Okay so, I’ve been married for two and a half months (in case you some how missed that in the title) and I have gained some wisdom.
Very little wisdom. Like, one measly grain of wisdom, but still…some wisdom. And I feel like I should share this minuscule amount of wisdom with other young, newly married couples out there. And for the first time ever, I’m going to share a few pictures of myself and Jeff.
So, when people think “marriage,” a lot of times they visualize something like the picture I’ve posted below. “Marriage.” Except, no…that’s not marriage at all. That’s the wedding. I’ve heard so many horror stories of women (yeah, mostly women) becoming so obsessed with weddings that they forget marriage doesn’t look anything like this picture…
From my experience, marriage looks a lot more like this one…
The first that I already knew but was 100% confirmed after we moved in together is that marriage is far from glamorous. So, if you’re looking to get married because you want to have an awesome wedding – don’t. Because that day went by so fast I barely remember it. (And also, once you’re engaged, you will have about five hundred people come up to you and say “Enjoy your wedding day, because it goes by so fast!”)
Here are some of the things I’ve actually learned from being married…
1. Selfishness is no longer an option. I mean, it is…if you want to have a miserable life. As someone who was constantly looking out for herself and forgetting that other people’s feelings even existed, this has probably been the hardest one for me to grasp. It’s not about what I want anymore. Jeff and I are constantly trying to put each other first. In everything that we do. I will admit, Jeff is much better at this than I am. It’s partially to do with anxiety, and partially do to with my own personality – I can’t blame it all on mental illness.
During the times when I have given into my own selfish desires, our relationship suffered. Selfishness really isn’t an option. In marriage, I am giving myself up to him, and he is giving himself up to me. It’s hard. And I have deeeeefinitely not perfected it. But now that I have become (painfully) aware of how damaging a selfish attitude can be, I work harder than ever (and pray about it constantly) to put Jeff first.
2. It really is no longer “I” but “us.” And yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. I’m not going to say anything you haven’t. But seriously, until you are married you probably won’t understand how true this is. And sometimes it’s hard. I can’t just plan nights out with my friends anymore without having to talk to Jeff about it. He can’t do it either. We have to be in a constant state of communication when planning anything because everything we do affects each other. I speak almost exclusively in “we” language now when making plans or talking about my life. The change from “me” to “we” was strange, but it wasn’t bad. I actually like it. Because I know we are in everything together, good or bad.
3. Marriage is fun. You always hear, “Marriage is work!” “Marriage is hard!” “There will be times when all you want to do is run out that door!” Yeah. Okay. Marriage is hard blah blah blah. We all know this. Everyone in the world knows this. But if it wasn’t also fun, no one would do it. Jeff and I like to refer to marriage as our “forever sleepover.”
We stay up late playing video games (Mario Party, Ahhhh yeah!), we go out for ice cream like, once a week, we go on walks in the evening, we laugh until 2 AM about absolutely nothing. Yeah, marriage is hard, and I got a little bit worried before the wedding that the first year of marriage would only be work. But, for all the bad days, we have 10 good ones. And we’re having the time of our lives.
4. Marriage requires a lot of compromise and communication. “Communication is key.” Yup. Gotcha. But, seriously, it is. If something tiny is bothering me and I choose not to tell Jeff about it, the next day I’ll blow up about something totally unrelated and realize it’s because I was holding onto the bitterness from the day before. We have learned that if we are not in constant communication about how we feel, blow-ups happen. Even when I think, “this isn’t worth bringing up,” it almost always is. Usually, nothing bad happens when I bring up how I feel. Jeff is very understanding and those conversations are significantly shorter, sweeter, and more easily resolved than the ones where I’ve held on to things for too long. So…seriously…communication is key. Don’t throw out that cliché.
With communication also comes compromises. Compromising can be hard, but it’s also rewarding. I swear we make at least ten compromises a day, from which CD we’re going to listen to on the ride to work in the morning, to how many courses we should take in a semester so neither of us feel overloaded during the school year. I think as time goes on, we’re getting more and more used to compromising. It feels a lot more natural than it did at the beginning. Yeah, when you’re dating and even engaged you’ve gotta make compromises too…but really, the compromises we’ve had to make in the past two and a half months don’t even compare to the year and a bit we dated.
5. I love him more and more every single day. Some people worry that the “spark” will fade as your relationship progresses. To be honest, I was a little skeptical of Jeff when we first met. Our relationship has only gotten better since the beginning. I still feel that “butterfly” feeling when I’m around him (sometimes), and I know that even when that fades, that has nothing to do with how much I love him. As we support each other in all areas of our lives, I can feel our love getting stronger and stronger. It’s an awesome feeling. Love isn’t an emotion, remember that. It’s an action. And we are constantly working on our love for each other.
6. Keeping God at the centre makes all the difference. When we consistently do our daily devotionals, spend time in worship, and pray together, our relationship is noticeably better. In general, I’ve noticed that when my relationship with God is good, so is everything else in my life. Not that everything else in my life is going well necessarily, but I feel more equipped to deal with the bad, and even when things don’t go my way, I don’t fall apart.
Same goes for our marriage. When we are both spiritually thriving, so is our marriage – even if we are dealing with some difficult issues at that time. I notice I become less selfish, less easily annoyed, less anxious, less controlling. I become more loving, more selfless, more content with life in general – which of course, would only have a positive effect on Jeff. And I see the same kinds of changes in him too. Keeping God at centre of our lives makes the biggest difference imaginable.
So, there you go. Six things I’ve learned that you’ve probably already heard. I can’t believe how much we’ve grown in just two and a half months. I wonder what we’ll be like in two and a half years.