Amy and I just had our 20 year anniversary last week and were reflecting on our 20 years of marriage and thought it would be fun to share the 20 things we have learned over our 20 years together.
You can also listen to our Ultimate Intimacy podcast Episode 73 “20 things we have learned in our 20 years of marriage”
NICK’S TOP 10
1. Everyone has issues in their marriage and deals with their own personal struggles
I use to look at other marriages and people and think that most people had good marriages (so it looked like) and people that had issues in their marriages were few. I was really naive and have come to learn that EVERYONE deals with issues and struggles in their marriages and that is just part of life and growing stronger together. No one is immune from it.
Some people want others to think they have the “perfect marriage” and only post or show the “perception” they want you to believe. However, once you open that door, or look through the window more carefully you can see that they often have bigger problems and struggles than you would ever imagine. EVERYONE has struggles and issues they deal with in their marriage, so don’t get frustrated over the struggles you deal with in your marriage. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s just artificial turf.
Check out a great article called “The grass is not always greener on the other side” HERE
2. Sexual intimacy can get better and even more amazing the longer you are married
The sexual intimacy in our marriage just continues to get even better over time. When you open up and are vulnerable with each other and try new things, sex can be so amazing. It is great to be able to practice, learn and experiment with sex in your relationship. Even after 20 years we are learning new things and continuing to enjoy each other more sexually. For the best ways to increase your sexual intimacy, check out the amazing Ultimate Intimacy App HERE.
Also check out our great article “From Boring to Soaring Sex and Intimacy” HERE
3. Having open communication with each other can resolve almost any issue or problem in your marriage
I use to think if something would cause an argument or contention that you should just sweep it under the rug and if you didn’t talk about it, then it wouldn’t cause contention. However, I have learned that is not the case. Having open communication with each other is often hard, but can solve so many issues and is the key to a happy marriage. Open up your communication with each other and discuss the hard topics and see your marriage transform!
4. Getting help from a marriage therapist or coach doesn’t mean your marriage sucks
I use to think the couples that needed a therapist or coach must have big time marriage issues, but I have realized how beneficial coaches and therapists can be for people with good marriages as well. We have a friend who is a therapists and he says about 50% of his clients are people that have a great marriage and want to make it even better. That is exactly who we designed the app for as well!
People keep up the maintenance on their car to help it run better and last longer so why would your marriage be any different? Do simple things and work continuously on improving your marriage and relationship.
5. Other people can suck… and your spouse is really what matters most
I love being around people and having good friends and relationships. I tend to trust everyone until they give me a reason not to as I like to believe people are inherently good and caring. However, my 20 years experience in marriage have given me a much different outlook and understanding of what I “should” prioritize in my life. In the past I put so much time and energy into other relationships with friends, work relationships, etc., and had horrible experiences that greatly impacted my marriage, my family, and my financial well being.
I trusted people that I shouldn’t have and it cost me greatly and I almost lost what was most important to me. I have come to realize that many people are just out for themselves and will do ANYTHING to get ahead in life. Now I am not saying don’t create good relationships with friends, or invest time into work etc, but what I am saying is your spouse and family are really the only ones you can truly trust, count on and depend on in your life. Invest your time and energy into the people that you can count on and that truly love you, and be careful and mindful about how much time and energy you are investing into other relationships (friends), your work or other areas as those may be a temporary thing in your life.
6. For your marriage to flourish, your spouse and your relationship as a couple has to come first, not the kids
I don’t care what ANYONE says but you cannot have a great marriage if you or your spouse (or both) are putting the kids first in your marriage. You can pretend and come across that your marriage is good, but it won’t be. You might be able to sustain it over a short period of time but eventually your marriage will turn into a “business relationship” type marriage where it becomes more about accomplishing tasks and less about connecting as a couple.
7. Sex and foreplay starts in the morning, not just spontaneously
When Amy and I first got married, I just thought she would want sex all the time, just like I do, and we would both be ready to go at anytime! It would be very spontaneous just like the movies. That’s just in the movies. I have learned that sexual intimacy starts in the morning and goes all day romancing her and letting her know how much I love her and want her and things build up all day. That doesn’t mean sex is NEVER spontaneous, but most the time it starts early in the day.
Intimacy is all the little things that you do for each other during the day. As women’s biggest sexual organ is their brain, making sure that you help around the house, help with the kids, help with meals and clean up, just all the things that women take on, it is important to help do the little things so she can focus on the marriage at the end of the day and take her stress away.
8. You need God to help you in your marriage
There is so much evil and things in the world trying to tear your marriage apart constantly. I have realized how important it is to have God be a big part of your marriage, decision making and protection you need in marriage. I don’t know how marriages make it without his help.
Pray together and for each other.
9. Date night is a must for a happy marriage. Keep it fun too!
When you were dating, chances are you were dating all the time and doing fun and exciting things together! This is how you fell in love. You need to keep doing those things after you are marriage to keep the fun and excitement in your marriage. Plan a weekly date night or date day. Prioritize that time and do things that are fun and exciting together. Try new things together.
10. Love for each other can grow deeper and more meaningful. You can fall more in love with your spouse
When I married Amy, I never could have imagined loving her more than I loved her at that time. 20 years later… and tons of up’s and down’s in our relationship has only made me grow deeper in love with her. I also am realistic and realize love can change over time as the seasons of life change as well. We are no longer in the “honeymoon” stage of life where everything seems so easy. We now have kids, responsibilities, trials, struggles and so many other things that make life so much more crazy, so my love has changed, but for the better…. Many couples think that the love they had when they were dating and first got marriage can never be achieved again… but things can actually become even better if you work on it. Check out another great article “12 tips on how to fall back in love with your spouse” HERE
AMY’S TOP 10
1. Sex will get boring if you don’t switch things up and keep it exciting
I found as a woman that sex can get boring after years if you always do the same things in the bedroom. Sex can start to feel like a chore when you don’t make it fun and exciting and try new things once in a while. We were against getting any bedroom toys for years because we didn’t want anything to “replace” each other, but after realizing that a simple toy can add to the marriage and not take away anything, our sex life changed for the good! It’s ok to try new things if you both are on board with it! Check out the AMAZING Ultimate Intimacy App HERE to spice things up in the bedroom!
2. It is so important to know your spouses love language and know that it will keep changing over time
We all have different love languages. It is vital to your marriage to know how your spouse likes to be loved. In our marriage it took a good year for Nick to realize that my love language was gifts (which I wasn’t getting after we got married and I’m talking about little, simple things) and his was physical touch, which he was getting a lot of.
But a couple years after having kids I started to need more quality time and acts of service. With each stage you can change and it is important to always be asking and paying attention to what you spouse needs in the relationship. Check out the love quiz in the ultimate intimacy app for a quick love test you can take together often.
3. Your libido and sex drive will also change over time. Be patient with each other
When you first get married it is easy and natural to be all over each other and want sex a lot. After you have been married a few years, or have kids, your libido can change completely. I noticed mine drop when pregnant or after kids and also when I was running a business. Stress and business took over my mind and my libido dropped. I have to work at it mentally to want sex a lot of the times, which is ok because Nick is patient with that. When his libido slows down one day… I will also need to be patient if mine goes back up. So many health issues or circumstances in life can change it and it is important to communicate and talk about these things together!
4. Outercourse can be just as good as intercourse
There is no need to say no to sexual intimacy after having a baby, or when you are on your period (women).
Sexual Intimacy doesn’t ever need to stop.
Men and women can be pleased sexually without intercourse. Check out the great article “The Clitoris: The key to unlocking female sexual pleasure” HERE
5. Men are sensitive too
I have learned that men are sensitive too, and thats a great thing! My dad growing up didn’t open up about much so I figured that maybe that was a man thing.. I was wrong, it was just his personality. Nick is so good at being vulnerable, sharing his thoughts and feelings and not keeping any emotions from me. It has created such a strong bond between us and has made a huge impact on our emotional intimacy. I am so thankful that he feels he can be sensitive and vulnerable around me.
6. Never assume!!
Just ask and talk about all the little things. Instead of assuming that your spouse knows what you need or want, just tell them and make it simple. I have realized that when I assume or expect Nick to know how I am feeling or what I need done, if I just simply ask him he is more than willing to do it or talk about it. Communication is VITAL to marriage.
7. Going to bed mad is not always a bad thing
I was always told to never go to bed mad. I beg to differ in this area. I agree that if it is a big fight or big disagreement, you should probably resolve it as soon as possible. But there have been times in our marriage that I was frustrated over something, and went to bed upset and after sleeping on it, realized the next morning that it was silly and was something that was my fault. Sometimes sleeping on something can change your perspective or calm you down. I don’t recommend doing this often but I have found that simple things I am upset about sometimes are gone by morning and I am glad that I didn’t cause an issue over it.
8. Having kids doesn’t have to make marriage harder.. and putting them 2nd doesn’t mean they are neglected or not loved
Putting your marriage first does not mean that your kids suffer in any way.. in fact it is the opposite. Putting your spouse first shows your kids how important marriage is and sets an example for them. When your marriage is good and healthy, the whole family unit is healthy. Give your kids and family the best gift you can which is an amazing marriage.
Putting your spouse first doesn’t mean that you neglect the kids. It means that no matter hours in a week you spend on the kids, your spouse is still the main person in your mind. Send your spouse a loving text, plan a nice date night each week, tell your spouse you love them. Keep them a priority.
9. It is important to not let go of your like and hobbies and interests. Space apart is not a bad thing
I let go of my hobbies and social life when I had 4 little kids at home and was running a full time at home business. I found that my mental health started to suffer. If your self care suffers, your marriage will too. Find a good balance with spouse time, family time and still time for stuff you love! You will be happier as a person and that will make your marriage happier!
10. If you just tell your spouse what you want in the bedroom, your spouse will most likely do everything they can to please you
Just be direct. The sooner you tell your spouse exactly what you want sexually, the easier it will be to talk about everything and the more fun your sex life will be!
The longer I have been married, the more I have realized how important it is to Nick to take care of me in every way too. The more you both take care of each other the happier your marriage will be! Most men want to take care of their wife in the bedroom! Just tell him what you want and be honest.
The key to all of the advice is always communication! All marriages and all aspects of marriage start with communication.
Listen to podcast episode 73 The 20 Important Things We Have Learned In Our 20 Years Of Marriage
If you need some help with communicating with your spouse, make sure to download the Ultimate Intimacy App. It contains hundreds of conversation starters, truth or dare game, would you rather game, customizable bedroom game, resources and articles from marriage experts and so so much more!