Oh, my heart!
How can it already be our three year wedding anniversary?! We woke up saying how it feels like it was just yesterday in so many ways.
Three glorious, breathtaking years. Years of learning, of growing, of building. Years of choosing each other. Years of making decisions, some easy and some hard.
While we are no where close to experts and are still learning every single day, I wanted to share three things we have learned along the way. I know so many newlyweds and engaged couples right now and have gotten plenty of marriage related questions over the last year, so it felt right to share a little bit of our hearts and what we have learned in light of our three year celebration!
I am writing this from the wife's perspective, obviously, but Michael has confirmed that it is absolutely true from the husband perspective as well. So girls, go ahead and forward on to your men!
Take it or leave it, here it is.
CHOOSE EACH OTHER
One of my favorite memories of our wedding was when my Dad, who officiated the wedding, looked at each of us and said, "He chose YOU and she chose YOU." Tears, literal tears, streaming as I write this. I pray that there is never a day where I can actually keep it together when I think of that moment. I thought that I had a good understanding of what that meant on that day three years ago, but goodness how it means so much more now.
When you get married, your husband is your family. Chalk it up to our culture here in the south or maybe just my own crazy, but I remember during our first year of marriage feeling like we weren't our own family until we had kids. I didn't want to have kids yet! I was nowhere near ready for that, yet people kept asking when we were "starting our family". Let me tell you, you have started your family the moment that you say, "I do".
That being said, you will have decisions to make as a family. Choose each other when each one comes. Choose to work together and put each other's opinions, thoughts, and needs first when it comes to making these decisions. And they are coming... Whether it be a job, a house, a new car, a move, when to have children, where to spend holidays, where to live, and many more.
Where there are decisions, there are opinions. You know what they say about opinions... Everyone's got one. And get ready, because they are going to let you know what theirs are. Some truly do mean well, while others not so much. And let this blow your mind, some may not even know you. Choose each other when these opinions start coming at you! Choose to lift each other up and remind each other that your opinion together is the end game.
There are many ways to handle opinions... Get upset, be confrontational, take it offensively, internalize every word, or feel like you just got walked all over. To be honest, I've been and felt every one of these things since we've been married. What we have found, thank you God for Michael and his level head, is that the best way to handle opinions is to always be gracious, but take it with a grain of salt. This means when someone tells us that they think we should do this or that (or should have done it another way, those are always great) we thank them with sweet facial expressions (still working on this) for their thoughts and then move on.
We later talk it out when we are alone, because we truly do appreciate seeing all sides of a situation. Sometimes something that was said resonates and we are so grateful for it, other times we shake it off and move forward on the path that we know is for us.
Our motto, if we have prayed, researched, and know in our guts that we are doing the right thing for us, then people's opinions are none of our concern. Trust me, they don't know the time, the prayers, the planning that you all have put into your decision. Don't let their 30 second ponderings ruin your day. Choose each other! Choose to make decisions together, choose to back each other up, choose to block out people's negativity, choose to get up early and make breakfast, choose to give a back rub when you know they've had a long day, choose to be their biggest cheerleader, choose to be their confidant, choose to take the trash out, choose to stay up late talking about what's on their mind, and choose them every moment in between.
PUSH EACH OTHER
With marriage comes privilege, but also responsibility. I don't believe that we are meant to fall in love, get married, and that be that. More like fall in love, get married, and help push each other to be the best version of themselves.
There's a song out that I currently have on repeat, "I like me better when I'm with you". Michael and I have both said, we are SO much better together. We push each other to be better versions of ourselves. To try and reach the fullness of what God has created us for.
If I think that he is slacking in a certain area or if he thinks that I could do better in another, we tell each other. We hold no punches - Career, health, relationship, laundry, and everything in between! We decided a long time ago that we were not going to walk on egg shells when it came to each other, because the others opinion meant too much to keep silent. And let me tell you, every single time that one of us has called the other out or pushed in a certain direction we have become better for it. Better together and better individually.
That being said, there is definitely a way to push and a way to receive. When it's your turn to receive, you need to be willing to trust the others opinion and know that they want what is best for you. Maybe they see something that you don't. And when it's your turn to give, be lovingly respectful and let them know it is for their benefit.
Just this month, I had been struggling with a certain aspect of the blog. Deep down, I knew it was fear holding me back, but if Michael had not stepped in and gave me the push that he did, fear would still have me in its paralyzing grasp.
If you know the God given dreams in your person's heart, why on earth would you not do everything humanly possible to push them towards it? Or if you see the God given talent in them, why would you not encourage them to use it?
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
If you remember nothing else, remember this. There is no one in this world that knows more about your husband or wife than you do. You see them at their worst and at their best. You know their patterns, their joys, their hurts. You have the privilege of lying down beside them every single night. Of course pray together, but even more so pray for each other.
In those quiet moments where you know he's having trouble clearing his mind to sleep, pray. In those moments where she looks super tired, pray. When he leaves for work, pray. When she comes home from work and straight to making dinner, pray. When he calls you on his lunch break, pray.
Get my point? Pray for each other throughout the day. Make it as natural a habit as blinking. Don't just save your prayers up for monumental occasions or stressful times, but the everyday when only you can see the need! You won't believe the difference that this little habit can make. The connection between you, him, and God... That is where the magic happens. That IS marriage.