It’s true. My husband and I have been married a whole year (a little less when I started writing this), but still. 365 days together as Mr. + Mrs. At the very least 365 laughable moments together, but so much more than that. I’m delighted to be able to document and share with you all what our first year of marriage has taught us.
Your spouse doesn’t want to hurt you.
It’s true. I remember the night we got married, driving back to our first night together, and I legitimately snapped at Ryan for something so small. Sitting next to him writing this I actually leaned over and said, “Do you remember why we were upset with each other?” Neither of us can remember the story in full, but something about me misjudging a situation and immediately making him a bad guy. You see, friends, I think that we can unexpectedly react out of a place of hurt sometimes, but we don’t intentionally mean to hurt our spouse. There hasn’t been a day, yet, where I’ve woken up with the intentions of being mean to my husband. No, my intentions are always good, but my feelings aren’t always. We all know what they say about feelings dictating actions- it just isn’t always positive. I don’t long to make my husbands days harder, and he doesn’t intend to do that to me, but coupled with circumstances and hardships, sometimes our worst selves are spewed onto our spouses in a rapid fire of hurt. We’ve come so far from this which brings me into our next thing we’ve learned this year..
Marriage is a daily rhythm of “I’m sorry”, “I love you”, and “I forgive you”.
So I said that we’ve come a long way from car rides home in an argument over something small, and maybe we have, but perhaps a greater part of us has just gotten better with our loving versus fighting words. I cannot count the amount of times either my husband or I have apologized and asked for forgiveness, and I hope I can never count the hefty amount of times we’ve reminded each other of our love for one another. Maybe marriage isn’t about fighting less, but maybe it’s about learning to apologize more. I used to over- apologize for small things, like burning a piece of toast, and I’ve come a way since then, but it is still a rhythm I have to push into often to make sure that I’m apologizing and asking for forgiveness when I hurt my husband unexpectedly. And “I love you”- well that should be said almost as often as you breathe. When you wake up in the morning, when you hit the snooze for the fifth time (here’s to looking at you, babe!), when you leave and get back home, when you’re saddened by something or joyful over something else. I love you. Three words that never lose their weightiness in a committed marriage.
Saying yes to marriage is like saying yes to allowing your sin to be exposed (just be prepared).
I used to think I was a pretty nice girl…until February 4th, 2017. In this last year of marriage, I have been made fully aware of my sinfulness by my husband and convicted of my behaviors by the Spirit, as well. You think you’re doing okay, but then all of the sudden, you get mad about something small or you do the same thing you said you wouldn’t do again. There are days when I’m made so aware of just how ugly of a character I can have- where I’m consistently nagging, complaining, and plain, down right annoying. Now I don’t want you to assume that my husband is an angry man who just picks out all of my bad things- absolutely not- but being married to him and living in such close proximity with another human has brought so many of my shortcomings to awareness. Yes, I’m probably always going to take too long of showers, not be prompt with cleaning the skillet (it’s hard), be obsessive over the budget, give my husband one too many six-year-old-like reminders. These are things I’m just going to do because I have faults- and big ones, but marriage will make you so much more aware than you ever dare to dream.
You will fall more in love with your spouse than you knew possible.
It’s true- I sit here 11 months and some odd days away from a year of marriage and I can’t believe how many times I still look at Ryan and think “I married the most amazing man!” or “I don’t know if I can love you more”. I once read about how your wedding day is kind of like touching your toes in an ocean and with every passing year, the waves of love just continue to build. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel next year.
Laundry and grocery shopping and chores won’t get done themselves.
If you can even believe it- they don’t. Marriage is a team effort. Nobody in the marriage should be greater or more in control. Ryan and I have had to seek the Lord’s help with this so much. Both of us are natural leaders in certain areas of our lives and although it can be so sweet, it also has brought out some of the most challenging of times in our marriage. I have cried over all three of the above bolded things. Now, a year later, we’re down to a sort-of rhythm and are more restful with our time. We choose things that are live-giving and restful, so when it comes to chores and household duties, we have specific time set apart for that. We want to cultivate our hours together well which means prioritizing what needs to come first, next, and last. What laundry, grocery shopping, and chores have really taught me is how to prioritize my time well.
Make time for the real, life-giving things.
This has been huge for us. We like to sit down on Sunday nights and outline our weeks ahead- being mindful of times when we’ll need to rest and times when we’ll need to snuggle in and spend time together. Life is busy, and I truly believe life will continue to be busy and that busy will take all different shapes and sizes as the years continue. What I don’t want to happen is to forget the really good, really truly lovely things in life. One rhythm we have in our relationship is to make plenty of room for friends. I’m involved in a womens group, I spend most Monday nights with one of my closest friends, my husband always says “yes” to a sleepover with one of my gal pals, and I still pursue the things that bring me joy. For Ryan, this looks like basketball practice, mens group, coffee trips, and day trips by himself (something he really enjoys) or video games (I’m still learning how to be gracious and understanding on this one). When you make time for the life-giving things, when you make time for rest, and when you make time for each other, it feels like everything else just falls into place.
God created marriage to make us holy, not happy. [Essentially an idea taken from Sacred Marriage book by Gary Thomas].
So here’s the things. God didn’t create marriage for your happiness or for mine, but only for us to gain a greater understanding of Him and His love. At one point in the book, Gary says this, “The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view? In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.” Ryan and I are committed to bringing Glory to the Lord through our marriage however possible. We long to paint a better image of His love to the people around us by praying for them, encouraging them, and inviting us into His love. This is so sweet, and I’m so grateful that we decided to be committed to others when we got married. If we were striving just for our own desires, we’d come up short each and every time. And this is why we strive alone for God’s best for us.
Thanks for reading along as I unpacked our first year of marriage! I pray this brings encouragement to whoever may read my words- silly and small as they may be. We are blessed by y’all. You give me passion to share my words.