In just a few short days, I will have been married to this incredible, godly man for a year. Time has flown by! As I look back over this last year, I remember that this has been a year of sharpening and learning as we figured out how to walk life together.
Here are a few things (in no particular order) I've learned along the way:
1. Relationship depth doesn't just happen. You can live like you are roommates or like you are spouses. You get to choose by the way you live each day. You can invest in the relationship or you can come home from work, watch tv, and not speak to each other. I'd suggest the first.
2. The way you are wired greatly impacts the way you perceive conversations, situations, and planning together. John and I come at things from very different places. I am very right-brained, and he is very left-brained. Sometimes, I don't get why he feels the way he feels and he doesn't get why I feel the way I feel… and that's ok! We are a great team because we are different. The key here is communication. I've come to realize talking through things, validating emotions even when I don't understand them, and asking direct and probing questions can help me be more understanding.
3. Cereal for dinner doesn't cut it anymore. I'm by no means a great cook, but I do have a board of pins on Pinterest. That counts for something, right? All of my early adult life prior to marriage, my normal menu looked more like it was made for a toddler than for a twenty-something. I quickly learned that my husband would like a warm meal with meat and at least one vegetable for dinner. Who does he think I am, Rachael Ray?
4. Garages aren't for parking cars. They are for woodworking and sports equipment. That's why there is space in the driveway. I can't believe I had never known that before!
5. Our strategy with money no longer just includes "putting some in savings," but is measurable, aggressive, and on a 10-year-plan. Lots of couples argue about money, so we decided to budget in such a way that we would pay off every debt as soon as possible, including our house. We know our priorities of how we want to use our money: for education for kids, to bless others through giving, and to provide for any emergency our family may experience. We are working hard on this one, and are debt-free now except for our house. Now, we are focused on the longer process of chipping away at our home loan.
6. Husbands who let you get a dog and then are willing to take it out in the middle of the night are worth their weight in gold. Find one of those if you aren't married yet. Another quality that should be on your list is someone who will always fill your car up with gas no matter how cold it is outside or what time you suddenly remembered you need gas. Loving through serving each other is beautiful.
7. Marriage makes you define priorities. We frequently ask how will we spend our money? How will we spend our time? How will we serve and give? What events take precedence over others? The best part is that you get to determine these things as a team.
8. Helping someone be better at life is uncomfortable, and having someone help you be better at life when you feel like you are alright at it is not fun, either. Marriage has a way of showing the ugliness of your selfishness and the depths of your not so perfect heart to what feels like a room full of people. The biggest challenge is to embrace the rub and allow it to sharpen you instead of making you callous.
9. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Laugh at your husband when he's pacing while watching the big game. Laugh when you drop a smoothie in the kitchen floor and it even made it in your hair. Laugh when you trip up the stairs or when you use a word that doesn't actually exist. Laugh. Don't take yourself too seriously because it's impossible to take someone seriously who is clumsy and says funny things, and you and I probably both fit that description at times.
10. Without consciously seeking to be led by God every single day, we drift. This drift causes drift from God and drift away from each other. It takes effort to seek Him and to spend time praying and talking about spiritual matters, but it is more than worth it.
I'm thankful for the journey and look forward to the next year!