My husband and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary, and it got me thinking about our relationship and how far we’ve come over the years. From high school sweethearts to college newlyweds, to first-time parents—these last 18 years have been full of adventure.

Looking back, we didn’t always have the best of things. But we always made the best of everything that came our way. Here’s a list of 10 things my marriage has taught me!

1. It gets better with time. Nothing flourishes overnight. Great relationships need time to blossom and mature. After being married for almost two decades, my husband is not just my partner, but also my best friend. That’s because time has a way of bringing people closer.

In marriage—and in life in general—time helps us appreciate others on a deeper level. It teaches us patience, compassion, and acceptance, and opens our eyes to see what’s truly valuable in life.

2. Date nights are essential. If I had to give marital advice in only three words, it would be, “Never stop dating.” Having regular date nights with my husband has really kept the spark in our marriage over the years. For couples, date nights give you time to communicate, have fun, show affection, and switch up your usual routine, which helps increase happiness and relieve marital stress.

RELATED: I Really Love Date Night

3. Spending time apart is important. Yes, couples should spend quality time together to strengthen their relationship. But spending time apart is equally important. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and is absolutely necessary for self-care, reflecting, and prioritizing individuality.

4. Every day won’t be a good day. You will have bad days in your marriage—but don’t let them define you. Instead of dwelling on your frustrations, be mindful of the bad days. Notice when things aren’t going smoothly and focus your energy elsewhere. Who’s at fault isn’t as important as giving each other a little space during difficult moments. When the time is right, you can talk things over in a healthy manner.

5. Communication is key. Sometimes we become frustrated from feeling misunderstood in our relationships. But in many instances, we only feel misunderstood because we’re not effectively communicating.

To avoid confusion, and maintain a peaceful marriage, we must learn how to communicate our feelings, opinions, and expectations. Good communication builds trust and understanding, strengthens respect, and is an important part of any relationship.

6. Prayer is powerful. To remain happily married, you must have more than just a physical connection. Prayer moves us beyond the physical realm and connects us on a spiritual level. The more I pray with my spouse, the greater things happen in our lives. Prayer is a key component of a healthy marriage. It brings you and your partner closer together and gives you the strength to face life’s toughest challenges.

7. Boundaries are essential. It’s perfectly okay to set limits with your partner. Boundaries allow you to respect and protect your own wants, needs, feelings, and desires. Learning when to say yes and when to say no teaches you how to honor your time, space, peace, and energy, which is essential for maintaining your marriage and your sanity.

RELATED: Dear Husband, I Am With You Even When It’s Hard

8. You’re responsible for your happiness. The beautiful thing about marriage is having someone to bond and share life experiences with. But when it comes down to it, we’re each responsible for our own happiness.

In 18 years of marriage, I’ve learned that happiness, love, health, and wholeness must all start within. To be happily married, we must take ownership of our own moods, needs, worth, and desires. Your happiness will inevitably increase when you share it with the right person, but it is always your responsibility.

9. Children are a gift. Having children definitely changes things in a relationship. Routines, sleep, and life as you know it may never be the same. However, change can be a good thing.

Having a child has made my marriage even stronger, and it has added happiness and enjoyment to my life. I also think I’m a better person since becoming a mom. Children teach us that we can do hard things. Having a child has made me braver, stronger, wiser, and much more patient than I used to be.

10. Marriage is what you make it. Marriage is a daily commitment. You must wake up each day and consciously decide to love your spouse to the best of your ability—over and over again. But the truth is, love alone is not enough. A good marriage will require time, effort, hard work, and constant forgiveness.

As with most things in life, marriage is what you make it. Relationships don’t just flourish because we want them to; they flourish when we tend to them properly and work toward making them better!

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Sheenia Denae

Sheenia is a wife, mom, teacher turned homemaker, and freelance writer based in Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys sharing inspirational content on her lifestyle blog at

Dear Husband, Kiss Your Wife Like You Mean it

In: Marriage
Man kissing woman black and white photo

Husbands, I have a few . . . tips. 1. Instead of sleeping in or rushing off to work, roll over for a minute and kiss your wife. Like, reeeeaaaallly kiss her (this may work in your favor RIGHT on the spot). 2. Catch her in the closet while she changes clothes and let your eyes linger. Then tell her she’s even more beautiful now than the day you first saw her. 3. Shoot her a text from work to say, “I sure LOVE doing life with you.” 4. When you get home, wrap your arms around her waist and...

Keep Reading

At the End of Your Life, This is What Will Matter to Your Children

In: Marriage
At the End of Your Life, This is What Will Matter to Your Children

The death of George HW Bush has caused me to reflect on what really matters to my children and others at the end of life. As I was watching the eulogy given by his son George W Bush, I made a mental note of what actually mattered to George W at the end of his father’s life and what things had made him a better, well-adjusted adult. His father played games with them, had fun with them, had family dinners with them, and showed them integrity and love for others. But the thing that seemed to leave the biggest impression...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, There is a Table Waiting For Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman touch noses

Someday, we’ll be sitting at a restaurant we’ve never been to. We’ll share a bottle of Brunello because we always said that 10 years from now, we would. I’ll be wearing pants that cost more than a turkey sandwich because our children will be old enough not to spill on me anymore, and lipstick because no one was jumping on my bed as I was getting ready. I may even wear heels, though Lord knows I’ll need help walking in them, it’s been so long. Someday, over candlelight and a white tablecloth, we’ll giggle about how we used to call...

Keep Reading