July 9, 2016.
Thinking about this day still brings happy tears to my eyes. I don’t think that will ever stop. At least I pray it never does. It was a stressful, nerve-wracking, beautiful day spent with our family and friends. It was everything I’ve dreamed of and more.
You prepare a great deal for the wedding. You spend hours upon hours researching, planning, preparing, and celebrating. All that time and attention for one big day. A special day, of course, but no matter how you shake it, it’s still only one day of your life. Marriage- that’s the real journey. That’s where we spend our time and attention now. It’s crazy to think another year has come and gone. A year ago I reflected on the lessons learned during our first year of marriage with this post.
I thought it would be fun to reflect again and share more lessons learned. When I was thinking about this post I thought I might have a lot of similar lessons, but that actually wasn’t the case. We are learning and growing each day as husband and wife. Another year brought new lessons ❤
#1: Prayer is powerful
This is a forever truth.
Pray for each other. Pray together. Pray for my ability to grow in my role as a wife. Ask trusted friends to pray when we’re struggling with a situation or decision. Walk individually with the Lord. I’ve noticed that as we both grow closer to the Lord, we grow closer together. We are more patient, more loving, and more generous.
I’ve witnessed and experienced the power of prayer in the most specific, beautiful ways. God is powerful. He’s bigger than any challenge or fear. He knows what we need before we ask. Let Him always remain at the center of our relationship. Ecclesiastes 4:12 was a part of our wedding ceremony. I just love the image of the 3 strands. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
#2: We can accomplish anything if we’re in agreement
We work best as a team. When we come together in agreement, we can accomplish big things. Last year we agreed to eliminate our debt and we did it faster than I even thought possible! We are living with a lot less stress and better communication skills because of this accomplished goal. It seemed overwhelming when we got started, but once we agreed this was something we were fighting for, there was hope.
It didn’t suddenly become easier, but it did give us strength and perseverance because it was something we both wanted and were working towards together. I now know that we can do anything we set our minds to. Cheesy, but it’s the truth!
#3: It’s not worth it to “win” the argument
Usually if I’m focused on “winning” an argument, then that means I’ve lost sight of our relationship. I’m too consumed with being right that I forget for a moment what’s really important: our marriage.
I think he will admit that I am right a lot of the time (okay probably not ha!), but it really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Keep in mind, I’m still working on this. I do feel a lot better when I let go of trying to be right and shift my focus to how to work together. How can we come to an agreement? How can we resolve this and move forward? How can we do this better next time?
This has helped me actually be grateful when we disagree and argue because it was productive. It brought an issue to the surface and allowed us to work through it. We don’t usually fight about the same things over and over (how exhausting is that!?) and I think it’s largely because of this mindset.
#4: Laugh together… Often
Have fun! I know a lot of adult things come up in marriage like paying bills, errands, responsibilities, etc but it doesn’t always have to be serious. I married him because he’s the person I wanted to enjoy life with for as long as I’m able.
“I think one reason for a successful marriage is laughter. I think laughter gets you through the rough moments in marriage.” -Bob Newhart
Life really is better with laughter. Laugh off the little things. Plan a fun date. Be silly! Small things that used to offend or annoy me, now I try to laugh. I’m not always good at this. I still get serious and upset at times, but if I take the moment to laugh and not immediately react, it’s a better outcome.
#5: Sacrifice is required from both of us
When I was preparing this post I asked Eric what lessons he learned this year. The first one that came to mind: sacrifice. So it’s obviously a big lesson learned by both of us! We knew going into marriage sacrifice would be a big part. Merging two lives, two dreams, two backgrounds, two ways of seeing the world. This can only mean sacrifice and compromise.
But I’m not sure we truly understood what sacrifice would look like. In our second year its meant many different things. Supporting each other as we both have gone after different career paths. Getting home to take care of our pup, Stella, while the other does something after work. Handling most of the chores and errands while the other works hard. Saving money instead of going out to eat or going out with friends. Sacrificing time together to make dreams and success happen!
It’s been a challenging season as Eric has opened up Vida Dulce and I’ve been busy with work. Sacrifice has been a theme that we continue to improve on. I’m learning each day how to put his needs above my own.
#6: I can serve and love him well even when we’re apart
As I touched on in #5, we spend a lot of time apart because of our schedules. I was struggling with how I could still serve him and make him feel loved. I was used to doing this face to face, but then those opportunities became limited.
I had to get creative sometimes, but I learned less time together is no excuse to not feel loved or connected. Serving him while apart can look like a “thinking of you” text, buying the extra things from the grocery store I know he loves, or taking care of the chores so he can do other things on his one day off.
At first when we were trying to navigate this new normal, I felt disconnected. But with some time and practice, I actually feel more connected now than I did when we had more time together. Intentionality makes a difference. This schedule forces us to be intentional if we want to make progress in our marriage — the silver lining.
#7: He doesn’t complete me
I know this sounds very unromantic, but stick with me. I am already whole. I am a whole person on my own with Jesus’ help. My husband complements me. He adds to my life. He helps fill in the gaps. He’s patient while I’m impulsive. He researches everything while I’d rather choose the first best thing I find. He’s able to fix anything while I’m a bit lost when it comes to most repairs.
We share many similar traits and values which shine all the brighter together. We believe in serving the Lord, the need for hard work, and the importance of family. We absolutely love traveling, adore yummy food (and dessert of course!), and taking family walks at the lake.
He is a large, wonderful part of my world, but my world does not revolve around him. And thank goodness because that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. When we rely on someone else to complete us or make us happy, we will always be disappointed. We are both happy and healthy within ourselves. I certainly seek out ways to serve him and bring him joy and he does the same for me, but it’s not the end all be all. I pray that we continue to grow separately so we can grow together.
Thank you for walking this journey with us! My hope is that our marriage can be a light to others. May this will be an encouragement to you and your current/future love. It’s not promised to be easy, but it is worth it!
What have you learned along the way in your marriage journey!? I’d love to read your wisdom!