My wife and I were married on May 21st, 2011.  It was one of the best days of my life.  I found the woman for me, and my other half.  But what about when the honeymoon wears off?  What's marriage really like?  Here's a few things I've learned.

1.  Your real relationship starts after marriage.

Your years dating, your honeymoon, your wedding day, are different than when you're married.   I remember my wife and I discussing this in the first year of marriage.  It just felt different.   Not in a bad way, and it's hard to describe, but your relationship is different.

2.  It can be fun, and it can be work.

Your relationship is a changing thing.  There are times when the skies are clear, and there are times when it's cloudy.  You'll have your good times and bad.  And that's ok.  It's normal.  Enjoy the great moments, weather the storm through the bad.

3.  Kids are the best and worst thing for your marriage.

I'll probably get some heat for this, and I frankly don't care.  I love my kids and would do anything for them.  They complete our family.  They are the most important things in our lives.   But that also means we put them before each other,  as most couples do.  That can put a strain on a relationship.  Make sure your relationship is strong enough to handle that.   Any crack in your relationship will widen with kids.

4.  You can forgive each other, but you can never forget.  Even if you want to.

Here's an example.  When you screw up or make a mistake, you can be forgiven, but she will never forget.   Same thing applies to her to.  Men do remember, we're not as dumb as some stereo types out there.  People may say that they can forget it and move on.  Which sure you can move on, you just won't forget.  The trick is to be a big enough person not to bring up the past incidents if you don't need to the next time you get into an argument.

5.  Your marriage takes priority, learn to say no.

Most married couples both have careers, responsibilites outside the home, their extended family, friends, and obligations.  The list goes on, and it can be too much sometimes.   You've got to learn to say no to somethings if it means making your marriage a bigger priority.   We've missed out on extended family gatherings, work parties, important special occasions because we had already made plans for a weekend away.  People that have kids will understand how hard it is to carve out time for each other.  I'm sure there have been some hard feelings, but our marriage is more important.

6.  Divorces happen, remember that.

I see it all the time where one partner will take the other partner for granted because they are married.  They didn't do it before they tied the knot, but something about getting married makes them give up on trying to keep that person.   They may physically, and emotionally let themselves go after getting married.  Don't give up on trying to be the best you that you can be for your spouse.   You've got to keep that effort going.  Divorces happen so often you have an equal chance of not making it as a couple as you do.  Marriage is an everyday thing.

Good luck!

And happy anniversary Shawna, I know you're reading this.