Has it ALREADY been a year?!? Wow. This past year has been so full of so many things that I can’t believe it all got packed into a year. And we’re here! We made it! I always wondered what that first year of marriage would be like, hearing conflicting views of “it’s the toughest year” and you’ll be in the “honeymoon phase”, I wondered where we would fall. Somehow, I think it was a beautiful mixture of both and never more one than the other.
In a year, we bought a dog, battled depression, saw many friends off on their marriage adventures, conquered generational strongholds, balanced a new work/life schedule, sent off part of our family to Virginia, discovered our deep commitment to each other, cleaned / organized / decorated our first home together (many many wife lessons to be learned in that one!), buried my grandmother, married my mother, bought our first piece of furniture together (our couch!), celebrated graduations / birthdays / graduations and learned SO MANY lessons about being husband and wife.
Lessons in lists are among my favorite things. Lists helps me organize the scattered thoughts of my mind and make sense of them. So here’s my list of life lessons after our first year of marriage:
1.) GRACE GRACE GRACE – my ultimate prayer and challenge is to pour out grace. We are both in this new and difficult and strange and wonderful journey together as husband and wife. We are learning that we communicate (VERY) differently and our needs / desires need to not only be expressed, but forgiven when they’re failed to be met. I would have to say this falls mainly on me, my husband has taught me so much about grace and what it means to love despite frustration.
2.) I married my best friend – (This is where you gag and roll your eyes, because here’s the mushy stuff) I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the man I was supposed to marry, but our depth of friendship has grown deeper than I had ever imagined when we said “I do”. He’s held my hand through some really ugly stuff, I’ve been able to encourage him and build him up in things he lacked confidence in, we’ve challenged each other, supported each other, irritated / annoyed one another, and laughed like crazy. Really guys, he’s amazing, and the most loyal and loving friend a girl could ask for.
3.) Marriage counseling is amazing – as much as marriage counseling gets a bad rap, I can tell you that regularly seeing our marriage counselor during our first year of marriage has hands down been one of the most eye-opening and helpful experiences. It’s a safe place (I acknowledge the jargon) where we communicate and legitimately get to the root of our struggle and surpass all the jumble of emotions and struggle that it could take to get there on our own. Learning skills like empathy, SAYING your emotions instead of acting them, and how to prioritize our time together have been phenomenally helpful. (Note: We went to a trusted, Christian Dr. who shared our beliefs and had positive reviews from people we knew and trusted. Not all counselors / therapists are the same.)
4.) Change is good – Things hardly ever turn out like we expect them, but more often than not, they’re BETTER. I would have never guessed our first year would have looked like it did, or that all of the changes we’re experiencing now would take place. But honest, it’s beautiful and perfect. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
5.) God is who we need Him to be when we need Him to be it – There are many different names for God in the Bible, all communicating different aspects of His character. In different seasons, I experience God differently. This year, I really needed to experience Him as my Father, as I learned how to be a wife and how to handle my wounds. I needed to experience Him as my teacher as I transitioned into a new job in which I felt completely unequipped. I needed to experience Him as my redeemer as I fought to heal my scars and make a new and different path for my family. And now I’m learning to experience Him as my lover (yeah, still sounds weird) as I learn that He just wants to be with me and I with Him. And that having a love relationship with Him is the beginning of the rest.
I learned many other little things, but these 5 were big themes this year. I think this next year will look very differently for us, and it will be good.