To talk about things that we have experienced in life, we use the present perfect tense. Note that this usage is possible only when there is no definite time reference. For example, we cannot use the present perfect tense to say that something happened to us on a particular day.
Form: Subject + has / have + past participle form of the verb
He has been to all the continents in the world.
I have never seen a ghost.
I have experienced despair.
I have seen that movie.
I have read all the novels written by Mark Twain.
I have faced many setbacks in life.
I have written a novel.
I have played cricket at the national level.
I have seen her before.
I have watched that movie.
I have attended some workshops on acting.
If we say when something happened, we use the simple past tense.
I wrote a novel last year. (NOT I have written a novel last year.)
I watched that movie yesterday.
I faced many setbacks in 2012. (NOT I have faced many setbacks in 2012.)
Now think about a life experience that started in the past and has continued up to the present. For example, consider this situation. You married your girlfriend ten years ago and you are still married to her. To express this idea, you can say:
I have been married to Alice for ten years.
How long have you been married to Alice?