I’m going to be honest: when I sat down to write this post, I was worried that I wouldn’t have that many new tidbits to share as compared to the last two years. Even though it was by far the biggest year of our marriage yet, it all kind of feels like a blur. To sit down and try to process what wisdom I’ve gained this year is quite the challenge. It wasn’t until I reread the posts from year one and year two that it started to sink in: this is how this past year has been different. This is where we’ve grown.
The last two years, I’ve shared pictures of just us. This time, its about the group that made the day truly what it was!
One. Family above Self.
This year brings about bigger changes for us, as Brett is leaving the teaching field to transition his part-time real estate appraisal position to a full-time job. This decision is not one that we made lightly, and the root of it is definitely in what would be best for us as a family. All decisions we make, financial to how we spend our time to entertainment and more, they all revolve around what would better us as a family.
Two. Embarrassment has no room in marriage.
Truth: I don’t think I would have learned this without being pregnant and giving birth. My body went through the ringer; it’s still going through the ringer. And the person I have to lean on the most throughout that? My husband. In order to be truly, completely comfortable with your spouse, you have to lose all inhibitions that might limit your actions and what you would reveal.
Three. Be each other’s biggest advocate.
Be it when the other needs encouragement, when striving to achieve a goal, or when just trying to allow the other to be heard, your spouse should always be the one fighting more for you than you do yourself. This might be something I’ve learned, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best at it. When I doubt myself, that is where Brett can come in. Especially with pregnancy and parenting lately – when I feel the insecurity rise, that’s when Brett’s belief in me steps up.
Four. Big decisions need to be made together.
We’ve had more “big” decisions this past year than any in our relationship, including ones with moves. Not one of these has been made singlehandedly – they’ve all taken deliberation and compromise and debate. Essentially, we’ve had to learn how to “adult” and budget down to the penny and balance frivolity with necessity. We’ve learned how to prioritize everything together rather than apart.
Five. Intimacy is critical.
As I mentioned, my body hasn’t exactly been something I’ve loved every minute of every day of the last year, especially not in the last month postpartum. I discussed that concept a bit here. And while I’ve battled that pretty much daily, I’ve not once doubted Brett’s attraction to me. It’s almost as if seeing me give birth, knowing what my body is capable of and what it’s used for now, he’s more attracted to me than ever. And his reassurance of that, his desire to make me feel beautiful, that goes so far in my own opinion of myself.
Six. Awareness is key to supporting each other.
I wear my heart on my sleeve. Brett’s pretty obvious about how he is feeling, but he definitely doesn’t enjoy talking about it. Being attentive to his mannerisms and attitude when he gets home from work, or for him to see when I seem particularly tired or worn out can prevent so many arguments by acting accordingly before either of us have snapped at the other.
Seven. Making a life together is a two-person job.
We’ve always functioned as a team, but now much moreso than ever. It works best for us if the root of our nature is giving; which it isn’t always. But day-to-day, we are most successful, most productive, and most complete when we make sure that we are both giving and taking. Even in our nighttime routine these days, Brett never leaves it to be all on me all night: he’s up at every changing and feeding helping me out.
Eight. Choose to love each other daily.
Now more than ever, knowing that there is a little human being who is going to learn about love through us, it is crucially important that we demonstrate that love is a choice. I know we are going to show our frustrations toward one another from time to time in front of her, but as long as we show her that we intentionaly and purposefully choose to love each other in spite of and through those times? That will show her what real love is.
After reading through this, it’s pretty apparent that this year I have a theme with things I’ve learned: they all revolve around making marriage a partnership. It’s hard for me to see past the past month, being that it’s been a pretty monumental month for us, but that’s most definitely the most prevalent truth. Brett and I work together now more than ever. We compensate for each other’s shortcomings and give 110% when the other is having difficutly giving it all. It’s made us all the more strong, to understand what it truly means to lean on one another.