Tomorrow is my anniversary. 
My husband and I were married on a WICKED hot day on July 14th, 2001. That's one of the only things I remember about the day...how hot it was...and how my dad went out to buy carpet ON MY WEDDING day so he could lay it over the porch so people wouldn't burn their feet when they danced (I got married at my parent's house) It was an awesome day. 
16 years has passed in a blink of an eye. Everybody said that it would...I used to roll my eyes at them...but it is SO true. 
I was thinking back on those years the other day and I wanted to share some of the things I have learned. 

I am by NO means an expert at marriage...far from it. That is exactly why my advice may be good :) I have made lots of mistakes. You would shake your head and finger at me so many times if you heard all the mistakes I've made...but I've learned a lot too. Here are 6 of my favorite lessons. 

1. Actions mean more than words 
I wish I could tell you I have this one mastered. I'm still working on it. I love to talk. I like to encourage and dream and talk about what I am GOING to do...but marriage requires more than words. Anyone that has been in a relationship for a while knows this...words fall flat when they are not backed up with action. You can only say "I'm going to" or "I promise I will" so many times...ugh. I wish I could make t-shirts of this point and sell them...to myself :) because I still need this reminder every day. 

2. Check In...everyday 
When it is just the two of you...this is easy. As you add jobs, pets, kids and family drama to the mix, it can feel like you are rarely in the same room let alone on the same page. 4 years ago my husband and I started this...we take a few minutes (honestly, some nights its like 90 seconds) but we check in with where we are at...what we need to know and how we can help each other. It takes out the element of surprise...what do you mean you are playing tennis today! You never told me that? :) That conversation happened all the time in our marriage when our kids were babies...it leads to stress and hurt feelings when you are not on the same page. This little check in, for us, has been vital. 

3. Put your phone down
I cannot stress this one enough...and it's not just the phone. Phone was my struggle...yours may be the computer or Netflix or books or ANYTHING that keeps you from being present. Here is thing, you don't get a do over. You don't get to go back and re-live the times when you were on the couch scrolling instagram while your kids were playing and asking you to join. I TOTALLY get that you need "me" time...we all do...and this is not what I am talking about here. You know the line between me time and checking out completely...I have crossed that line many times before so take my advice :)   

4. Don't Lose You (but don't make it all about you!) 
Selfishness will ruin any relationship...but you can't be so selfless that you forget to take care of yourself. In a marriage, both people have to strive to be healthy for themselves so they can be healthy for each other. It's a delicate balance. I would be lying if I said I had this balance in my 16 years of marriage...Im just starting to get it now. :) 

5. You can't outrun your problems 
We tried. More than once. Trust us. It doesn't work. :) Sometimes, you think a fresh start, a new job, a new state, a vacation will reset you. You know what? It might...for a moment, but after a while, the things you tried to out run will sneak back up on you. Deal with them. Deal with the issues even if it hurts (and it probably will) 

6. The wedding song still applies 
What was the song that played at your wedding? What was your first dance song? (if you had one) Rod and I danced to a song from Ben Harper called By My Side. The words in that song meant so much on our wedding day...and they mean so much today too! The first line in the song is..don't you get ahead of me, and I won't leave you behind. In ANY relationship - it has to work that way. You put yourself in front of your spouse and what happens? We fall on our face...pretty much every time. By my side is exactly where I want my husband to be...16 years ago, today and 16 years from now. Even when I'm mad at him :) It just works better that way. Go back and listen to your wedding song if you are married...are you still living out those words? It's a good challenge.

I'm probably missing some things - but it's a good start. I will now leave you with one of our wedding pictures. I am not sure anything screams 2001 quite like this weird picture :) but I still love it.  

WeddingPic