What I’ve Learned in 20 Years of Marriage

This summer my husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage! You might be asking yourself, “How? She’s so young!” I know, I know, I take really good care of my skin and I have good genes!

When we got married, we were both still in college and I wasn’t even 21 yet! Oops, did I just tell you how old I am?! We probably weren’t making the smartest decision getting married so young, but we were so in love and foolish. The first few years of marriage were hard, while we were both still in college, but we made it and we are stronger because of it. 

The years have seemed to fly by, and I have learned by both making mistakes and by having great couples that surround us and pray for us. Here are four important lessons that I’ve learned in the past 20 years of marriage!

Never talk badly about your spouse to others. It’s so easy for women to vent to their girlfriends, coworkers, or moms. But once you’ve calmed down, it’s easy for you to forget or forgive what your spouse had done and move on. The thing is, the people you vented to don’t forget. When they see your spouse, they remember everything you told them, and they see your spouse in a different light. I want the world to know what a wonderful husband and dad my spouse is. Does he make mistakes? Sure, everyone does. But I don’t want other people to judge him for those mistakes every time they see him. So, lift up your spouse to others, and tell them all the great things they’ve been doing.

It’s true; you really do love your spouse more each day. My mom and other great women in my life had told me that I would love my husband more each day than I did on our wedding day. I didn’t know how that could be true. But here we are 20 years later, and they were so right! My love for my husband just keeps growing each day. Yes, he drives me crazy every day and there are some days I’m spitting mad at him, but my love for him just keeps growing.

You WILL get thrown for a loop when you feel like you have this whole marriage thing figured out. Just when we got marriage figured out while still attending college, we moved back to Oklahoma and had to adjust. Then we got settled again and decided to foster. Boy, was that an adventure! Learning to be parents while keeping our marriage strong was difficult, but we made it through. We were finally able to adopt a little girl, which brought new challenges for our marriage and family. This is the season we are in today. We continue to work on our marriage and our family. And I’m sure that as soon as we get this figured out, we will be on to the next adventure! The point is: life is challenging, especially for families. Work on your marriage continuously, rather than let it fall by the wayside.

My husband and I are a team. The last few years have taught us this. We have a daughter that has an attachment disorder, and we are in a constant struggle with her trying to pit us against each other. We have learned to discuss everything and always present her with united front in all areas. We try to do this with our extended family as well. We are a team, the two of us. We decide together what is best for our little family of three. If that means we don’t get to attend a birthday party or a special event, we present a united front when letting our families know the reason why we made that decision. You and your spouse must do what is best for your family, and the ones closest to you will understand.

Twenty years of marriage is a great milestone! I am proud of what we have done together as a couple, and of what we have learned along the way. What have you learned about marriage?! Share your advice in the comments!

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Carissa South
Carissa is a loving wife, mother, and educator holding a masters of reading from the University of Central Oklahoma. She loves helping around their farm by taking care of the goats, chickens, and dogs. Her newly-adopted daughter brings lots of new challenges to her life as she is learning to balance work, family, and parenting.


  1. Great big post Carissa! I needed a reminder about a few of those lessons. Congratulations on 20 years! And no you do not look like you could be married that long


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