I’m not really sure how to sum up the last six months of marriage in one blog post. In the big picture of life, six months isn’t much time and it’s still considered part of the “honeymoon phase,” but they also say the first few months of marriage are really important because you set a direction for the rest of your marriage. For us, these few months seem to be busy recovering from the wedding, settling into a new normal, a job change and traveling a bit (and of course attending more weddings of friends haha). With any change, I think it’s important to give yourself time to process it and get your feet on the ground.
First of all, I want to say that I find the whole concept of marriage in our society to be a really interesting subject, because it’s changed a lot from what the point of marriage is really supposed to be. There are people who get married just for the wedding, those who marry for really terrible reasons and those who marry but are terrified of the idea. I get it. I really do. Marriage is permanent if you’re a person who believes in marriage as it was first defined. And then you add in all the choices people have now, the recent Ashley Madison scandal, the horrible divorce rates and all the failed marriages we have all witnessed. But I also just want to say that I’ve been able to witness the joys, love and preciousness of marriage. My parents are such a wonderful example of imperfect, grace filled marriage and how it can conquer a whole lot if God’s at the center. We’ve both watched our grandparents stay married for over 50 years and create such wonderful families. I’ve learned a lot from the families of the kids I would babysit and the families I was around as I was forming my opinions about marriage. And I am so incredibly grateful for each of these lessons.
But most importantly, I think Matt and I have learned early on that marriage is about more than just us, it’s about God and becoming more Christlike through our marriage. Together we can better serve and love others than we can apart. And I can honestly say, I was looking forward to our wedding, but I was even more so looking forward to being married to Matt. I wasn’t scared of forever with him, in fact, forever doesn’t seem long enough. I wasn’t scared of the permanence of marriage either. I knew we were going to have a lot to learn, a lot of surprises, a lot of mistakes, some tears, some smiles and lots of laughter. But, I knew that whatever God taught us through this marriage and whatever he created through it would be far greater than we could ever imagine. In six short months I’ve gotten just the slightest glimpse of that and honestly, it makes me more and more excited to see what’s next. I know one thing for sure, having someone to love this much is definitely one of the best things in life. I see why marriage is such a great thing and how it teaches you so much about…everything.
What have you learned so far? I’ve learned how important it is to talk, talk, talk to your spouse and communicate expectations. And with good communication there must also be good listening skills. Everything just seems to come back to that. I’ve learned how important it is to be intentional, surround yourself with the right kind of people who have your same views on marriage, faith, sin, life and treatment of others. But mainly, I’ve been learning a lot about grace, love and selflessness. I’ve learned that I can actually…maybe…cook. I’ve also learned that there’s always going to be something to learn. Suddenly marriage and having a significant other has taken on a deeper meaning for me. Because of what marriage is teaching me about grace and my selfish nature, the story of Jesus seems to be a little more clear to me.
How are you liking married life? People ask this a lot and I’m never sure what to say haha. I love marriage. I can’t wait for many more months and years of marriage so that I can keep growing and learning to love this other person. It’s really sweet, challenging, encouraging, fun, exciting and beautiful. I once heard someone say, “Marriage is mostly the stuff in between. As in life, you have really exciting moments and some lows too, but it’s mostly the daily stuff. If you can still like each other while standing in the grocery line, having a tough day at work and sorting laundry, you’ll be just fine.” I think this is probably a really good way to explain marriage. I don’t think people should put marriage on this pedestal where they think it’ll fix everything and be just this big highlight reel, because it won’t and you’ll be disappointed. If anything, you still have all your daily tasks, plus you have to be fully aware of another person’s needs, desires, and dreams. So many people view it as some perfect ending, but really, it’s part of the journey and it’s a lot of hard work. But that’s what makes it such a beautiful thing. Anything that’s ever worth having is worth all of the hard work.
Best part of marriage? I guess I should say it like this: life is just plain tough sometimes, internet caps are beyond annoying (why do we have those anyway!?), apartment management companies may or may not be a joke, changing your name is as difficult as it sounds, bills still find you even after you’re married and laundry possibly multiplies exponentially in the hamper. But at the end of the day, with life still being as crazy and “normal” as it was before, you now have a partner and best friend who has promised to stick with you through all of it. To me, that’s the best part. I love being on the same team as this amazing man who I’m honored to call my husband.
Favorite marriage advice: You get a lot of this when you get married, but I love hearing what others have to say. I’ve given each piece of advice a good bit of thought. Here are some of my favorites-pick your battles, know it’s okay to argue and always communicate expectations. Remember you are on the same team and keep Christ at the center. That last one is the biggest one, because it’s the thing that matters most.
My grandmother who was married to my grandfather for over 50 years always says that laughter is key and that it will get people through a lot. I finally think I know what she means. I’ll explain. During the first few weeks back to school this year, I had an ant infestation in my car (I mean, seriously, how does that happen!?), a piece of metal stuck in my NEW car tire, a broken pipe that leaked through our ceiling (ugh apartment life), dropped my phone in the toilet and a sore throat all in one week. After a lot of freaking out and complaining, Matt just ended up making me laugh about all of it and realize I need to stop getting so bent out of shape about the little things. That, my friends, is something that will get us through a lot.
What’s helped us the most: Praying together and making time for each other, especially when things get busy. For the first 6 months of our marriage and all of our dating life, we have had opposite schedules. So, it’s been really important for us to learn to be intentional with our time together and make time for each other. You make time for what really matters in your life. Simple as that. Basically, trying to not stop “dating” each other seems to help a lot. Also, I highly recommend reading the Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, talking to trusted married friends/family and taking advantage of counseling. It just seems to be so important to never stop seeking God’s plan for you as individuals and you as a couple, because that’s the entire goal of our marriage: to become more Christlike and learn to love others the way He loves us.
We are so incredibly grateful for all the sweet times and challenges these first 6 months have brought us. I can say that I love Matt more now than I did on our wedding day. I am so thankful for the man he is and the man I see him becoming. Marriage is by far the greatest privilege I’ve ever been given on this earth.
Happy 6 months to us and cheers to many, many, many more!