Sunday, July 14, 2013

Marriage Lessons: Year One

MJ and I have been married for one year, so I thought I would rekindle my love for writing things down by reflecting on a few things I have learned over this short period.

People think you are extra responsible if you’re married at a ‘young’ age.
            You become the “‘old’ married couple” quickly. Everyone assumes you know much more about life than you really do. You know how to cook ALL the meals. You know how to fix ALL the domestic problems. You know what the responsible decision is in ALL situations. They’re partially right. It is really comical because we still feel like kids in a lot of ways, but marriage will mature you and your way of thinking.

You need less than what you think that you need.

            Marriage and sacrifice go hand-in-hand. Being married so young and still in college, we have had to learn to do without things that we thought we needed.  I think this is especially difficult for women (new clothes, home d├ęcor, jewelry, shopping as a hobby, etc.). However, it makes you realize what is important in life and what is not. Marriage is worth the sacrifice.

You are selfish, and it will show.

            I am way more selfish than I knew, and it showed this year. I quickly realized that I can choose to have petty arguments over stupid things, or I can recognize that marriage is part of my sanctification. Marriage makes you look more like Jesus because every day you have to make the choice to deny yourself (in big and small ways) what you really want in order to love and serve your spouse.

In marriage, you’re free to be you…and you are weird.

People have weird habits, and spouses become oddly comfortable. The pressure to be accepted has subsided with a life-long commitment, and the weird habits are voluntarily exposed. I’ll never forget MJ showing me how he folds towels. It’s weird…to me. And my way was weird to him. Our vows should’ve included, “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, for when you leave clothes on the end of the bed or for when you leave a pile of shoes by the door, for when you sing “10,000 Reasons” for the ten-thousandth time or for when you take up your side of the bed…and mine.”

Different doesn’t always mean wrong.

Your spouse’s different way of completing a task isn’t always the ‘wrong’ way. We both look for efficient ways to get things done. However, we have those weird habits previously mentioned that are not always efficient. I used to ask, “Why don’t you do it this way?” a lot. If I saw a faster, ‘better’ way of doing something, I thought I was being helpful by suggesting that he do it that way. However, when he did the same to me, I was frustrated that he would not let me do it how I had planned or wanted to do it. I learned that a different way isn’t always a wrong way. Just because he wants to take the roads that he knows rather than taking the fastest route does not mean his way is wrong. Suggestions are fine every now and then, but I don’t need to point out that I would’ve done it differently.

Marriage is fun.

            It is so awesome to share the littlest and biggest life happenings with your best friend. Some of my favorite moments have been when MJ and I are just being stupid together or doing simple things like going to get ice cream at 10pm. There are lots of laughs and smiles to be had.

Marriage is hard.

            If you think six years of dating is adequate preparation for marriage, you’re wrong. Been there, done that…this year was still tough. No amount of dating can completely prepare you for marriage because they aren’t the same. People told us and statistics show that marriage is hard (especially the first year), but everyone thinks they will be the exception. There are unforeseen frustrations and arguments, but if you honor God and fight for a good marriage, you will come out better and stronger on the other side of every issue.

Marriage is the best.

            There’s no other way to say it. It’s so comforting to know someone will be by your side no matter what. It is good to have a person in this world who knows everything about you and still says each day, “I chose you forever.” I love MJ more today than I ever have because of our marriage. God created marriage as a picture of the Gospel – we don’t come to God with a list of good things we have done hoping He will take us. He makes a covenant of salvation with anyone who comes to Him and says to Him, “I have sinned, but I trust Jesus’ life and death were enough to forgive that. I am forgetting the life I knew and am walking with You now. I want to commit myself and my life to You.” He responds with a resounding and perfect “I do” commitment of His own. In the same way, MJ and I left the separate lives we knew. We brought nothing to the table that day except a covenant of unwavering commitment that will be kept forever. Marriage is God’s way of changing us, loving us, and showing us a mirror of how He has loved us – deeply, unconditionally, and faithfully.

“Two are better than one…” Ecclesiastes 4:9

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