Where has the time gone?! Two seconds ago I was buckling up my sparkly gold heels to walk down the aisle and marry the love of my life. I blinked and 365 days have passed. Time is quite the trickster, and my parents weren’t lying when they said it flies by faster and faster with each passing year. Although it feels like just yesterday we tied the knot, after reflecting for some time, I realized I have learned quite a few lessons in my first year of marriage.
This year has been full of SO. MANY. CHANGES. Some good, some difficult, some completely out of the blue, and some inevitable. And through it all, the Lord has been mine and my husband’s constant rock. He does not change, even when life does. And for that, I am grateful. Because this year would have looked very different if it weren’t for the Lord’s guidance and grace.
“There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage.” -Martin Luther
Marriage does this thing to a person… it opens one’s eyes to their own least desirable qualities they personally possess. If you want to be completely and utterly humbled, get married. I am far from perfect, and of course I knew that, but it has only become considerably more apparent this past year as I’ve taken on the roll of Luke’s wife. And believe it or not, Luke is also not perfect. And when you put two imperfect people into a marriage relationship, it is bound to hit a few bumps in the road somewhere along the journey. Bumps in the road, however, do not mean your marriage is destined to fail. In fact, they mean quite the opposite. When handled correctly, with grace and forgiveness, they strengthen the marriage to be stronger than ever before.
As a result of prayer, responding to convictions from God’s word and the Holy Spirit, and remembering that marriage is not about being served but serving the other, our marriage has grown to become more like the way God intended it to be. Slowly, one baby step at a time. So, in honor of reaching our one year of marriage milestone, I’m going to share a few of these baby steps that have been shaping our marriage this past year. And I’ll say this now; just because I’ve learned something doesn’t mean I’ve perfected it. I’m still growing and will be throughout the rest of my life here on Earth as Luke’s wife. Okay, with that said and out of the way, let’s take a look at the 11 lessons I’ve learned in my first year of marriage.
11 Lessons I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage:
1. Serve Your Spouse Without Expectations
Easier said than done let me tell you. It’s actually funny how this one evolves… the first few months of marriage you will LOVE serving your husband because it’s so fun to make them happy, not to mention they’ll think you’re the best wife ever. But over time, that little voice in your head will tell you that you’re serving them WAY MORE than they’re serving you. And you’ll gladly forget every single sweet and servant hearted thing they’ve done for you that week. Instead, you’ll start keeping track of all the times you’ve done something for them and all the things you WISH they’d do for you. (Sorry, sister, he can’t read your mind.)
Let me just help you out here… STOP. I’ve been humbled time and time again when I’ve gone down this path. Seconds after chewing out my poor husband for not helping me out enough, the Lord reminds me that marriage is not about what I’m getting in return. Just like all the times I’ve ignored God to do my own thing and haven’t given Him my heart. If God’s love was conditional, I wouldn’t stand a chance. So thank goodness it isn’t. And my love and service for my husband shouldn’t be conditional either.
2. Cooking Is As Simple As Following The Recipe
This one doesn’t relate to marriage as much as it does to taking on the roll of “wife” and learning to be domesticated. haha. But in all honesty, if you’re afraid of marrying your future husband and starving the poor man to death because you can’t cook, DON’T BE! I’ve learned how to cook all sorts of meals and really quite enjoy cooking now. And despite the fact that Luke might be spitting the meals into his napkin while I’m not looking, I think they taste great! Cooking really is as simple as following the recipe, so if you’re not seasoned in the kitchen yet, don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it it no time. And if all else fails, pray your future husband will take on the roll of cook and you can be the dish washer 😉
3. Be Flexible
I have OCD when it comes to having a clean home. And my sweet husband sure loves his “piles”. A pile of clothes on his dresser, a pile of dishes in the sink, you get the picture. But the thing is, it could be much, much worse. He is actually quite clean it the grand scheme of things. The real problem is me, Mrs. OCD clean. SO, instead of turning blue in the face following Luke around everywhere asking him to pick up after himself, I’ve learned to be more flexible. Luke is a happier husband because his crazy OCD wife has become a little less OCD about having the house neat as a pin, and I’m happier because I’ve learned to not let it grind my gears the way I used to. A little pile never hurt nobody 😉
4. Communication Is Key
As mentioned above, your husband can’t read your mind. As much as I’ve heard this before, it took a bit for it to sink in. Of course I know my husband can’t hear what’s going on inside my head, but it’s almost like I used to want him to figure it out without having to tell him I want “fill in the blank” because then I won’t feel like I’m nagging him. Can anybody else relate? But, over time I learned that I need to communicate to my husband if I feel it’s something important. I’m learning to decipher between if what I want is a legitimate need or if I’m just being too hard on my husband, like for example with the “piles”. Don’t be a nag, but if it’s something that is important for the betterment of your relationship, by all means communicate what you are feeling to your husband. Many times my husband had said, “I WISH you had told me that was bothering you!” Men want some help knowing what their wife wants, and the silent treatment doesn’t help anything.
5. Time Apart Is Healthy For The Relationship
Take this one with a grain of salt, because maybe this doesn’t apply to your relationship. It’s just something I’ve observed as a firefighter wife. Luke works 24 hour shifts and 12 hour shifts with the fire department he’s been volunteering with for the past couple of years, as well as with his new AMR ambulance job. In all honesty, I HATE when Luke leaves for a long shift. I call myself a stage 5 clinger as a joke, but I’m an extrovert and kind of go cray (no mom, this is not a typo, I do mean cray) when I’m alone at home. Hence, the start of this blog so I’d have something to do when I’m by myself all day long. As much as I hate being separated from Luke for long periods of time, it gives me time away from him that is healthy for our relationship. More often than not, it opens my eyes to something I could work on in our marriage. It gives me time to pray for our marriage. And it makes me miss that man like crazy! Which then reminds me how much I love him and am so thankful for his presence when he’s with me.
If you’re ALWAYS with your husband, maybe planning some time apart will be good for your relationship. Girls night anyone?
6. Nagging Doesn’t Get You Anywhere… And It’s Annoying
Do you ever get annoyed with yourself? LOL I know you’re thinking I’m crazy (I’m surprised you haven’t discovered this before now, or maybe you have 😉 ). But truly, sometimes after nagging my husband, I replay our conversation in my mind a few minutes later, and it’s like I can see myself from Luke’s perspective. And that’s when I realize just how annoying nagging is and how it’s not helping the situation at all. Of course there are times that it’s necessary to communicate something of importance to your spouse. But when you hear yourself sounding like a broken record and nothing has changed, there’s a good chance you’re nagging and it’s not helping the matter. So what to do instead of nagging? Pray your husband will change whatever it is that’s driving you batty, or better yet pray that YOU’LL change your heart and learn to let it go.
7. Always Apologize
There something very admirable about a person who can apologize when they know they’re in the wrong. It’s a humbling thing to do, and it’s never easy. As I said earlier, marriage is very humbling. And this is a great example of that. I’ve come to realize in marriage, it’s imperative to apologize when you know you’ve wronged your spouse. It shows them that you don’t think you’re perfect, you know you were wrong, and you need grace just as much as they do.
8. Starting A Hobby Or Two Together Does Wonders
Luke and I have found a few hobbies this past year that we love doing together and they’ve done nothing but good for our relationship. We’ve found hobbies that get us active, give us quality time to talk with one another, and give us a good reason to get outdoors. All the above are good for the soul, and have been great for our marriage.
9. Be Attentive To Each Other’s Needs
This one has taken some practice throughout the year because Luke and I have different needs in our marriage, but we often times forget that. We may think we are doing a great job showing love to the other person, but if we aren’t loving them in the way they feel most fulfilled, they may still feel a void even if we feel we are showing them plenty of love. We are slowly learning to show each other love in each other’s love language even if it’s not how we personally feel most loved.
10. Travel While You’re Young (And Independent From Children)
We are young and broke, so by “travel”, I mean take a weekend road trip. But sadly enough, it’s been a year of marriage and the last trip that Luke and I took with just the two of us (and road tripping together to stay with family doesn’t count) was our honeymoon. We may not want to spend our savings on a trip to Hawaii at this point in our lives, but I do think that taking a few weekend getaways with one another while we have the freedom to do so is not a bad idea! I kind of had an epiphany the other day when I realized once we have children, our trips will be AT LEAST doubly expensive as they are now. So, hey, Hawaii may not be the worst idea after all while there’s just two of us 😉
11. They Weren’t Lying… Marriage Is Hard Work But It’s The Best Thing I’ve Ever Committed To In My Life
We’ve only put 365 days of marriage under our belt so far, and if I’ve already learned this much, I can’t imagine what I’ll learn years down the road. But if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s this. Yes, marriage is hard. You’re putting two selfish people together and telling them to live with each other for the rest of their lives; weird quirks, annoying habits, and all. However, it’s the best, most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and probably ever will.
Luke is my best friend. That kid makes me laugh unlike anybody else, and within seconds can make smoke come out my ears. He’s got a real talent, I tell ya. But there’s nobody else on this planet I’d rather spend the rest of my life with. I’ve got a lifelong best friend who loves me just as much as I love him, and who supports me in all that I do. He encourages me, toughens me up when I need it, and most importantly reminds me who I am in Jesus. We don’t need each other in the literal meaning of the word, but God knew we’d be a better team for Him together than apart. And for that, I’m so thankful. Happy One Year, Luke Helm!
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