Steven and I just celebrated 2 years of marriage last month – YAY!!
These first 2 years of marriage have been eye-opening in many different ways. Things I didn’t know I didn’t know, things that I under or over estimated. With two short years under my belt, I couldn’t be more grateful for the marriage I’m in. Not only am I so in love with my husband, but being married to him has been like entering a whole new school of life with new challenges and opportunities that wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.
So even though it hasn’t been that long, I have learned quite a bit about myself and marriage and in honor of the occasion, I’m going to share 9 of those lessons today.
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1. Friendship is priceless.
I’m not sure that enough people appreciate just how incredibly important friendship is to a romance. Friendship is the space where we’re free to be ourselves without fear of rejection or judgement. At the risk of a cheesy metaphor, friendship is like a ship that keeps the relationship afloat when the waves come crashing in. And excuse me while I switch metaphors but if Jesus is the foundation on which we’re to build a marriage, friendship is framework of the structure. Deep romance is strong when it’s built on Jesus & friendship. Okay, enough with the metaphors. You get the picture.
I so treasure my friendship with my husband. It’s a safe space where I trust him implicitly and never have to worry about my feelings being trampled on. It’s what keeps me emotionally grounded and connected when I may feel frustrated or less than loving. It is priceless
2. Respect goes a long, long way.
Okay so I’m not always hitting it out of the ball park with this one but ever since we started dating, I promised myself that I would do my best to respect my man. I’ve since learned that opportunities to be respectful aren’t always necessarily what I expect. I’m blessed with a man that doesn’t walk all over me or demand his way (thank God!). But as easy going and generous as he is, he’s not one to be run over either (again, thank God!). We’re learning balance. We listen to each other, respecting that we won’t always agree on every. single. thing. We commit to solving problems and nipping issues in the bud before they become unmanageable.
I’m learning that there is an art to compromise and deference and neither one of us has to lose our unique voices. And it’s a beautiful thing when I can look at my man and think, I respect you. I’m grateful for your mind, your opinions, and your values. I respect the person you are.
Side note – In an effort to grow more in this area, I’ve added Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs to my 2019 reading list.
3. Marriage is a life-long character building process.
I knew marriage would be hard – everyone says so – but good night, I had no clue how much wrestling I’d have to do within myself. I remember the day I realized that God made me a wife, not just so I can be my husband’s other half but so that He could work in my heart. Because this being married business is no joke and won’t God stick a mirror in my face and be like “Child, we have some inside jobs to take care of if you are going to thrive in this relationship and ultimately make it to the kingdom”.
I’m not saying single people are missing out on some inner circle sanctification process, I’m just saying that marriage is definitely a space where I am learning where I need to lean heavily on Jesus to get my act together!
I’ve learned that I may see all the areas where my husband may need to improve or get it together but I need to pay more attention to my character flaws than his. Jesus is still my husband’s Savior, He is still in the business of working in his heart. It is not my place to upstage Jesus and take over because I think I know what he needs to be better at.
That doesn’t mean that Steven and I can’t or won’t help each other out (that’s part of our jobs as spouses) but I found out real quick that Jesus is using this relationship in a large part to teach me how to be more like Him.
4. You have to know how to talk about money.
They say that most marriages break up over money. I believe it. Two people trying to sort through work/home balance, bills, debt, purchasing habits, the differences between necessities & toys and just our overall individual relationship and experience with a dollar.
Steven and I still have yet to have our first official, real fight (I know, crazy, right?) but the one thing that we discuss and argue about is money. We have different financial personalities (I’m a spender, he’s a saver) and the reason we haven’t driven each other up the wall is because, before we got married, we learned how to talk about money with each other. It’s a practice and it takes time.
We’re constantly comparing notes, checking in, and sharing concerns. We’re not always on the same page and we have some problem solving to do but the open communication and respect has kept us from making rash decisions or making mountains out of mole hills.
5. Don’t ever stop flirting.
Never ever stop.
6. Pick your battles.
Not everything is that deep. Some things can wait til later (like when you’ve had time to cool off and think about it). Count to 10. Take a walk. Sing a song. Learn the difference between important and urgent. Weigh the cost of the words that are on the tip of your tongue. And know that you can’t just blindside someone with your mess when you haven’t given them fair warning and expect them to play by your rules.
Be reasonable and rational. And pick your battles.
7. He’s not ever going to be like me.
Steven is not like me. He will never be like me. We often think a lot a like and have a lot in common but then there are times when I’m like, where in the world have you been? If I wanted a carbon copy of myself, it would’ve been easier to stay single. He is his own person with his own history, thoughts, dreams, goals, wants and needs.
So when I can’t figure out why he doesn’t see something exactly the way I do or want exactly what I want, I just have to remember – he’s not like me and thank God for that!
8. You have to set goals together.
As a planner girl, I love making lists, setting goals that have a due date, planning tasks, and getting things done. As a married planner girl, I have the joy of doing all that with my man.
While we ultimately want the same things in life, our roadmaps for getting there aren’t identical (see #8). We are constantly fine tuning different plans and projects, considering pros and cons of a situation. We don’t always see eye to eye and sometimes it’s really frustrating when what I want and what is realistic aren’t the same thing.
Being a team player can be tough but I am grateful that I don’t have to worry about him making big decisions without me because we’re committed to setting goals together.
9. I am still an individual.
I talked about how I’m working on respecting Steven but I have to give my husband props for always respecting me as an individual with thoughts, dreams, opinions, and feelings of my own. He never presumes to speak for me or make important decisions without considering my feelings. It wasn’t until I got married that I realized just how important it is to stay true to who you are while in a relationship.
I am a big believer in the truth that while two people become one in marriage, neither one is to be swallowed up by the other. It is a blessing to be in a marriage partnership but it only works well when both people are whole people by themselves. There isn’t any room for domination, control, manipulation, presumption, or selfishness in a healthy marriage.
Lord, I’m about to get up on my soapbox. I’mma stop there because that’s a post for another time lol.
Suffice it to say that I am an individual and I have a responsibility to take care of my heart, mind, body, and environment so I can do good work and best serve those around me. My husband believes this and he’s proud to be married to a woman who thinks for herself and can stand on her own two feet. I count myself greatly blessed.
For any of my married friends out there, what have you learned since you’ve been married? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!