16th Anniversary and Lessons Learned

I cannot believe we are celebrating sixteen years of marriage together (Nov 30th)! Sixteen years brought us happiness, hardships, joys, mistakes, up and downs, and everything in between.

I thought I’d share 16 marriage lessons that we’ve learned in the sixteen years we have lived together. I have prayed and prayed over this post. I hope it will be a blessing to someone. I am constantly reading books on marriage and trying to find ideas and tips that will catch my eye that we can try to better our relationship as there is always room for growth. Tips that will benefit not only my husband and I but also the children we are raising together. Reading marriage books inspires me to be a better wife and mama. I hope it does you as well and that this post will be a blessing to your family.

With that said, you may not agree on everything that applies to our marriage and that is okay, no offense taken. 🙂

16 year anniversary picture of us.

marriage background-

A little background on our marriage for those rather new to our blog (you can read other personal posts). I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home into a large family (I have 10 siblings). My husband was born into a home where God wasn’t a topic and he was an only child.

So, when we got married, our worlds and upbringings were as different as night and day. We didn’t really have many couples in our lives that we could go to when we had questions, especially early on in our marriage.

Most everything we learned was from trial and error and really digging into Scripture to find answers for really tough questions and there are many that come up as two lives and two paths join and become one. Scripture and LOTS of reading of books learning from the wisdom of others that had been married longer than us and could be honest and open with their lives. What a blessing these people have been in our lives.

Timur and Valentina pictured together.

16 lessons from 16 years of marriage:

Since I am the wife and the one writing this post, this is directed more towards the wives as that is who I can understand and relate to most.

1. my husband comes first!

Children are wonderful and truly a gift from God, however, they will leave our home one day. They will find the person to spend their life with and it will be me and my hubby. I need to focus on our relationship and put just as much effort into us as I put into our kiddos.

He cannot always give the I’m tired, the I don’t have the energy for anything, the maybe tomorrow end of the stick (especially when it comes to intimacy, ladies!). It’s not fair to him. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have those kinds of days (where a headache comes upon me out of nowhere, haha). But, they are not the norm. A healthy balance of hubby and kiddos needs to be present. -Titus 2:3-4, Eph 5:28

2. be wise stewards of your finances.

If I could write a book and publish it on any topic on marriage, finances would be the first topic I’d write about. It’s a topic very dear to my heart because early on in our marriage we really struggled in this area and the Bible is very clear about being wise stewards of our finances.

Money can really be a blessing in a marriage, it is also one of the greatest grounds for marital problems and divorce. Tithing, staying out of debt and being smart with the finances God blessed us with is SOO important! -1 Tim 6:10

3. don’t go to bed angry-

This is something we learned to apply very early on in our marriage. Talk about it before you go to bed. Work out the problem, yes, even if that means you go to bed at 3 a.m. trying to figure it out.

However, let the anger subside before venom comes out of me. The biggest icebreaker when there is a heated conversation about to take place is to take a few minutes to pray together before talking. This is life-changing. Pray for God to work on your own heart in the discussion (not the husband’s). It’s amazing to see how the Holy Spirit works when we invite him to be a part of the discussion. So many walls of “I” come falling down. Be open-minded to you being the problem. Oh how often I was ready to just destroy the conversation with my self-righteousness only to have the Holy Spirit open my eyes and convict me how WRONG I was. Ouch!

DON’T let your kids see you arguing and fuming. Do it behind closed doors. And if they do see the ugly side of things sometimes, apologize in front of them, to each other and them for seeing behavior that isn’t Godly. This teaches them how to act in their marriages, and trust me, they learn A TON from us and how we treat each other. It shapes who they become. -Ephesians 4:26

4. don’t disrespect and call each other names.

It’s so easy to find faults in each other. It’s so easy to point fingers and have a field day with our words. It’s not rocket science to find things to bring the spouse down with. However, the damage is very real and can take a significant amount of time for recovery and repair. A bandage of “I am sorry” doesn’t always fix the problem. Sometimes the wound is so deep that the healing process is extensive.

Don’t compare your husband to others. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. Comparing your husband (or wife) is very painful to the other person. We have enough on our hands of building and keeping our marriage alive without bringing third parties into the marriage with our words.

Don’t disrespect him and belittle him, especially in public or in front of your children. If there’s something that needs to be discussed, talk about it at home in private. Be open and honest, men are simple creations, they truly don’t always “get” things the way women do. If he hurt you, tell him in precise measures. Honey, you really hurt me at this time, by saying this and this is how I felt. Makes life so much easier for both of us. -Exod 20:17

5. keep the dirty laundry to clean at home.

This is huge for me. Whatever happens in our home, stays in our home.

That doesn’t mean I don’t ask my closest friends or parents for help in prayer if we truly are going through hardships and need the extra prayers. However, it does mean that I keep my mom, dad and girlfriends out of our problems. My hubby and I will figure out a solution, we will move on but the words we say will stay in their hearts for many years to come and it will only have them look negatively at my husband, no one needs that. Trust me, Satan is really good at reminding us of the negative things we should forget.

However, if there is any kind of abuse in the home, please reach out and get help.

6. men and women are created completely different.

Men don’t just get things the way women do. Their brains are wired differently. If you need something done, tell him! Don’t beat around the bush with allegories.

Men don’t typically multi-task. If he is on his phone, his full concentration is to the person on the end of the other line. A woman can be on the phone, be making dinner, washing the dishes and hear the washer go off notifying her the cycle has come to an end. That’s how God created and wired women.

A man needs his ego fed. There, I said it. Feed it with words of affirmation and encouragement. Even the small things that you don’t think are a big deal, tell him. How much you appreciate him fixing things around the house, working hard, waking up at night to go to the kids, etc. It will only encourage him even more. Nagging will never inspire him to do more, been there, tried that – it doesn’t work. Haha. 😉

Women need to hear how appreciated we are as well. Regularly tell her how well she is doing in the home, with the kids, in the marriage, etc. Women sure do love a good talking about how amazing she is. Notice even the little things she does and thank her. You don’t have to pay $40 for a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s day. Instead get her flowers twice for that price on random days, just as a gesture of appreciation! Trust me, tiredness will flee from her that day, wink, wink!

7. God should be my #1 priority, not my husband.

There’s a spiritual void that only God can fill. Many times we search for our husbands to fill the areas of our lives that belong to God and God alone. Yes, asking my husband to help me grow spiritually is one thing. However, I cannot hold him responsible for my spiritual growth or lack thereof.

Oh so often I ask my hubby to spend time with the kids and allow me some quiet time with God in prayer and Scripture. Many times I leave for a few hours to spend in solitude with Him. It’s so beneficial for all of us. The closer I am to God, the happier our family will be. If I go days without spiritual food, the whole family notices a difference in mom. A non-appealing difference.

8. in a God-centered home, there is a hierarchy.

Husbands are the head of the home and spiritual, materialistic and financial provider. Christ is the head of him. If He is a God-fearing man, he will submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work on him when something needs to be changed. I CANNOT and will NEVER be able to change him. However, if I am in my place as a wife, I will allow the Holy Spirit to work on him. The Holy Spirit will do a much better job at convicting him than my nagging will do.

Wives are to keep their home in order, she has the authority over the kids, not the husband. This in NO way means she becomes a doormat and he a tyrant. Each has their place in the home. If a woman is a SAHM, it’s a full-time job just as working outside the home is. However, it just never ends, there is not “clocking out” at the end of the day. Can I get an amen, sisters?

There must be a balance of duties at home that both parties are responsible for. The husband cannot come home from a day of work and call it a day. It just doesn’t work like that. Kids need spiritual guidance, discipline from the father even more than they need it from the mother. He is the spiritual father figure of Christ and should act like one. This is not a role the mom can fill.

1 Tim 5:18, Proverbs 14:1

9. a spiritual bond must exist.

Prayer as a couple. Reading the Bible as a couple. Fasting as a couple. All three need to be present to grow spiritually together.

Fasting together is SO powerful. Even if it’s just a Daniel’s fast, do it! Fast for your marriage, your ministries, raising Godly children and the list goes on.

Prayer! One of my favorite bonding moments with my hubby is when we take extra time to pray together behind closed doors. Be quiet as the other is praying and listen. By listening I mean HEAR what He is crying out about and support him and he will do the same.

If we cannot agree on something, it’s okay, be honest and ask the spouse to help pray about the situation. There have been many occasions when we disagreed, and, we agreed to disagree. However, asking each other to pray for the issue is life-changing and praying about it together. Many times I’ve asked my hubby to pray over me, so God would soften my heart about certain things we are going through that I was having a hard time with. It’s beautiful to lift each other up in prayer, especially when it’s a struggle we have. Teaches humility, a beautiful attribute each must possess.

Reading the Bible together. There is something so fulfilling about digging through the Bible together. It brings oneness like nothing else. The Bible is living and active and it affects both of us on each of our spiritual levels. 1 Thes  5:16-18

10. words have power!

Bless, bless, and bless each other.

Speak softly and tenderly always, even during arguments (if possible). A good practice I’ve learned for myself is to pretend Jesus is sitting right next to me as we talk. Makes a world of a difference.

It’s so important to rebuke and ask for forgiveness when we do say things that are ungodly and can affect the spouse or children. Our words have power! Breaking the hold and effects the negative words may have is a must. Rebuke them in the name of Jesus. Col 3:19, Prov 21:19

11. take responsibility for your actions.

If you hurt the other partner, apologize and confess your error and move on. Forget about it. If it’s hard to forgive, ask your hubby to help you pray that God will give your freedom and complete forgiveness. Col 3:13

12. live within your means!

Don’t covet your neighbors, friends or family’s lifestyle. It’s not yours to enjoy!

If your friends have this or that item, good for them. Don’t go into debt trying to live up to the lifestyle of another.

We live once on this earth and will have to answer to God about EVERYTHING we did or didn’t do. Live within the means God has blessed you with. If you can afford half the house your girlfriend has, that’s what you have to be content with.

The more I want, the more my hubby has to leave us and go to work so we can afford it. For what? To impress a friend or neighbor? Is the loss you have without him present at home worth it? Hebrews 13:5

13. date nights are a MUST!

I dedicate a whole post to this HERE. It’s a good read, especially all the comments and feedback from all of you, our online family.

14. put your spouse’ needs above yours and he does the same.

Christ was the best example of this. He lived a life of servanthood. If you truly LOVE your spouse, love is not self-seeking. You don’t do things because you expect them in return. You do them because you love your spouse. 1 Cor 13:5

15. this season of life is temporary. This too shall pass.

We have different seasons of life and need to live in that season. We cannot move on to the next season if we are so stuck on last years. We age, become wiser, our children grow and life brings different situations for us to tackle.

Enjoy the current season of life and know this too share pass.

16. your children see everything.

Live a marriage in such a way that inspires your kids to want to find a mate and start a family of their own. Not in a way that scares them of how miserable two people may be together.

Our children see our Christianity more than anyone. Live out what you preach. May they honestly testify of your love for Jesus. May they know where your Bible reading spot it, how fasting works in your life and how prayer changes everything.

A couple standing hugging each other on a bridge.

I am not a counselor and don’t pretend to be one.

So, these words are just our life in a nutshell. These are the life lessons we’ve learned over the years. Some lessons took longer to achieve than others. Some will be a never-ending process till death do us part.

Having a wonderful marriage is nearly impossible if it’s just two people trying to achieve it. When God is the center of our home, NOTHING is impossible. And all the people said, AMEN!

Fondly, Timur & Valentina <3

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Please share in the comments below the things you have learned in marriage. I’d LOVE to hear about your experience and wisdom!

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  1. Thank you for a wonderful post. We are 3 years into marriage and I loved reading this post and relating to it. Really wise and good words, I agree w all. I also love reading books and getting more wisdom on marriage and family life. You are right, when you respect your husband and love him it makes such a beautiful marriage. But I can’t stress enough how important it is to fear God and have Him #1. When both wife and husband is close w God and connects w God in prayer and Bible reading there is nothing more better on this earth and God abundantly blesses and does not let you down. I love reading your blog and new posts. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes with your new baby! (We are scheduled to have our third boy in one and a half weeks also)

    1. Thank you, V.
      What a sweet comment and full of so much wisdom. You’re so right on keeping God first. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, it’s so easy to get off track.
      So glad you enjoyed this post, makes my heart sing as I always feel so vulnerable posting something so personal and dear to my heart.
      Also, wishing you a blessed delivery and speedy recovery!!

  2. Valya, you have no idea how much I love reading your personal posts. They are so inspiring and cute idea for the 16 tips. Learned a lot I can add to our lifes. In our area its so hard to follow your tip #12, everyone is so fancy and has to have the latest of greatest and we always feel so left out, thank you for the encouragement. Also, tip 10 about rebuking the word you say over your husband. Never though of that but it makes a lot of sense.
    I wish you would do a post on children like this. 🙂

    1. It is hard to stand your ground. But it does make it easier when you realize you aren’t trying to please the flesh but God. Puts things into perspective.
      Thanks for being a part of our online family, Olenka. The encouragement is much appreciated.

  3. You are a true christian lady I don’t know why people have changed so much ur 16 points are hundred percent right

    1. Unfortunately, Muneeza, I am very flawed and so far from perfect. But, we are trying to do our best.
      Thanks for visiting our online home.

  4. Loved this post! I’m new to your blog, but I look forward to reading more posts! Hubby and I are married 2.5 years and expecting our first baby boy this month.
    Good luck and blessings to you and your family!

    1. Tanechka,
      First, HUGE Welcome to our online home! I am so glad you found us. We are happy to have you visit.
      Wishing you a most blessed delivery and recovery. May God bless your son with health, a love for God and you wisdom as parents to raise him.

  5. Thank you for the great post! Very refreshing and nicely put. My husband said you should write books ?

    1. You’re so sweet, I’ll take that as a compliment (cheeks blushing).
      Thanks for being a part of our online family.

  6. Thank you for sharing this!! So much insight!! I love reading your personal posts and learn so much from them. God bless you & your beautiful family!

    1. That makes me so happy, Jenny! I am so glad what God has been teaching us is resonating with others.

    1. Thank you for visiting our online home, Nadia. Many blessings to you and your loved ones.

  7. Absolutely amazing list and though I am not religious I am agree with everything. I have been reading your blog for awhile and very much enjoy your friendly , inspiring updates and photos about your family. Wishing you and your family a Beautiful Holiday season and my god bless you even more !
    With Love from Florida !

    1. Sasha, your comment was so beautiful. Brought me to tears, truly. I so appreciate you being a part of our online family. It’s because of friends like you I am motivated to continue blogging.
      Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones as well. Many, many blessings in the upcoming year.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Nadia! And you are right, His and His glory alone. We are very flawed humans that need none of it.
      Have a most wonderful Christmas with you loved ones.

  8. Valentina,
    Good pointers, all of them! Seriously. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing what God has put on your heart! Yes, no one can fulfill your inner desire more earnestly than Creator Himslelf. Only He will be able to always understand us, complicated females. With spouses miscommunication is easy to develop if we don’t center Christ into our daily walks. Often ladies expect so much of their husbands, forgetting that they are human as well ….. and as faulty as we, wives are. May God help us honor our marriages and strive for the best!
    Congratulations on your past anniversary and happy new 2019th Year!
    Praying for your pregnancy and soon labor and birth experience!

    1. Thanks so much for the beautiful comment, Larisa!! Wishing you a most blessed 2019 year as well.
      Totally agree with you, only the Creator who made us can fulfill our inner being.

  9. My husband and I are approaching our 4 year anniversary and I can take a lot of lessons you included here! A lot of good reminders and setting priorities straight to make a marriage beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Ps hubby loved the meaty spaghetti dinner yesterday from you blog- thank you 🙂

    1. Happy Anniversary, Mary. Wishing you many more years of blessings and we can all learn something from each other. (Thank you for trying our recipe, we so appreciate it.)

  10. Валентина привіт
    Дякую за відвертість та відкритість. Буде 8 років мого спільного життя з чоловіком. Які доречні поради!!!
    Благословінь твоїй сімі!!

  11. Hi Valentina,
    I came across your website, and I would love to one day get personally acquainted with your family! We have been married for about 14 years, have five kids, and also are followers of Christ. Thank you for your life lessons, I agree – although, sometimes easier said than done:) But thanks be to God for His wisdom and all-surpassing love. If you ever have time (and I am amazed at how you find time to raise a beautiful family and to build such a great blog) get in touch with me via email. I already subscribed, and look forward to trying some of your recipes!

    1. Welcome to our online home, Halyna. We are so happy to have you came across our site. Oh trust me, I wouldn’t be able to manage any of this myself. My husband works part-time with me on the blog and we have a full-time employee that helps manage the behinds the scenes things – it’s a team effort.
      I love our little corner of the internet and pray it is a slight blessing to the world.
      Thank you for subscribing and becoming a part of our family.
      You can always email me, I absolutely love emails. valentina (at) valentinascorner (dot) com.