What We’ve Learned from 3 Years of Marriage

Eight years ago yesterday, Ryan and I officially became college sweethearts. And, three years ago today we pledged our love and lives to one another in front of our family and friends. It’s hard to believe that our wedding day already is a distant memory – sure, we still look at our pictures from time-to-time and reminisce about the day, but we’ve experienced and accomplished so much since then. Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say! Don’t be fooled, though – marriage is hard work. Ryan and I work at our relationship every single day, and we continue to learn about each other in the process. In honor of our wedding anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share what we’ve learned from three years of marriage from each of our own perspective. 

What We've Learned from 3 Years of Marriage


What I’ve learned in the first three years of marriage is not what you might think.

The old adages of don’t go to bed angry and marriage is about give and take always seem to apply to most everyday circumstances. But when I think about it, what I’ve learned most is that marriage is not about ME. It is about US. It is about what WE decide is important to us, and that is the only thing that matters. Sure, there will be your everyday struggles, but it is a different mindset to think about what is not just best for you anymore, but best for our family.

What We've Learned from 3 Years of Marriage


The biggest lesson that I’ve learned from the last three years of marriage is that communication is key.

This probably seems obvious to most people, but it can be harder than you realize. As someone who grew up pretty self-reliant and rarely asks anybody for help, I have a tendency to let things bottle up and go unresolved if I can’t figure it out myself. While this certainly isn’t the healthiest habit for my own well-being, it also isn’t an ingredient for an open and honest marriage. Ryan (like most men) isn’t a mind-reader, no matter how much I wish he was. I often remind myself that when he asks me if something is wrong or if he can help with something, I need to tell the truth and not just shrug it off as nothing.

Above all, after eight years together there’s still nobody else that I would rather share this life with. Ryan, above all else, is my best friend. He makes me laugh to no end, and I know there’s nothing that he wouldn’t do to ensure my happiness. To have a partner like Ryan along for this crazy ride is the ultimate gift, and I can’t imagine anybody else by my side as we navigate life and marriage together.

Here’s to many more years and adventures together!


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  1. So sorry for the late comment, I am just catching up on blogging! 🙂 Wonderful post though and what beautiful pictures!!! Happy Anniversary too!! Wishing you both many more years of love, laughter, and happiness. 🙂

    Posted 10.9.16 Reply
  2. Emily Dunham wrote:

    These are both such huge keys to a successful marriage! Happy Anniversary!

    Posted 10.6.16 Reply
  3. Love this! And I can completely, 100% agree with both of those! Those are challenging things to learn how to accept and live by, but so crucial for a wedding. Brett and I have to work on those every. single. day! I also love your dress! It reminds me so much of my own- which doesn’t surprise me one bit:):)!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
    • Yes! It’s nice to know that we aren’t alone in having to “work at it” everyday. And, our dresses are so similar – I love it!

      Posted 10.6.16 Reply
  4. Christina Sotherden wrote:

    Happy, happy Anniversary! I hope you’re having the best time!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  5. Stacy wrote:

    Happy Anniversary Karly and Ryan! My Ryan and I are going on 3 weeks right now and it feels pretty amazing. I can’t imagine how awesome it will be to be celebrating 3 years!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  6. mdb0112 wrote:

    Happy Annivresary, you two! Hope you enjoy your trip! xx, I’m Fixin’ To

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  7. Happy 3 years!! Josh and I are married three years now and I’d say those are our biggest lessons too!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  8. Happy Anniversary! Gorgeous pictures. And I am the same way about being independent and not always communicating. Luckily my hubs is really good at communicating! So key!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  9. Happy anniversary! Communication definitely seems so obvious, but sometimes it’s hard to actually follow through and communicate with your significant other. I love Ryan’s answer that it’s not about you as individuals anymore, but you want as a team. Marriage really is a team sport! I hope that you’re having a blast on your anniversary trip!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  10. awww happiest of anniversaries!! i agree, communication is so important. i know more now than i did 3 years ago and hope to know even more in another 3 years, and so on.

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  11. Happy Anniversary! I love what you both have learned about being married. So so true! Cheers to many more years together!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  12. Love this! Happy Anniversary, you two!! Cheers to many more!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  13. Debra Stachelski wrote:

    Happy Anniversary to you both! I’ve enjoyed watching you grow as a couple and I think you’ve both found the formula to make it work. Enjoy your special day today!

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  14. Jenn wrote:

    Happy anniversary!!! Love that you guys did this–I think it will be fun to look back on. And I think they are both true. I think the hardest thing for me to realize in relationships was that guys aren’t mind readers as much as we want them to be. Love how you shared that 🙂

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply
  15. Biana Perez wrote:

    Happy anniversary – wishing you many more years of happiness! I totally agree with both of your keys to marriage, communication and thinking about the both of you is what’s important! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

    Posted 10.5.16 Reply

lately on instagram @whatkarlysaid

  • To my #foreverweddingdate: thanks for always standing by my side, letting me dress you up once in a while, and posing for pictures outside my childhood home like it’s high school graduation day. I love you so much. 😂❤️ #marriedlife #fridayfeels
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@Disneyland is full of hidden scenes and little details. This area in particular, right around the corner from Fantasyland, was my favorite of them all! Maybe because we were there early before the crowds came pouring in, or maybe I was taking a moment to be nostalgic ... either way this was the first time in a few months that I felt happy and 100% myself. Perhaps that’s the magic of Disney that Walt always talked about.  #adultsatdisney #disneyland
Do you ever experience quiet moments of total content while on vacation, no matter where you are?
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  • California vacation part one: ☑️. Thanks for the magic, memories and OG nostalgia Disneyland! #adultsatdisney #toontown #wallsofdisney