11 Things I Learned During My First 11 Years of Marriage

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on October 3, 2012

I can hardly believe it but this weekend Dan and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary. As I pondered this upcoming event the first thought I had was how quickly the time has flown. And yet, I feel like there was never a time that I wasn’t his and he mine. Crazy. One thing I know for sure is that through the gift of our love I have learned much and grown in ways I never would have thought possible. For my benefit more than anything else I thought I’d jot down eleven of the most important things I learned during my first eleven years as a wife.



  1. Marriage is a gift (through good times and bad) and should be treated as such. Taking it for granted is the surest way to find our union on shaky ground.
  2. It’s absolutely fruitless to play the comparison game. No one is perfect, but God thought Dan was just right for me and me alone. And he would know best!
  3. Great harm can come from not assuming positive intent. My husband pours himself out for me and our children every day. He deserves nothing less than a wife who looks for (and believes) the best in him.
  4. Cultivating romance is not only one of the most fun aspects of marriage but is also the key to thriving as husband and wife. Also, it’s hugely important to be intentional in expressing my love. Our life seems to get busier with each passing year. Unless I make a conscious effort to go the extra mile, expressing my love to my husband tends to get put on the back burner. Over the years I’ve learned that our marriage is the rock that our family rests upon and that tending to our relationship is a non-negotiable.
  5. Keeping score is an exercise in futility. At any given point during marriage it will feel like one spouse is giving more or loving better than the other. But as sure as the sun rises the tables will turn and the other spouse will have a chance to return the favor. That’s just the nature of marriage. It’s all about loving, life-giving service.
  6. Building my husband up is an honor that I should cherish. God gave me this man and tasked me with caring for him – mind, body, and soul. What a lucky girl I am.
  7. Continuous hard work is a must. Dan and I are always growing and changing both individually as a couple. As different seasons come and go we are given the privilege of learning to love with more vulnerability, greater hope, and deeper selflessness.
  8. Marriage is a series of peaks and valleys. I’ve learned to not despair when we hit a rocky patch for in time the valley floor recedes behind us and we are mercifully lifted up to inhale the crisp, refreshing air of a marital mountain peak.
  9. Forgiveness is a must. One of my worst personality traits is that I tend to hold grudges. Thanks to this crazy little thing called marriage my eyes have been opened to the fact that to do so is a vicious form of pride for it assumes that my judgement is infallible and my behavior without fault. Over and over again I’ve seen how when I approach my spouse with mercy our love deepens.
  10. We must always be on guard against spiritual attack. Not always fun to talk about but very real.
  11. Though two became one, it’s true, we also became three and without God at the center of our marriage, it is a dead thing.


(Happy anniversary, my sweet love!)

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Grace October 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

how crazy you and Jen have such close anniversaries!!

Love this!!

Happy Anniversary!!!
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Colleen Martin October 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

Yes, they are close but Hallie’s winning by 2 years!

My competitive nature is in full swing today.

Happy Anniversary to one of the sweetest couples!!
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lena ~ JOYfilledfamily October 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

praise God that you have the lessons that often take couples far longer to learn. i pray that His grace be showered upon you and your beloved so that you can better fulfill your vocations. Ad Jesum per Mariam

Anna @ IHOD October 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

Happy Anniversary Hallie!
Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I couldn’t agree more with you. You are a beautiful testimony to marriage.

Lisa October 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

Happy Anniversary! Your list inspires me to love my husband better and more selflessly. I also love your posts about keeping the romance alive and such. Thanks!

Kathleen October 3, 2012 at 11:48 am

Congrats! I love what you said about peaks and valleys. I also like what you said about thinking the best of your hubby. Onetime I was waiting in the car for my husband at 711. Through the windows I saw this blonde “chick” laughing with him and rubbing his shoulders. In my head I was like ” what the heck?!”. Well when this “chick ” came out she turned out to be 80 years old. She just died her hair a youthful blonde. I fry like such a jerk not to mention like a complete crazy! Congrats on your Anniversary!

Jesabes October 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Happy Anniversary!
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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) October 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Recently discovered your blog. Loved this post because we have been going through a lot of what you listed. Satan is always on the look out the destroy marriages.

Jennifer October 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Happy Anniversary!! I’m sharing this on Facebook, lots of great insights here that I bet apply to every marriage. Have a lovely evening.
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Kathleen October 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Ok I typed this once, but the comment didn’t go through.

Anyway, Congrats and I just wanted to say I love the point about always thinking the best of your husband. One time I was waiting in the car when my husband was in 711 getting coffee. Through the window I saw him chatting and laughing with this blonde girl. I could only see her from the back but she kept rubbing his shoulder and grabbing his arm. I got pretty ticked. Lady comes out of the store, turns out she was like 80 years old and just happened to rock the 20-something blonde hair do. I felt like a big loser.

Stacy October 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Happy 11 years!!!! :)
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Kim @ Transitus Tiber October 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Happy Anniversary! :D
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Ashley October 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm

#9 – I have the same ability to hold a grudge and never realized it until I was married. It’s definitely something that I’m always working on.
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ceciliamaria October 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Happy Anniversary!!!

(My love and I are preparing for marriage. Thanks for sharing your insights and advice.)
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Paige October 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Congratulations! My hubster and I celebrate 17 years on Sunday. Blessed indeed!!!

Scarlett Rose October 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

Happy 11 years! Time flies!!

“No one is perfect” seems to me the best line of this page for sure :-).
Thanks for the shinny writing & be blessed.
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Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy October 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Great points and good reminders for every marriage. Happy Anniversary.
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Paolo October 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Maria and I too had, last week, our 11th anniversary. Thank you very much for your reflections. God bless!
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Rebecca October 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thank you for these reminders/tips on bettering a marriage! My husband and I have been together almost 9 years(married 7 1/2:) and in between babies(two) and work schedules etc it is nice to read reminders of what we can do to keep the candle flaming! :)

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