biting criticisms.
11. Listen and share your feelings
It is pretty hard to have a relationship without communicating. It is easy to fall into a rut where you live in the same house, but you don’t communicate. Hiding behind work, kids or events distract from really talking. Find time to really open up (back to the trust thing) and be willing to listen. Nobody will share deep feelings if they feel the other person won’t respect what is being said. Your marriage should be a ‘safe’ haven to just be yourself.
12. Cry together
Crying could be viewed as weakness. But the one person you should always feel comfortable breaking down after a stressful day or a heart wrenching trial is your spouse. Lady Hiva and I have shared many, many moments of breaking down. It isn’t pretty and in those moments you are the most vulnerable but your spouse is there to see it all and love you anyway.
13. Laugh together
Humor—not sarcasm—but true humor makes any stressful situation more bearable. Find moments to laugh together.
14. Set goals together
Nothing is completed without first setting a goal. Set goals with your spouse and write them down. Lady Hiva and I sit down on New Year’s Eve every year and set goals together. We have personal goals and family goals. These range from developing talents and traits to financial and relationship goals. We work throughout the year to accomplish them and if we don’t cross them off them are automatically included on the next year. Having goals together sets a mutual understanding for where you are going as a couple and family.
15. Remember that life won’t be how you planned it, but ENJOY the journey
Never, in all our expectations, could we anticipate what we would have had to face both triumphs and tragedies. Lady Hiva and I joked that our marriage could be its own reality show! Things have happened we wish we could have stopped and wonderful things we didn’t expect. But through it all, we found joy in the journey. Here are some fun facts about our journey the last five years:
5 years of marriage for Dust and Lady Hiva:
· Overcame nerves of the risk of commitment to marriage and made it 5 YEARS!
· Made countless memories
· Had seven children come into our lives and watched as six of them were taken away
· Owned 4 cars together: Jade, Oji-san, Boeing, and Mongoose
· Lived in 7 houses in 3 cities and 2 different countries
· Traveled thousands of miles by plane, train, bus, car and Lady Hiva’s favorite: walking (she really doesn’t like it. Last time we were at Disney she told me that if we stayed for extra hours I would have to pack her because her feet hurt. So I did! Haha)
· Been to 9 countries: Hong Kong, USA, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Bahamas
· Seen 27 different States together
· Read hundreds of pages of books together. As I said before this includes Harry Potter, Twilight, the Work and the Glory Series, and many more.
· Both us graduated from college
· Became debt free
· We bought a house
· Served in several callings in church
· Learned new hobbies: cake decorating, sewing, swimming, scrapbooking/cricut, flower arrangements,
· Went sky diving
· Gained weight. Lost weight. Gained it back again.
I love you Lady! Here's to many more years!