7 Things We Learned in 7 Years of Marriage
It’s our anniversary. Here are 7 things we’ve learned in the first 7 years of marriage.
I (Tim) remember being shocked when I saw this graph is from Daniel Gilbert’s bestselling book, “Stumbling on Happiness”. It that shows marital satisfaction decreases when children are born, and does not rise until children leave for college!
These results are from four separate studies. (Note: The sharp contrast in the graph is a bit deceiving. The numbers on the left start at 46 and end at 56, but I’m pretty sure marital satisfaction in the studies was measured on a scale of 1 to 100.)
Now, having two young children, I can see how this is very true. I love my two girls. They bring me so much joy. But they also bring me so much work.
There is so much responsibility that comes with parenting – these little people rely on us to survive, to grow, and to be happy. Olive and I cannot put off or ignore the work of parenting.
They need to eat.
They need to be clothed.
They need to be cleaned.
Our children need to sleep.
That leaves much less ‘us’ time.
Less time for dating.
Less time for movies together.
Less time for going out to eat.
Less time for sex.
Less time for conversation.
There is no doubt that our marital satisfaction has decreased since having children. Maybe other couples are somehow able to keep their marital satisfaction the same after having kids (if this is you, please contact me and let me know your secret… as long as your secret is not being super rich and having 3 nannies, 4 servants, and a chauffeur.)
The reality of how parenting affects marital satisfaction has made me appreciate how intentional Olive and I were in building a strong foundation in our marriage in the early years. We were able to create memories together by travelling and trying new experiences. We learned to fight well and resolve conflict. We read books, talked to mentors, attended conferences to learn how to build our marriage. We built a deeper friendship by having fun together and enjoying each other’s company. We developed a shared and compelling vision for our life together. Each of these things have helped to develop a strong foundation for our marriage, which has handled the additional strain that comes with raising children.
1st thing: Appreciation Strengthens Marriage
2nd thing: Margin Helps Our Marriage
3rd thing: As Strong as the Weakest
5th thing: Bring Out the Best
6th thing: Waiting Together, the Hard Times
7th thing: Rich Traditions