July 9, 2016.
That date will forever be etched into my mind and heart. It was the biggest day of our lives up to this point and I still have beautiful flashbacks to that gorgeous summer day.
It blows my mind how much planning, stress, anticipation, excitement, and coordination goes into one day. One huge day. But often times much less thought goes into the marriage. If you’re not careful it’s real easy to dream and discuss your wedding day, but what about all the days to come??
We grew so much during our engagement, but have grown even more in our first year as husband and wife. We’ve celebrated, we’ve fought, we’ve loved, we’ve cried and that’s what I want to share with you — some lessons we’ve learned so far in our journey.
#1: Communication is key
This has been and always will be the biggest factor when it comes to marriage, but even relationships in general. Communication is so key! Everything is rooted in communication and often your marriage will be a reflection of how well (or poorly) you and your spouse are handling this critical component.
During our premarital discipleship, we identified communication as a major area to focus and work on improving. We still struggle at times, but have made great progress in the way we communicate with one another. As a married couple, I believe nothing is off limits to communcation — you should be able to talk about any subject, no matter how uncomfortable or seemingly insignificant it may seem. Two people chose to become one, so everything you do affects your spouse. You should be making decisions together and in order to do this, communication needs to happen.
This tends to have a negative connotation with it — if a husband needs to check with his wife he’s “whipped” or vice versa, she’s being “controlled.” Whatever the case may be, I don’t think it’s a negative thing at all! A team can only work when communication is involved. I want my husband and I to be the best team. This is a partnership.
#2: God must stay at the center
Marriage can be challenging. It’s a daily choice to love, serve, and support your partner. Some days are much easier than other, lets be honest. I am selfish and imperfect. If it was just up to me, I would not be able to honor and serve my husband well. But Jesus. He is the perfect example of how to selflessly love, honor, and serve one another and I strive to follow His example. I mess up. A lot. But He is quick to forgive and guide me.
Faith has been an important area to both my husband and I and we wanted to be sure that God remained at the center of our marriage. The world can try to tell us many things and try to pull us in many directions, but we strive to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
We recently have gotten back into the habit of praying together every night before bed. It just takes a few minutes, but it makes such a difference! I love hearing Eric’s prayer requests, especially when he’s praying for something specifically for me. It’s such a gift to be able to serve and support one another in this way.
#3: Choose your battles, but fight fair
Fights will happen. There has been no way we’re able to avoid this fact, but I’ve noticed fights happen a lot less often when we’re understanding and not quick to become offended. Easier said than done, right?
I’ve learned more about myself. When I’m stressed I’m much quicker to become offended — I’m not as understanding and it’s not a good combo for peace. Sometimes stress will pop up unknowingly, but if there’s a stressful situation approaching I try to keep my cool and distance. Doesn’t always work, but that’s a huge part where communication comes in.
Most every fight we’ve ever had has been productive in the sense that we’re able to move forward from it. Each one teaches us something and molds our relationship. I’m not saying it’s fun or preferable, but it’s a necessary evil at times. I’m still learning how to bite my tongue and let things go — not everything is worth an argument. But when it’s something important I’m willing to set aside that comfort and get into the mess if it means we will ultimately be better for it. It’s can be a tough call to make, especially in the moment, so don’t be afraid to take a step back.
#4: Maintain your individuality
In a marriage I believe it’s important to be focused on your spouse. It’s great to spend time together and find things you enjoy doing together to bond and create memories. Just as important, though, is continuing to do your own things. Having your very own hobbies and interests allows you both to continue to explore your own uniqueness while ultimately allows you to grow as a couple.
It’s beautiful to allow that space to grow and explore — it builds trust. You’re able to see different qualities in your spouse (and yourself!) We can get so caught up in the “normal” day to day, but don’t be afraid to step out and try something new that’s just for you!
#5: Date nights!
There’s the cliche “date your spouse,” but it’s so true! There are times we fall into the rut of work, bills, chores, errands. We get tired and it can be easy for date nights to fall to the wayside. We decided early on that we would strive for a weekly date night. There are seasons where this has become more challenging and we may not make it happen, but we do our best.
Intentional time spent together is crucial. Sometimes it’s grabbing Chinese from our favorite spot and enjoying a relaxing night in or maybe it’s going out for drinks. One thing you can guarantee is that food will always be involved 😉
Date nights provide the time and focus to really connect. Talk, check in, and learn what’s going on in the other person’s world. There are some nights during the week that we may only have 30 minutes together before bed, so date nights are cherished. If you and your love don’t already have a regular time on the calendar I challenge you to figure out a time to set aside just for the two of you <3
#6: Lean into your circle
We were not made to do life alone and the same is true for marriage. Remember those loved ones at your wedding?? They were there to celebrate for your special day, but they are also the ones to walk the marriage journey with you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and share the journey.
Seek out their wisdom. Ask for their prayers. Share the moments. Life is sweeter when we’re in community.
There will also be many amazing people that come into your life after the wedding day. Each person comes along your path for a reason, so cultivate those relationships. Eric and I have been immensely blessed with new friendships that have come into our lives over the past year. We may not have known them long, but they are impacting our lives and strengthening our marriage by encouraging us and being great support systems.
#7: We are a team
At the end of the day no matter what happens, we are a team. #TeamTorres
I have a best friend for life — that’s what I agreed to on our wedding day. That means he will always have my back and I will always have his. Early on, this wasn’t easy. We would feel against each other if a fight would arise and that only made things worse.
He affects me and I affect him. We are both playing for the same team and we want each other to win. That mindset helps us when things are challenging. I trust that we will be able to make it through anything because we are working as a team. We each have individual gifts, talents, and abilities that God placed together and I’m so grateful.
Thank you for coming alongside us on this journey! My hope is that this will be an encouragement to you and your current/future love. It’s not an easy ride, but it’s definitely one that’s worth it!
What have you learned along the way!? I’d love to read your wisdom!