On July 3rd we celebrated TWO years of our journey together. TWO years full of adventures, learning, and growing.
Looking forward to our wedding, I was filled with anticipation as any bride would be. We got married on a very hot July day, went on a beautiful month-long honeymoon to Thailand and began merging our lives together.
It was amazing to do the same old things that you would usually do by yourself but now get a chance to do them with the person whom you dearly love. It was exciting and exhilarating to get our first apartment, to pay our first bills, to go shopping to the grocery store for the first time and spend too much money, to buy things for our home and to start our new jobs. Everything was new, a life-altering moment that captivated our attention and energy.
When fall came around, we both started working new jobs and got plugged into the church helping out with teens ministry. Every weekend we made an effort to meet new friends, hike, go on road trips, work on projects together, and explore the area around us.
Apart from all the fun adventures that we enjoyed together, there are many new things that I learned as a newlywed wife, some quickly and some slowly. Many of these lessons began immediately the day after our wedding when we were heading to Thailand.
Here are some things I’m learning as a newly married wife:
Traveling in the same direction
We were both in a new country, out of our comfort zones, and put into situations where patience was tested and stretched. Travel quickly showed me how selfish I could be. I wanted to do things the way I’ve always done them before and to travel the way I was used to. There were times when we had to walk through the rain, scramble to get a hotel or a moped, go too long without food, and many plane trips that got us tired and frustrated. I had to remind myself daily that we were in it together it wasn’t all about me and what I wanted, we are now traveling in the same direction together. Making decisions together. Doing life together.
Two sinners living with each other
We are not perfect. We come with faults and weaknesses. Being married isn’t even close to what you experience when you are dating or engaged. You become vulnerable with each other. You see each other’s strengths and weaknesses, fears, and doubts. You know what makes the other person happy or sad. You see the real them and who they really are. In those moments, you still choose each other, to love, to accept each other the way we are in order to grow and be more like Christ together.
Being Broken Together
Being vulnerable and honest with each other. This takes courage, to let the other person into the deepest and darkest parts of your heart and struggles. When we are broken together, we can come before God. He doesn’t need us to be perfect because that will never happen. We need to come before Him and to each other just as we are, broken so that He can heal, mend and shine His light through the broken places of our hearts and lives. This is a journey.
Christ is my first love
With all the new responsibilities as a new wife and a teacher it was and still is easy to set aside my alone time with God. It quickly reflected on my relationship with Alex. I became quick to speak, be negative and impatient. When my personal time with God is a priority, I am able to be filled with His love, kindness, and patience. If I don’t grow in my relationship with Christ, all my relationships with family, friends and especially with my husband will suffer. Only through Christ are we truly able to see people, to love them, and to have relationships with meaning.
Extending grace, patience, and understanding
Not reacting or letting my emotions rule the situation but working through our misunderstandings or arguments with love, patience, and understanding.
We are both very different
Learning to embrace the differences between us and enjoy each other for who we are because we are God’s gift to each other. I choose to believe that his differences are for my good and my differences are for his good, too.
“Our differences are exactly the ingredients God wanted to use to grow each of us into a better reflection of HIS image.”
Believing the best
Choosing to believe that my husband did not intentionally say or do something to create more work or hurt me on purpose. Believing the best means that I don’t try to misread his actions as personal offenses towards me. Knowing that he loves me and is trying to do the best possible.
Don’t come into marriage with unrealistic expectations
In our culture with all the movies, songs, and perfect Instagram pictures it’s easy to set unrealistic expectations and romanticize about the way things should be when you are married. When expectations aren’t met it can leave you wondering, “what’s wrong with us?” You’ll find yourself robbed of joy and comparing yourself to other people. Life is messy and not perfect, but it’s beautiful.
He’s not a mind reader
I learned this one quickly! Instead of thinking that he can pick up on or guess what you are thinking, feeling or how you are hoping to spend the day, rather express your thoughts, feelings and what you would like to do. Don’t think things will happen the way you were hoping they would if you haven’t said a word about it and are hoping that he will magically guess.
On our first Valentines Day, I had unrealistic expectations and maybe it was due to social media but I also just didn’t express how I would have liked to spend the day and left it up to him to decide. When things didn’t go as I imagined them to go ( a romantic day with flowers and candles) but instead something completely different, I was disappointed. When I want something specific or I want him to know how I feel, I learned to tell him instead of thinking that he can read my mind.
Praying and reading the Bible together
We have a thing called “Tea Time” where we both get to share about the day, three things that made us smile/grateful, and we read a passage out of the Bible. This doesn’t always work out every day, but we do try our best to make it happen. We always end the night together with prayer. This is a priority for our relationship and is still something that we are trying to figure out and work on. Recently we both got a journal called the 5 Minute Journal which has been really helpful!
Everything takes time
I thought I would have everything under control once I was married, but I was terribly mistaken. From sleeping on a twin sized mattress for a month before getting a new mattress to finally getting a normal sized garbage can after two months, everything takes time. As much as I want to make everything happen and be perfect in my home and every other part of my life, it won’t happen right away.
How to cook
Honestly, I didn’t know how to cook when I got married. Thankfully my mother who is a great cook was on the phone with me multiple times during the day for the first few weeks. I got better and now I get many recipes from Pinterest or from my girlfriends who also recently got married.
Eat healthy and Exercise
When I cook I always make sure what I cook is good and healthy. The worst thing you could do for yourself and your husband is to settle for processed and quick food. If we don’t take care of our health and intentionally shop for fresh food and cook healthy then we will pay for it in the long run.
Managing my home
There is so much more to home-management than just having a clean house and a cooked meal on the table. I stumbled upon this site called “Young Wife’s Guide” where there are so many great resources, blog posts, and podcasts about Gospel Centered Homemaking. It has helped me so much!
Connecting with other women who are married, younger and in the same stage as I am
This was very difficult and I am still working on making new girl friends. I had two girl friends that I knew very well when I moved down to Portland and with one of them we read a book this past summer called, “Letters to my Daughters” by Barbara Rainey. Unfortunately, she moved away this past winter. Reading together has encouraged us both as wives and gave us an opportunity to pray for our husbands. We need women to mentor women. We need each other.
How to budget and live minimally
We rarely go shopping the reason being we want to live minimally and save as much as we can for our world trip. You might be thinking that we are crazy but sometimes we forget that we actually don’t need stuff to make us happy. We shop for the things we need and will use. If it’s something for our apartment like furniture, I go on Offer Up and score great deals. Also, my family and friends donated a kitchen table that we have been using, we have a small couch that I used to have in my room, and my uncle made our coffee table. We are currently saving up for our world trip and we will end up selling a lot of the things that we own this summer, so there’s no point in buying a lot of stuff (Update: This has already happened!). For clothes, we try to wear what we have and if we do shop, I try to stick with neutral colors and clothes that I can wear during different seasons and different ways. It’s amazing to see how much we can save by living minimally. For more tips on saving money check out our post, “7 Unconventional Ways to Save Money”
We made an effort to get plugged into the church right away. Alex started leading a teens group and I came along to help him out. Also, last summer we had the opportunity to serve as counselors at our church’s kids camp. Serving together has challenged us to discover how to better work together and glorify our God with our personal gifts that we both have within us. This is still something we are trying to figure out and are praying for God’s guidance as we are traveling. We hope to partner with organizations and serve along side them.
Encouraging, building each other up & serving one another
We always try to be positive with each other, never raising our voices but encouraging one another with kind words, prayer, Bible verses, morning notes, and serving each other.
Marriage is hard work but it’s all worth it
I remember an older lady being asked by a group of young women about her marriage, “What did you both do to have a strong marriage?” She answered with these simple words, ” You can’t be lazy, you have to work on it every day.” Don’t get me wrong marriage is wonderful and every day is an adventure but to build a strong and healthy marriage it takes work and time!
I am a work in progress. These are just a few of the things that I learned this year and by no means have mastered. God is at work within each one of us, creating us into his beautiful masterpiece.
I’m thankful for these TWO years with my wonderful husband and I’m looking forward to many more.
“To love is not just to view someone as the most wonderful person in the world or as some kind of saint. It is also to see all the weakness, the falseness and shoddiness, all the very worst in the love one exposed-and then to be enabled, by the pure grace of God not only to accept this person, but to accept in a deeper, more perfect way than was possible before…. Before love can really begin to be love, it must face and forgive the very worst in the person loved.”
Memories from the past 2 years:
Our wedding, 7.3.15
One Month Thailand Honeymoon
Hiking Table Mountain
Painted Hills, OR
Arches National Park
Hiking Dog Mountain
Christmas Card 2015
Canada Hot Springs Trip for Thanksgiving
Fall’ing in Love with you
Hiking Munra Point, the mountain we got engaged on
Participating in a play at church
Celebrating our 1 year anniversary
Kids Camp counselors
Crater Lake National Park
Sand Dunes in Florence, OR
Christmas Card 2016
Family Europe Trip-2 weeks, 8 cities
Thankful for YOU
Hiking Elk Mountain
Smith Rock State Park
Hiking Saddle Mountain for Alex’s birthday