4 years ago tomorrow I said “I do.” 6 years ago in December I asked my wife if we could exchange vows, and on January 1, 2010 it will be 7 years since our first date. Those seven years have been the absolute best years of my life, because I have spent them with my best friend.

I remember the first time I said “I Love You!” I really thought I loved my wife then, but I had no idea the love I would feel today. I had no idea that if you let it, love will grow and be unspeakably more that you can even imagine. Of course we have ups and downs, which make me love her even more.

For the next couple of days I am going to make posts on marriage in honor of our anniversary. So for my first post, things I wished I would have known then. . .when I got married. These are things that no one seems to tell you.

1. When you are at your rehearsal, wedding, wedding reception people seem to have all sorts of advice on how to live “Happily Ever After.” I then realized that a lot of these people are not happily married themselves, some were not even married (divorced, never married). Some of there advice worked, most did not.

2. Have a bad experience with a roommate in college, heard horror stories? Well, some days in marriage you will experience the worst roommate ever. I find this especially true for the women. Trying to change a man’s habits and trying to domesticate him can be pretty hard. Remember that they used to leave cereal bowls out all day, clothes and underwear in the floor, and cleaning the bathroom? It works both ways. You can’t get rid of this roommate and the beauty is that you learn to love each other for who you really are.

3. Most wedding arguments early in marriage is because neither one of you know anything about money. You run up debt, so then you argue because you’re stressed about debt. May a suggest Financial Peace University (early in your marriage or before)? http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/ After that, most arguments will be about being loved and adored. If you do not have to worry about debt and finances, most arguments are about not feeling loved or adored.

4. Marriage is constantly practicing patience, acceptance and compassion (kindness), not being jealous, not being prideful, not being rude, selfish, easily angered. And the tough one. . .you do not keep score, no records of who wronged who. See love is not that feeling you get, it is actual love, practicing all these things. That’s a tall order.

5. Your spouse doesn’t think like you and you do not think like them. Neither one of you can read minds. You both should complement each other. The art is studying your spouse to understand them better. You study what is important to you, you should take time and observe.

6. When you say “I Do”  your primary relationship is to your spouse and no one else. You have now started your own family. Even when you introduce children your primary relationship should be with your spouse.

7. Marriages will never outgrow a need for romance. Both need it and want it. Make time every week for a date night alone. You need to get away and really talk and concentrate on each other and nothing else. You need to make time for intimacy, it is very important. If it wasn’t so important there would not be a whole book in the Bible about it. (Song of Solomon)

8. It is ok to read books about marriage and improving marriage. Some of the best conversations in our marriage has come from our spiritual journeys together. It's like uncovering treasures buried when you read books from people that know about marriage and have been there.

9. One of the greatest gifts you can give is happiness. It really zaps the energy out of the marriage if someone is always negative. You can change your spouse’s whole day and yours if you can be happy even when they are not.

10. If something else is taking your best energy, you marriage will begin to suffer. If you have a demanding job, save your best energy for your spouse. The excuses of having no energy at home will get old and the feeling loved and adored will go. Keeping your best energy away from your marriage will put a distance between you and your spouse. Having energy will spark love, passion, romance, intimacy.