It was 9 days ago that Lisa and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. We’ve had a lot of amazing times together, and a lot of really crappy times. As I’ve taken this week and a half to reflect over the near-decade spent as husband and wife, a few things I’ve learned along the way came to mind. Here are 9 of the lessons I’ve learned during the last 9 years and 9 days of marriage.

1 — Too much “new” can be too much

I remember reading a psychology article several years back. It discussed the various changes that typical people encounter throughout a lifetime. Among them are: getting married, moving (different homes or cities), starting a new job, having kids, experiencing a death of someone close, retiring, etc.

2 — Love Languages are a thing

I had heard of love languages before getting married, but nothing really beyond that. My eyes were opened when it was suggested by a friend that we take the test and read The Five Love Languages.

3 — Go to bed at the same time

I wish I could remember where I got this advice from, but it has been amazing. Whoever told me to do this was a genius. Not counting times one of us were out of town for something, there are probably less than 10 nights in 9 years that Lisa and I haven’t gone to bed at the same time.

4 — Walking out on a fight is a horrible idea

This lesson took me a LONG time to learn. There was a pretty regular cycle of fights in our house the first several years. A lot of them escalated to ridiculous levels and resulted in me exploding on Lisa and giving her the bird as I walked out the door.

5 — Walking out on a fight is a great idea

This one also took years to figure out, but there’s a “right” way to walk out on a fight.

6 — It takes a long time to feel like “We”

Lisa and I went through a study called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas with a group of other couples. One thing Gary mentioned in the video series that has stuck with me is that it takes couples an average of 9–14 years to begin feel like “we” instead of “I” in marriage.

7 — You change a lot as time goes on, and that’s OK

This one may or may not be obvious, but there are some specifics that took me time to realize and be OK with.

8 — Pray together

I don’t remember when, where, why, or how I was watching Dr. Phil, but I was, and he threw out a statistic that blew my mind. He said the divorce rate for people who pray together regularly is 1 in 10,000.

9 — Have fun

This is another one that may sound obvious. But I think we can get caught up in life and forget the joy of the beginning of our relationship.

I help family men connect and commit so your wife won’t leave you and your kids don’t hate you.

I help family men connect and commit so your wife won’t leave you and your kids don’t hate you.