5 Things I Learned in Our First Year of Marriage
In honor of our very first anniversary coming up Monday, June 19th, I wanted to share a few things that I have learned over the past year! Now, this year has taught us both so much, making it hard to narrow it down to five things. But as I sit in this hotel looking out at the cityscape in Vancouver B.C., I thought I would share what comes to my mind.
- Selflessness over Selfishness
I’ll be honest, I can be so selfish - who isn’t right? I’ve gone from a life agenda that included pleasing myself to ultimately nourishing my relationship, there's bound to be growing pains in that - and that's okay. In this past year, I have learned that giving without expecting anything in return, is a must. Not to say that nothing is given back, but if my heart is in it for the his happiness, then I am motivated to make decisions for the best of him or us as a whole. The phrase, “love is a lot of give and take” may be true, but I prefer not to say this because it puts my heart and mind in a spot that has me expecting to take, if I give. Instead I have learned to take out the “me agenda” that puts me first and replace it with selfless grace. I give out of the kindness of my heart because he is above all else.
2. We are on the same team.
We protect each other, we are each others advocate, and we make decisions together. When we entered into marriage, I don’t know if we understood this one as much as we do now. A couple days after our wedding, someone really close to us told us told Brady and I, “It is your duty to protect each other.” Something about protection really hit me. In times that call for it, we have learned to stand side by side without wavering. We will not jump ship due to opinion differences, budge when someone disagrees with our life choices, or bow out of the situation leaving each other stranded. We are one and we are on the same team.
I had one girl who was trying to get me open a credit card with the store I was shopping and I simply said “no, I make those decisions with my husband.” she replied with, “you don’t need him, that is your decision!” As if to challenge my independence as a women and imply that my husband is my decider. Whatever to sell me, right? But it got me thinking, our culture teaches us to be so independent, so self-reliant, and that is a wonderful thing. However, when you are married you are a team with another person, you make decisions together… why? Because we play for the same team. I am very independent but since being married, I have come to understand that we are a team and that is a beautiful thing all on it's own. It's not something to be discouraged by anyone at any time in your life.
3. Even though he doesn’t do the dishes correctly, he means well. We always mean well.
I came home one evening to my husband doing the dishes (Gasp!). I noticed that he was cleaning these dishes spotless and putting them on a dirty counter...Need I say more? There's a drying mat right by the sink?! And not to mention the dishwasher?! Anyways, while Brady was being very counterintuitive, he meant well. He always means well. He is always ready to give his all, always patient, and always chooses love - these are not things to be mistaken. I have learned that he always means well. As I said earlier, we are on the same team. At the end of the day, even when there are clean dishes all over a dirty counter, we are on the same team and we only want what is best for each other, we mean well.
In knowing that we always mean well - laugh a little. Don't take yourself so seriously. Enjoy your time, it's never long enough.
4. Compliment don’t Complete.
Brady is the cautious one and I am the adventurer. He is analytical and I am creative. Brady enjoys the moment and I am often looking at the future… get the point? If not let me tell ya, we compliment each other. We will never say that we complete one another, because then we are looking to each other for every need in ourselves that we do not fill (i.e. not healthy). Instead of assuming that we will fulfill each other's needs entirely, we bring what we are and what we have to each other and we make it something amazing. He brings the cheese, I bring the wine and now we’ve got an amazing pairing!
Brady and I were in Spain, it was a bit of culture shock, so he was a bit cautious with what we did and where we went. Me on the other hand? Oh goodness, let me frolik through the cobblestone streets and I’ll say hello to every person who makes eye contact! This was great because he had me think more about my surroundings, while I showed him that you can adventure through Madrid without too much of a care in the world. Complimenting in all of the little moments in life.
5. Without God we are nothing.
Everyone feels like the have the “key” to relationships whether it’s communication, trust, or whatever. But for us? (not to get uber religious on you) but God is what leads our direction. When my husband is a leader in our faith, I can feel our relationship reaching new heights - it's unexplainable. When God is out, our minds can lead us to feeling selfish, putting ourselves before each other, and unsure of the plan. When we are a team that looks towards God we are kind, we are understanding of one another, we grow with grace, we’re selfless before selfish, and we’re patient.