20 important things I’ve learned from 20 years of marriage

After 20 plus years of marriage, there has been a lot of knowledge learned!



My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a few years ago!!

It has not been an easy road, but it’s been an adventure filled with many ups & downs, failures, success, accomplishments and never-ending love! I can say that I have been with my husband more than I have been without him. I’ve been with him more than half of my life…let that sink in! I got married when I was twenty years old. Many people think that was a little young, but when you know you’ve found the right person, why wait?





The definition of marriage? How do you define marriage?

Marriage can be defined in many different ways, depending on who you ask. I have my own definition of marriage, as I’m sure my husband has his own definition.

I define marriage as:

-the state of being united as spouses

-an intimate or close union between two people


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Here’s our story…

We met back when my husband and my mom worked at the same retail store. She worked in the store, and he worked in the restaurant in the store. My mom would go to the store restaurant to have lunch often, and they would talk to one another. We started dating shortly after I graduated from high school; so as close to high school sweethearts without being actual high school sweethearts. We dated for 3 years before we actually said our “I Do’s”. So in actuality, we have officially been a couple for twenty-three years, and married for twenty years! I was twenty years old, he was twenty-three years old and we were new parents when we got married. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we knew we loved each other and our new little family, and that’s all that mattered!


From then to now…


We’ve come a long way from when we first got married. We have two amazing daughters, and are enjoying our time as almost empty nesters! Our empty nester phase will be different but interesting, as we adapt to our lives without both of our daughters living at home. I look forward to that next chapter in our lives and spending time as an actual “couple”. There have been so many things that I have learned and found out about myself and my husband over the past twenty plus years. When people ask us how long we’ve been married and we tell them, their number one question they always ask us is; “What is the secret to staying married that long”? First, we normally look at each other and laugh; then we answer almost at the same time, COMPROMISE!!! Marriage is a roller coaster and things can almost change daily. The main thing to remember is to compromise and be willing to be flexible in your married life.

So, I decided what better way to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary than to share 20 important facts that I’ve learned, realized, and have done over 20 years of marriage! Also, I will share with you our awesome wedding anniversary gift that we had made! It’s so special, and I absolutely LOVE it! Enjoy!


20 important facts that have worked from 20 years of marriage

(In no particular order…)

1. Compliment each other.

Everyone loves to hear how amazing, beautiful or handsome they look!

2. Date each other.

Try to aim for a minimum of 2 date nights a month.

3. Laugh together.

A good laugh cures most problems!

4. Share your dreams & goals with one another.

Dream together and set goals as a couple too.

5. Listen to each other.

So important. Each person must feel that they are being listened to.

6. Love each other for who you are.

You can’t change each other, so love each other the way you are!

7. Little things do count.

A call. A text. Helping one another. It all counts in a big way.

8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

9. Pick your battles.

Sometimes you just have to let the small stuff be and know when to pick your battles. Everything doesn’t have to be a big deal.

10. Spend time together doing what the other loves.

Doing what the other loves shows you care about their interests just as much as your own.





11. Remember why you fell in love in the first place.

Think about the why often…trust me, it’ll make you smile!

12. It’s ok to be wrong.

No one is always right and it’s not the end of the world if you’re wrong.

13. Apologize and mean it.

Don’t apologize just to appease the other person. Only apologize if you mean it.

14. Never go to bed angry.

Try to work out whatever gripes you have and don’t take it to bed with you.

15. Keep your marriage between the two of you.

You are a married couple. A couple is two. So keep whatever goes on in your marriage between the two of you.

16. Flirt with each other.

Bust out those old pick up lines and dust them off! Haha!

17. Compromise.

You have to compromise. One person cannot always get what they want.

18. Talk to each other.

Seems obvious that you should talk to your spouse. But that’s just it; just as easy as it can be to talk to each other, it can be just as easy to not talk to each other. Communication is key!

19. Make family decisions together.

You made a family together. So make family decisions as a couple.

20. Say I love you everyday.

Face to face. In a text. Over the phone. On a sticky note. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.



What to take from this

There you have it…nothing extra special, probably things you have heard before. The thing is, you both have to want your marriage to work for it to last. You both have to work on making it a success. Every. Single. Day. I hope that you found a few things that you can use in your own marriage.



Now for the awesome wedding anniversary gift we got made!!!

So…have you ever heard of a company named Modern Map Art? Well, up until a month ago, neither had I. The company reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I would be interested in getting some Star Map Art done. I had no idea what Star Map Art was, so I went to their website, Modern Map Art, to check out what it was. I was in awe. You can custom make a night sky with any date and place you would like! You can customize the style, size, color scheme, fonts and decide if you would like the constellations mapped of your date & coordinates or leave it as the night sky; and have a border or no border. You can add any date and place you want, and decide if you would like the actual coordinates for the place you choose to be on the art itself.

I of course chose where we got married; Las Vegas, Nevada and our wedding date; August 8, 1998. I also picked a custom title, had a border added and the constellations added as well. I chose a custom font from the list of fonts and had the coordinates added to my art as well. I received my 16 x 20 poster in the mail in about 3 days, and all I had to do was put it in a frame! I think it came out so nice! What do you think? Pretty cool, huh?!


This was definitely a great gift idea, and we both love it! It’s one of the most special gifts we have.


Do you have a special occasion coming up and are looking for the PERFECT gift? A Star Map Art from Modern Map Art is the perfect gift! Modern Map Art has other products as well, check out all their products here.


All in all, it was a great anniversary, and I look forward to sharing my life with my husband for twenty plus more years!

Anitra J.


  1. What an inspiration in todays world. The love you share is one of a kind. Congratulations on your latest anniversary (my birthday). I love the gift you shared.
    Continue to keep your love growing and bless each other every day.

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Nancy, and Happy belated Birthday!!

  2. My husband and I are coming up on 17 years of marriage so I can totally relate to your post. I just LOVE the starry sky gift! What a cool idea! Congratulations on 20 years!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Autumn!

  3. Wow! Ya’ll are so much like my husband and I…other then the kids! He had a son before he met me and we don’t have any of our own. We met in 1997 and got married August 23, 1999! Your 20 things learned is something we also practice. I hope a whole lot of people see this post and put it to good use! Marriage takes work!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Jenn!

  4. Tami Sullivan says:

    I have only been with my husband for 8 years and I completely agree with each way to make a marriage last. I hope to use each of these and last 20+ years too!

  5. This was really fun and inspiring for me to read. My husband and I just celebrated our first married anniversary in April. We always talk about doing things as a team and making decisions for our son together, so I liked that, that was included in making a marriage work!

  6. Congratulations! We have been married 23 years and your list is pretty much perfect! I love that star map idea. That’s so cool, thanks for sharing!

  7. My husband and I have been together for 16 years and married 13 and your 20 things are really spot on. When people ask our secret to success it’s always two things : communicate and marry your best friend.

    I love the star map you got to commemorate your anniversary, how beautiful and thoughtful! I’m definitely going to have to check those out!

    Congrats on twenty years!

  8. Those are great tips! Couples tend to take one another for granted these days and expectations are ridiculous. We have so much to learn from your experience but so far have been practising most of the 20 tips! Here’s to another 20 years and beyond for the both of you x

  9. Happy 20 Year Anniversary! My husband and I just reached our 8 year anniversary and we live by most all of these. It’s all great advice for anyone needing a reminder. And the Star Map Art is gorgeous!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Ashley!

  10. Congratulations!!! 20 years!??! thats crazy! thats such a big milestone and you are so lucky to have come that far!


  11. Congratulations!
    Even after living with my Boyfriend for not-quite 8 years I know this is all so true! It’s great advice.
    And I love the constellation art! It’s gorgeous!

  12. This was so sweet and encouraging. Congratulations to you both on 20 years, I hope you had a lovely anniversary!

  13. Thanks for sharing these! We are only 2 years in and it feels very different than the 6 we spent dating before. I guess things just changed. We are doing more and more of what you listed and I can tell a world of difference <3.

  14. My husband and I are still newlyweds. We just celebrated our first anniversary this month. The listening tip is so important. It’s definitely a growth area for me.

  15. I think this is an awesome post to maintain the aura of being married. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Congratulations! Really great advice too. Thank you, Kippi

  17. Congratulations!!!! Those are very important tip…..We use the same method just celebrated our 16th. year. Marriage is a beautiful thing I love being married!

  18. I love this!! Congratulations on 20 years!!

  19. This is a wonderful list for any stage of marriage. Congrats on the 20 yr mark! Wishing you both continued love, happiness, and good vibes <3

  20. Happy anniversary. Marriage is tough been married 15 years coming up. This post is great.

  21. These are absolutely wonderful tips. What a sweet idea for your anniversary gift! xo

  22. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! Great suggestions for keeping the marriage alive and well. What a unique and special anniversary gift! Thanks for sharing Anitra!

  23. Congrats on an amazing journey together! Long May it continue. And that star map is such a great idea! I love it. I’m going to check out the company. I’d love to gift my kids and grandkids with star maps of the day they were born b

  24. Crystallace Fenn says:

    I love this! Congrats on a huge milestone and thanks for the great advice. Not married yet but we are working towards it.

  25. what a cool anniversary gift idea! love it!

  26. Great tips. I’ve only been married for 13 years, but all these lessons (or rules) are true! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Happy Anniversary! These are all important in a relationship. I love the star map too!

  28. This is a perfect list. Such great advice to have from someone who is in a happy forever marriage!

  29. I love this list! I know the tips are common but we need to remind ourselves again and again about what is important in a marriage. You two are the cutest! Thanks for sharing your story.

  30. Regina Butler says:

    YES to all of these! Dating and laughing together is so important. I can’t wait till I can get to 20 years of marriage.

  31. Taking quite a few things away from this. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Patricia Chamberlain says:

    Happy anniversary! This is all great advice!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thank you Patricia

  33. Congratulations! You are such one cute and lovely couple.

    1. Anitra says:

      Thank you Dorry!

  34. It was nice to read your story of 20 years of marriage. I enjoy reading stories about long time marriages because it encourages me in my own marriage.

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Janeane!

  35. Aisha says:

    Beautiful. Insightful for a 20-year old woman like myself considering marriage. May the Divine Essence of God continue to bless you with many more years of love, success & growth. God bless. – Sister Aisha

  36. Towanda Walter Chigwikwi says:

    I relate to all 20. I have added my three, to align with my 23 years of marriage , January 1, 2001 and still counting; 1, Be your spouse”s best friend; 2. Pray together and for each other, 3. Neither of us is perfect.

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