The Marriage Mistakes

Today is my eighth wedding anniversary.  I have three thoughts about that:

1.  I’m thankful that we’ve made it this long.
2.  We’re old.
3.  I wish I didn’t screw up the first six years.

I was 22 when we got married back in 2005.  Thus, I didn’t know anything.  Unsurprisingly, we got off to a rocky start.  Three days before our wedding, Amanda wanted to pull a “Runaway Bride” and ditch everything.  She told me to marry one of her non-sister bridesmaids instead.  That would have been awkward for Amanda’s family who showed up for the wedding.

Thankfully, I didn’t get left at the altar.
The Mistakes of Marriage

Law school and the pressures of teaching a classroom full of middle school kids didn’t help.  Neither did watching too much trashy TV.  We talked about divorce in 2009.  We talked about divorce in 2010.  We talked about it a lot more in 2011.  However, by the grace of God, we stuck it out, mostly because neither one of us wanted to be responsible for taking the dog out twice a day.  Back in October 2011, I returned from a ten-day trip to Turkey, and BAM, everything was different.  We got the fresh start we desperately needed.

Wedding Chapel

Although I’m not a marriage expert and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I’ve learned these important lessons from my many mistakes over the past eight years:

(1)  Your wedding is not that important.  Yep, it should be a fun, amazing, and joyous day of celebration.  However, it’s just one day.  Don’t lose sight of the person you are marrying and why you are marrying him or her because you’re too stressed about floral arrangements and seating assignments.

(2)  I love TV.  I love the internet.  However, I’ve spent way too much time looking at screens over the past eight years instead of hanging with my wife.  I regret that.  The two of you sitting on the couch while you each stalk people on Facebook or watch “Heroes” shouldn’t count as your “quality” time (especially because “Heroes” sucked after the first season).

(3)  Work is important.  School is important.  Neither is more important than a relationship with your spouse.  It’s hard to live that out day-to-day, but if you don’t, those lost days will quickly turn into months and years.

(4)  When you get mad at your spouse, it’s easy to start thinking about how your life would be so much better if you were single or if you had married someone else.  Don’t go down that road.  It usually leads to dark places full of discontent and lies.

(5)  Don’t dwell on old drama.  It’s fun, in some sort of twisted way, to reopen old wounds and play the blame game.  However, those types of shenanigans will poison your relationship with bitterness.  You need to learn from past mistakes, not dwell on them.

To avoid ending on a serious and depressing note, here’s a picture of our dog wearing sunglasses:

Napoleon Sunglasses

35 thoughts on “The Marriage Mistakes

  1. I’ve read so many things similar to this from a wife’s perspective and it’s nice to see the same sentiment echoed from the husband. Happy Anniversary!

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  3. Dude, your story is going to speak to so many young couples in the years to come (it’s already happening now). True generational impact! Glad you guys stuck it out. Em and I had our 8th anniversary earlier this year. #vanburenboys

  4. Glad you guys stuck it out.. otherwise it would have been awkward to hang out with you both, and I’d have to pick Amanda over you =)

  5. YES to number 1!!! I wish weddings were thought of differently in our culture. Ours was super duper small and simple. We spent more money on pre-marital counseling than we did on our wedding! I think since we were in our 30s already we just had a different perspective. And I think more people should talk about/admit how their weddings were really nice, but if they were to do it over they might do it differently. Thanks for sharing :).

  6. I’m so thankful you guys stuck it out! I couldn’t imagine having to win the approval from your new wife😏. J/k but I certainly couldn’t imagine you paired up with anyone else! I remember how taken back I was when I first heard you say “we’d talked about divorce”. 😦 I really was so surprised. You both put on a great act like everything was fine. I really look up to you both as role models! You both are a fine example of the perfect couple! I love you both, and those twins, even though I don’t know those cats yet! Thanks for pulling through guys! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  7. You’ve always been real, Andrew. Thanks for keeping it that way. Jackie and I love the blog and this is why. Being on the other end of the law school gig has not been easy, but we are almost through it (and the Vermont winter).

    Our trashy show was “Castle.” How trashy is that?

    • Thanks, Will. That means a lot, dude. Good luck to y’all finishing the law school endeavor. Our trashy TV shows were all on MTV and VH1. It’s hard to get worse than that. Merry Christmas!

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