Yes, I know those numbers don’t make for a particularly catchy title, but it’s all I’ve got. As of today I have been married for 2 years. And yes, I know that I still have so much to learn. However, I have noted a few things that have surfaced in my heart for these past 24 months, and I thought I would share them here. PS – Michael added number 11 because I wanted his opinion to be heard too.
1. Marriage is not hard. Sin is hard.
I’ve heard the phrase “marriage is so hard” more times than I can count. Honestly, I’ve said those very words myself. But I think we are passing by a crucial point here. The institute of marriage is not the problem.
We are the problem.
We, the sinners and selfish people, are what make marriage hard. I was just as ugly on the inside before I put on the white dress and drove off with my new husband. However, being married and living with someone has the effect of revealing how messy you are as a human. And it reveals the same thing about your spouse. So, you’ve got two messy people living under one roof trying to figure out how to be married. Which is the recipe for misunderstandings, selfishness and a whole bunch of hurt feelings. So, please take your marriage/relationship/future relationships and allow it to work on YOU instead of letting marriage take the blame. Please note that I am the first person that needs to work on this, so I am preaching to myself more than you.
2. Marriage has tough moments.
I know, I know, for all the newlyweds this is such a taboo thing to say. Most likely because you’re worried about what all your other [perfect-marriage-through-a-perfect-instagram-filter-hashtag-blessed] friends will think. But chances are, they’ve had just as many tough moments as you’ve had, but they are too afraid to speak their struggles in fear of of what you would think. It’s a vicious cycle, my friends. And this cycle leads to nothing but loneliness. So, HERE I AM. I am telling you that my marriage has had [and will continue to have] some tough moments that resulted in hurt feelings and tears. However, I have learned that having tough moments is okay because it doesn’t mean your marriage is over [I’m looking at you, newlywed Rebecca!] or that your on the road to misery for the rest of you life. Seek help, offer forgiveness and love your spouse anyways. However, if you have the type of marriage where you never argue or get on each other’s nerves? Well, BULLY FOR YOU. Don’t judge your sisters. Pray for us instead.
3) You have to learn to compromise. If you would like to practice this concept, just try and find a show on Netflix that you both want to watch.
4) Assuming the best about each other is KEY to defusing arguments. No, he did not leave his socks on the coffee table [for the millionth time] to annoy me. And no, I did not leave all the cabinet doors open in the kitchen just to get under his skin [sorry, Michael]. And when he said, “Can you please not do that again? It hurts my feelings.” That’s ACTUALLY what he meant instead of what you FEEL like he meant [ie. “You’re the worst wife ever, Rebecca” (guilty)]. Assume the best. Always.
5) You need to be silly sometimes. Marriage, and life, can be messy. Being goofy can make some of the hard days not as difficult. I can’t tell you the times in these past two years where all I wanted to do was pout and throw a pity party for myself, and then Michael somehow made me laugh [probably by saying the word “poop” or something like that, but that’s beside the point]. Either way, don’t take life too seriously.
6) Do not give a darn about what people think about you, your spouse, or your marriage.
Their opinions do not define you or your relationship. Allowing this lie to creep into the cracks of your insecurities can be toxic, trust me.
7) On that note, however, I consider it vital to have people that you to speak truth into your marriage.
I’ve been blessed with several ladies who have more seasoned marriages than my own, and they have poured into me these past two years. If you don’t have anyone like this then please, FOR THE LOVE, GO FIND SOMEONE. You need people who can say to you, “No, Rebecca. You shouldn’t take it personally that he *insert petty thought or expectation here* And no, that is not a realistic expectation to place on him.” I wish I didn’t have to have those conversations, but newlywed Rebecca had a lot to learn, and that is okay.
8) No, you actually don’t have to argue your spouse into the ground in order to prove a point.
As a matter or fact, sometimes is best to just let things go and not create an unnecessary argument in the first place (example: “Michael, that is not the proper way –my way– to put bowls int the dishwasher…”) If you’re trying to decide to bring something up or simply let it go, ask yourself:
If not, keep your mouth shut, Rebecca (this can be remembered by the acronym T.H.I.N.K.).
9) Expectations are the thief of joy.
The famous saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” could not be more of true. However, I have learned that some of the silly expectations that I unknowingly carried over the threshold of marriage into my newlywed apartment caused some of my darkest moments these past two years. And it had nothing to do with Michael, and everything to do with me.
10) Have friends of your same gender.
11) (Suggested by Michael) Don’t be petty. For example – Don’t demand ask your husband to please stop opening and closing the door to the freezer despite the fact that it’s “fun” to watch the cold air come out like smoke. Yes, it costs money, but is it really worth an argument?
Also don’t angrily suggest, “You should add ‘don’t be petty’ as my contribution to the blog about marriage” right after the freezer argument. Because that’s petty too (both of us quickly apologized and can laugh about it now). In all seriousness, please ask yourself if what you bring up as an “issue” is actually an issue or are you just being picky/petty/ridiculous.
It has been said, “A wedding anniversary is a celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”
This year was a true year of partnership and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be my forever team mate than Michael.
Happy Anniversary, my love!