19 Lessons Learned from 19 Years of Marriage to a Cowboy
October marked 19 years that my husband Cody and I have been married. Since we were barely 19 years old back then, I have a hard time remembering what life was like without him. In honor of 19 years of marriage to my Cowboy, I have put together a list of 19 lessons learned. Please keep in mind that these are helpful for us, especially when we apply them daily. I have to assure you all that we are not perfect and are always learning and striving to overcome our weaknesses. I do know that all marriages are different and what works for us may not work for yours.
Okay, so now let’s get started (these are in not any particular order):
1. Marriage is not a 50/50 type of relationship – This one was something that I had to learn the hard way. You see, this belief caused us to fight a lot until we figured out that we both must set aside selfishness and give everything we have, over and over, to make our relationship successful. We both have to give 100% each.
2. Stay humble – we all are imperfect, right? Yes, we are, and we need to be humble enough to admit it. It is our human nature to be right all the time, but we all know that is not ever going to happen, making humility essential. When Cody and I have a situation we don’t agree on, I have noticed that my attitude can change our disagreement from a fight to just a talk, especially if I can admit that I am wrong, we find the solution a lot faster.
3. Kindness – this character trait should be at the top of our list each and everyday.
4. Communication – we have learned that communication is so important. Chat with each other. I cannot assume that Cody can read my mind and I know that I can not read Cody’s mind either, especially working cattle! We have learned that if something little is bothering us and we let it fester, then we eventually will have a huge disagreement. Communication whether it is good, bad or ugly, talking is so important in a marriage.
5. Listening – Communication is a two-way street where you have to listen as well. Understanding where each other is coming from is important, and that can only happen if you stop and listen.
6. Marriage, then the kids – this one is a tough one because our maternal instincts come out, but we have learned that it is so important to put “us” before “them”. We have learned that if we neglect our relationship while raising our kids, we slowly grow apart. I also believe that it is important for our kids to see their parents spending time together. We need to be good examples to our kids and it is okay to close our doors and have some quiet time with each other. In addition to this, children gain a sense of security when they know their parents are happy.
7. “Don’t go to bed mad” – On our wedding day, my grandpa, who was in his 90’s, gave us this advice. He was so right.
8. It is okay to have differences – differences actually can be a blessing. We are different, Cody is quiet while I am not!! Cody is reserved and I am outgoing. Cody is a planner and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. You see, while sometimes our differences may cause a little conflict, we try to pull each other out of our comfort zones. Our differences make our life interesting, exciting and cause us to grow. I think that it is a blessing.
9. Don’t try to change each other – Ever tried to change someone? It does not work. The only person that can be me is me. The same is in a marriage. Don’t try to change your spouse. One of the turning points in our marriage is when I figured out that I should support Cody, not change him.
10. Make time for Date Nights – You don’t have GO OUT on the town, a simple alone time is considered a date to us. We go horseback riding, 4-wheeler riding, we go check water together and sometimes we just put the kids to bed and have a glass of wine together.
11. Don’t talk bad about each other in front of friends and family – talking bad about each other will do more harm than good and to be honest, it really gets you nowhere fast. This also includes calling each other bad names.
12. Money – it is important to get on the same page about money. Finances break up a lot of marriages. If you both commit your hearts to God and follow His leading by releasing, in your heart, your money to Him, then you will move forward together.
13. Laugh, Smile, Be Silly – Laughing together can take the edge off many stressful situations. Doesn’t it make a day go by faster when you can laugh, smile and be silly? You bet it does.
14. Compromise – We have learned that we never get anywhere if we are both not willing to bend. We are different, so we must rely on compromise.
15. Take a look outside the box – There is more to marriage and life than what is going on right now. Cody and I talked about this one last night as we were on our anniversary date. Romance and love looks a lot different after 19 years of marriage than it did when were were newlyweds and we think it is better.
16. Never let your praying knees get lazy – I know that this is the key factor in keeping our marriage stable. Having God in the center of our marriage helps keep our life agenda on track.
17. Have a good partnership – marriage is a partnership, it is made up of two different individuals that have different goals. We need to acknowledge that we need room to grow this partnership and this partnership works together as a team. So while Cody is good at breaking horses, I am better at giving them treats!! You see what I mean?
18. Don’t lie – ever. Always the tell the truth. That is all.
19. Forgive and forget – we all do dumb things in our life and in marriage and I get that, but we have found it crucial to be willing to apologize and a be ready to forgive each other. Did I mention that you have to do this over and over and over!!
Bonus – Service is love in action. Cody needs hugs and kissing while I am receive love through gifts. We have learned what the other needs. When we figured these this out, our marriage life got 10 times better!!
There you have it, friends. This list is not exhaustive, and I would sure love to hear what you have learned in your marriages. Feel free to share in the comments section so we can all learn from each other.