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I can’t believe that tomorrow is our four year wedding anniversary. Anel and I got married at a relatively young age (I was 27 and he was 26!) four years ago in Newport, RI. While I want to say that it gets easier as time goes by, that would be a lie. This year has been the hardest one not only of our marriage but of our entire relationship.

We have lived through so many awful times in our year-long fertility struggle, but the fact that our marriage is not only alive and kicking but flourishing today is sometimes mind-boggling. In last year’s post, we both excitedly said that we we couldn’t wait to start a family in the next year… but it’s now here and we’re still without one.

I’m now fairly sure that if we could get through this (although we’re still going through it), we can get through anything together. So here’s hoping that the next year brings more joy than tears, no matter what shakes out.

Anel and I are both going to answer the same questions we answered last year to see if anything has changed (hint: it has!).

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What have you learned about marriage over the last four year?

Julia: It’s a full time job. People say marriage is hard for a reason but, like with any job, if you put in the time and effort to perfect it, the rewards are worth it. We are constantly doing things to improve our relationship and sometimes have to have the same conversation about something that is bothering one of us every single month… but instead of getting frustrated, we grow as a couple each and every time.

Anel: You have to be on the same team no matter what. Julia would always say this in our first few years of marriage but now, after the year we had, I understand what she means. But compromise and communication are the most important factors in a happy marriage. And it’s not always easy to be good at both.

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What is one thing that pushes the other person’s buttons?

Julia: When I get too controlling which is pretty often. Being controlled is Anel’s worst nightmare. I’ve made great strides in the last year to be less controlling and he’s made great strides to tell me (calmly) when I’m doing it again.

Anel: When I get distracted from the task at hand and forget to do something she asked me to do. I’ve started writing things down to prevent that. She also hates when I check my phone at dinner.

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What do you love most about the other person?

Julia: His never-ending support of everything I do. He was the first one to push me to quit my job to blog full time despite the fact that our income would be cut in half and he’s in the process of starting his own business. He cared more about my health and happiness than the money which makes me feel incredibly lucky.

Anel: I love her drive to be successful in everything that she does. It’s inspiring to see. I love her smile and uncontrollable laughter, how much she cares about Boots, and how she really cares about every meal she cooks for us. Most of all I love the support she offers in all of my adventures… even if I want to do something ridiculous like buy a compound bow. (Julia’s note: True story, he recently bought an effing compound bow. Why? No idea.)

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How do you make the other person laugh?

Julia: When I think something is really funny, I have this breathy uncontrollable laugh. Anel thinks that is the funniest thing in the world and then he can’t stop laughing either. It’s a cycle of hysteria that can last for quite a while!

Anel: When I make up my own words to songs or just in general. And she thinks my dance moves are hilarious but they’re actually not a joke.

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What do you still want to work on as husband/wife?

Julia: Nothing, I’m perfect… just kidding! I need to work on being less controlling.

Anel: My focus this year is to be more patient and try not to get frustrated about the little things that don’t matter. I can have a short fuse but am working on changing that.

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What makes you a good husband/wife?

Julia: I said this last year but it’s the best answer. I love to take care of people including my husband. I love making him a meal that he loves or doing something cute like buying him a new shirt or making him his favorite drink so when he comes home from work he has a little surprise.

Anel: I’m a good listener and am always there for her no matter what she is going through. I’m also thoughtful and try to anticipate what she might want before she says it out loud.

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What is one thing you want to do together in year five of marriage?

Julia: Obviously first and foremost I want us to procreate already! That is our number one goal (again) this year, and although we’ll be focusing on it quite a bit, I also want to make sure that we take the time to appreciate each other and spend time enjoying each other’s company without worrying too much about our future.

Anel: Of course I want us to become parents this year. Julia is going to be an amazing mom and I can’t wait to see that happen for her and for us.

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Marriage is a beautiful thing but it takes work! For all you married folks out there, share your marriage advice below. We can all benefit to see how other people do things well.