3 years. 3 years? 3 YEARS.
Time has flown by yet I feel like we’ve only just begun. To give some context, my husband and I have known each other since middle school. So although we are still in our “honeymoon” phase of our marriage, we’ve had a relationship for more than 10 years. Friendship through dating through courtship through marriage, its been absolutely wonderful.
When Allison said I should do a post about marriage, it kind of caught me off guard. What do I really know about it? 3 years is not a long time, compared to the 20, 30, or 50 year anniversaries of the cute little old couples you see on Pinterest. For my husband and I, it seems to have been so easy! We’ve had few tragedies and lots of fun. Maybe though, what we’ve done to make our relationship feel “easy” is what I’ve learned.
Marriage has been easy for us. Not the relationship we had before we were married. That part of our relationship was difficult. It was full of hormones, jealousy, and a TON of indecisiveness on both sides. However, that’s what dating is about right? You gotta make some decisions, realize what you need and what you want, and come to terms that in this day in age you totally get to choose your life partner. (For most of us anyway). I think the scariest part of that is that God gives us control. Yikes!
During our first year of marriage, things didn’t really feel much different for me. Yes, I lived with someone new. Yes, we learned each other’s pet peeves fast. These things still did not make me “feel” different. I don’t think (until now) that I realized how different things really were. In retrospect, my relationship with my husband is so much deeper than it’s ever been.
Within this depth of connection – there are a few words that come to me instantly.
Sacrifice. It sounds so awful doesn’t it? True sacrifice isn’t awful. It’s actually kind of beautiful. It’s more than taking turns picking which Netflix show to watch or never eating sushi because your boo-bear doesn’t like it. For me, I’ve been on the receiving end of sacrifice a thousand times. My husband has done nothing but support me in my dream to become a physician. He sacrificed money by letting me quit my full-time job to take night classes. He’s sacrificing a home cooked meal every night so I can study. He’s surrendering to twelve-hour shifts so we can pay rent and buy food AND he’s driving 2 hours twice a week to do it. I do what I can to spoil the crap out of him when he’s with me, but there’s really no comparison. He was raised with compassion and a generous heart. (Thank you my DMIL and DFIL!)
Adventure. Who doesn’t love a good thrill every once in a while? We try to do something adventurous every couple of months. We love to travel, but since that’s costly we try to be creative! We visit family, try new restaurants, and try to be spontaneous. We go to the gym together. We take our puppy for walks together. I’m sure we are afforded more adventure since we have no children at this time – but my sisters and brothers all seem to have worked that part out with kids … why won’t we? (I’ve also heard that just having kiddos IS an adventure). That adventure we have not jumped into yet. We did recently hop a train. It was awesome. If you’re willing to make life interesting, it will be interesting.
Prayer. Super important. For our marriage, it brings us close to the One who brought us close. We pray at home, we pray in public before meals, we pray together and we pray separately. Somehow, just bowing our heads and sitting in silence can often be one of the most intimate times we share! It’s a fantastic feeling when the one you love is right there with you, in the same mind set. For a while, the hubs used to leave for work early in the morning before I got up. Every morning before he walked out the door, he would sort of hover over me in prayer. Seriously started my day in such a different way. I felt loved and connected and confirmed. Prayer is just a good thing!
Examples. I’ve experienced some undoubtedly AWFUL examples of marriage, and some uncommonly GREAT ones too. My husband is especially good at reminding me that “our relationship is not any one else’s”. This is true, but I like to think we can draw from those marriages surrounding us to help keep our marriage fluid. Some really awful examples usually include bad communication, self-depreciation, and a lack of forgiveness. Both my husband and I have been able to recognize where we might do these things, and verbalize to each other. Honesty is such an amazing thing! Some really amazing examples come from my siblings (both biological and in-law). To these couples I give much credit. In most of these marriages I find transparency, encouragement, and partnership. It seems like instead of complaining about gaps in the relationships, these couples choose to fill them.
There is so much I still have to learn from my husband and our marriage. I’m so thankful to be given this blessing. I also know how painful it can be to feel like a marriage isn’t a blessing. To those of you who might read this and think “well that’s great for her, but that’s nothing like my marriage or the relationships I see”, my heart aches. I would never say I’m an expert on marriage, I am so far from it. It is my hope for you that you look beyond what you have experienced, and look forward to a more positive outcome. Each day we are given is a mother chance to make things better. I’ll be praying for you!