After months of planning, dress fittings, cake tastings, and everything that goes into a wedding, the day had finally arrived. We stood on stage in front of all our friends and family and committed to a lifetime of being together. Before I knew it, we were leaving the building, getting showered with bubbles, and were about to embark on a brand new journey:
I felt like I was prepared. I had read all the books, we had discussed every major subject we could think of, and we had even attended premarital counseling. But, as it is with most things in life, no matter how prepared you think you are, some things can only be learned by diving in and experiencing it firsthand.
As I sit here and reflect on this past year, I realize how much I have grown. I literally feel like a completely different person than I was the day I said “I do.” I have grown so much and learned so many things. So, I decided it would be fun to do a post sharing the top 5 things I have learned after one year of marriage:
1. Enjoy the small beginnings.
That is a romantic way of saying: “Be ok with being poor.” Lots of young couples expect to have everything their parents have and everything that media says you need to make you happy. In our first year, my husband was still in school and working part time. I was working too, but we had a bunch of random expenses and some student loans to pay off. While I could have chosen to stress over the fact that we weren’t rolling in cash, instead I chose to enjoy this season of “living on love.” It can be a fun adventure, and of course, the Lord ALWAYS provided plenty for us.
2. There are more important things than a clean house.
My mom always keeps her house IMMACULATELY clean, so I had the same expectations of myself. I began to find my identity in how clean and well put-together my house was. (I know, crazy, right?) I have a full-time job as well as a creative side business, and, as a result, my house is often quite messy! However, I have come to realize that some things just aren’t as important as other things, and when it comes to cleaning the house or spending quality time with my husband, my husband always should come first. (And of course I do try to keep my house at least decently clean.)
3. Find small ways to cherish your spouse.
Life is so busy, and it is easy to forget to do kind things for your spouse. But it’s good to remember that there are so many little things you can do that don’t take much effort at all, and they mean the world to your spouse! Something that I try to do is have healthy, homemade lunches for my husband to take to work. This is such a simple, easy thing to do, and I know he loves it when I do this. He feels like I am cherishing him. One of the things he does for me quite often is bringing me my favorite coffee at work if I am extra tired that morning. Again, it doesn’t take much time or effort, but it means so much to me and totally makes my day.
4. It’s ok to say no to being busy.
In our first year of marriage, my husband and I declined many social events and commitments. Lots of these things were good things that we would have loved to be a part of, but we realized that as a young married couple, we needed to focus on each other and building OUR relationship. Together we decided what things we would be a part of and what things we could say no to. In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says:
“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”
I know this verse is talking about going to war, but the concept is still the same. Young married couples just need time to enjoy being married, without having the burden of too many responsibilities and commitments. We have such a strong foundation, since we were able to focus our attention on each other, and not run around wildly trying to get too many things done.
5. Praying together is the best way to stay strong in your marriage.
We have all heard the stats that couples who pray together stay together, but actually doing it every day can be hard! My husband and I try to pray together every day. It is something that we strive for, and when we do, it brings us closer to each other and to the Lord, which is the most important thing that we can do for our marriage.
I don’t claim to be an expert in this thing called marriage, but as time goes on I realize that I am learning so much from it.
It has been the most crazy, exhilarating, exhausting, wonderful year of my life.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord will teach me in the many years to come.