Today marks the one year anniversary of the best day of my life. I mean the best day. A day that surpassed every little girl (and big girl) dream I ever had about what my wedding day would be like. Brett and I had been together for almost four years before we got married; I thought I knew all I could know about him. We lived together for roughly 2 years, I thought we had covered what life would be like together. I thought wrong.
I had the perfect wedding. I don’t have a perfect marriage. And I am so thankful for that.
What I’ve Learned in One Year of Marriage
One. It isn’t easy. I mean it really isn’t easy. It’s only been one year, and we’ve already had rough patches. We’ve had problems to work through and needed time to get away. Putting someone else’s needs before your own doesn’t come natural, unless you’re my mom. I think one of the truest, hardest lessons I’ve learned is that not every day is a good day. And that’s really okay.
Two. Laughter cures a multitude of problems. Brett has always been able to make me laugh amidst the biggest argument. Sometimes it frustrates me all the more, because I just want to stay mad and can’t! If you can’t laugh with your spouse, then what in the world are you doing with your life? I mean that, really. I can’t imagine living life with Brett without laughter. (Exhibit A: every single wedding picture.)
Three: You’ve got to give and take. So much of marriage is learning what the other person needs and striving to be that. If it’s upping the cleanliness, then make the intentional effort to declutter the house. If it’s using patience when it isn’t always easy? Then take a few extra breaths to refocus that tone. If it’s making dinner and washing the dishes because the other has a lot on their plate, then doing so without complaint (which I’m not the best at, sorry babe!) I’ve been with Brett for almost five years now, and I still don’t always know what he needs. I don’t know if I ever will, but it’s a must in making this relationship work.
Four. You can’t stop dating just because you’re married. Brett and I experienced this first hand over winter. We’ve always been so great when it comes to setting aside time for dates, but ironically, when we’re married and building a life together, we struggled. And we both could honestly feel the strain that it put on our relationship. You have to set aside time for one other. You’ll get burnt out if you don’t.
Five. You’ve got to have separate lives, too. If we did everything together, I think I’d go crazy. I have my friends, he has his. And while we’re both friends with both, we have our own getaways and escapes in which the other is not involved. We both crave that time, we need it to refuel. I think this is one of the things that makes us so content with each other – we don’t need each other to build a life. Our lives are just so much richer thanks to one another.
Six. Love the other the way they liked to be loved. I’m a big believer in love languages, and know what I consider mine to be. Brett and I are different – we need love differently. Brett craves to hear it, he likes the words of affirmation being given often. Truthfully, I’m not the best at that, because ironically, speaking it isn’t my strength. I’d much rather show it, or invest my time and effort into a gift that displays it. We still have to work on this. I need to be intentional about speaking the words “I love you” more regularly. Brett continues to strive for the romanticism through action that I crave. It isn’t what comes natural to us, but it’s what we adjust to for the other.
Seven. Learn to share in what the other enjoys. Brett loves golf. He could golf every day (if I let him). He loves NASCAR and football. So following the golfers, knowing what’s going on when the majors are happening and who Speith is? That means something to him. Participating in NASCAR Fantasy Racing? He loves that. Similarly, this blog would not be possible without his investment too. It means the world to me when Brett makes the effort to invest in something I’m passionate about. It shows that he wants to know me more, love me more.
Eight. Hold hands often. Get used to being close to each other, and then crave that, need that. If Brett and I are walking just about anywhere together and our hands aren’t full, you can bet we’re holding hands. It’s just the reassurance that this person is beside you, that you’re claiming them for the world to see, that you simply want to be touching them and next to them. The same could be said for sitting on the same couch at home, which is a work in progress for us.
Nine. Find a way to recharge together. While we have our own ways to regroup and rest, sometimes that’s just something you need to do together. Brett and I hop in a car and drive to new cities, finding local restaurants and breweries to enjoy. We both are personally energized and relaxed through this, and our relationship is as well. Whether it be hiking together, or having a staycation and watching movies all day, or traveling together, find something that invigorates y’all together.
Ten. Choose to love the other person daily. I love Brett. God placed him in my life to love. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to wake up every morning and make that decision. Choosing involves an act of control, making a conscious decision to revolve your actions and words around that emotion. This isn’t always easy. But it has to be done, especially when it isn’t easy. That’s when the choice aspect makes all the difference.
Marriage is the absolute best adventure. Like any relationship, it is exactly what you make it to be. Our hope? That ours is the fullest, richest of loves. That it glorifies our Lord.
Happy Anniversary, Brett.
I’d love to know what you’ve learned through marriage, too!! Share your wisdom with us (still) newlyweds:)!