i'm sitting in a tranquil park, barefoot in the grass, with the wind just-so-slightly blowing over me.
perfect spot to cozy up & write a bit.
last weekend my husband and i celebrated six months of marriage.
these months have been w i l d.
two career switches.
moving in with your spouse.
getting the flu (or covid? who knows)
juggling community, work, soul-time, housekeeping, and a blossoming marriage?
hard work, let me tell you.
i am finally just now slowing down my spinning mind and beginning to process through all that has happened since february.
i found that i hardly journaled or sang through all the emotions and ups & downs since getting married.
maybe i was soaking it all in.
maybe i just needed to be fully present and jot the memories/moments in my heart chest.
but i've recently been contemplating how much i have grown in marriage. it is truly an incubator for so much personal development.
so today i thought i'd share six things i've learned since i said "i do". one for each month of the journey.
only in marriage do you discover who your spouse truly is
Living with someone day in and day out is very different than dating or being engaged. Amadeus and I spent a significant amount of time together throughout our engagement. We lived close by and would always try to see each other after work or on weekends. Yet despite all the deep conversations, questions, and experiences we shared before our wedding, so much of our true selves were still hidden off. Even though the goal of engagement/courtship is to unravel & discover your spouse, there are deep wells of identity that are drawn out when you walk the intimate covenant road of marriage. There has been so much joy in brushing off the intimate layers of my husband. Seeing him when no one else is around- unfiltered, with all his guards down, raw. You see the hidden beauty and the hidden ugly. I've been humbled as my own wounds have been uncovered.
Yet, in all this- the miracle. Your capacity to love grows as you are stretched to love in the uncomfortable.
Marriage is ordained by God and sustained by God because Heaven knows it takes a miralce to love another with selfless sacrifice, forgiving grace, and relentless affection. It is of. HIS. nature. to pour and pour and pour. To give and give and give. When it hurts, when it's easy, when it doesn't make sense, when you're head over heels in love. I have felt the Father pour into me basins of His very goodness so that I, too, may pour over my spouse.
2. remember your first love
I am a lover to the bone, a hopeless romantic, and a Two. It is too. stinkin. easy. to spend all the time with my hubby, cook, clean, get overwhelmed with the to-do's, serve my husband, get lost in the romance....and forget my True Love. Single ladies, it is so much easier to live a life FULLY devoted to Jesus when you are not committed to another. So much easier. If you are in that season, ohhhh just soak it up. Linger in His Presence alone and drink deeply of His intimacy because life changes and schedules look different and prioritizes shift when you get married. They just do. And that's not necessarily a negative consequence of being knit to another. It's just inevitable.
I found that I need to fight hard to get my quiet time. Not fight my husband- he so willingly gives me all the Jesus time my heart longs for & encourages me to carve out the space I need for the Lord. I've had to fight myself. Because we are all human and something about humanity makes it effortless to love another tangible being. But the Father is ever longing for my love, ever pursuing my affection, ever jealous for my whole heart.
3. expectations vs. celebration
Ahh, this was a hard one for me. Cons to always dreaming of getting married is you walk in with buckets full of expectations. I have wrestled my flesh. wrestled my emotions. wrestled my dreams. into surrender. It was in the realm of expectations that my true selfishness came out. Because for me, the greatest sacrifice was letting go of how I thought things should be. I married a wild, wonderful, and extraordinary man. He is greatly gifted and talented and truly one of a kind. But what he is not is the flawless, non-existent man that "my list" created.
To love is to celebrate your spouse & support them into their becoming. Your wedding is the beginning of the journey, not the end of it. Both you and your partner will grow and change throughout the years so profoundly. I have learned that my privilege as a wife is to pray my husband into his growth. Encouragement is a far greater motivator than a disheartening spirit. As I lay down my own desires at the feet of the Father, I open my heart to receive my husband for who he is and walk with him as he grows into his calling.
#4. create spiritually healthy habits
Amadeus & I are frequently checking ourselves- how do we spend our free time? where do we spend our resources? what do we prioritize in our lives? We are learning each and every day that a healthy relationship with each other is birthed in a rich relationship with Christ. It takes discipline to choose to spend time away from each other and invest in our own personal walks with Jesus so that our time with each other is sweet, fulfilling, and fruitful. This is especially hard for me on days when work is long and hours together are few but moments with Spirit are greatly needed.
Jesus, draw us to your heart first. You are our source of love, our reason to love, our model for love. Father, you teach us in the secret place to have hands ready to serve, ears ready to listen, feet ready to walk the road hard and holy. Woo us and keep us close in Your Presence.
#5. stop comparing
I need to tell myself this every day. My story is not her story, our circumstances are not their circumstances, my husband is not to be held in comparison to any other person. Sometimes the practice of contentment is easier said than done. But Jesus is honored when we rejoice in our present moment knowing that He has us exactly where He wants us. Look up not around. Look forward towards the promise, not behind to the past. Fix your gaze on the One who will sustain you in the wilderness and the land flowing with milk & honey.
Live for the heart of the Father not the eyes of the world.
#6. the honeymoon phase doesn't exist
This is probably the greatest lesson I have learned since becoming a wife. Love is a choice not a feeling. Intimacy is rooted in sacrifice not emotions. "Falling in love" doesn't have to be a one time event and "falling out of love" never happens by accident.
I cannot tell you how. many. people. told me "woooow you're so cute. we'll see if you're still like that in five years." when i told them how much i loved my man they'd raise their eyebrows and say "talk to me in a few years."
What are we teaching young couples who are walking into the hardest yet most glorious relationship of their lifetime?
That love is just for a season and then you will get bored and dread waking up to your spouse?
This needs to stop.
I can say with full confidence that I love my husband more than I did the day I married him. That he loves me with greater affection & deeper service than when we first tied the knot. Because love is grown into. It's a tree. You plant it, water it, nourish it, weed it, prune it, water it some more....a tree forgotten will die. And a love forgotten will fade.
Amadeus and I are only a few months in and we have already tread some difficult roads together. There has been hurt & many tears & and heated emotions....but there has been more forgiveness, grace, understanding, and reconciliation.
and isn't that the commitment?
to stay when it's ugly and give when it takes all that you have left and see the beauty in the hardship?
is that not what the Husband did with his adulterous bride?
chose her when she had forsaken Him?
redeemed her when she was caught in her sin?
bought her with His very life and clothed her in robes of beauty and glory?
i am so grateful to be on this sweet journey. awaiting with great expectation all that is to come.