We’ve Been Married for a Year and This is What We’ve Learned

Married for a year. This is fiercely weird to say.

It seems as if it were five minutes ago that I was driving frantically around Bowling Green, Kentucky the night before my wedding trying to find our marriage license (yes, that happened). It seems as if it were just the other day that we were lounging on the beach during our honeymoon when the storm alarm began sounding across the city of Destin, FL. It seems like it was just yesterday that my man carried me into our first home, awaiting the marriage that would soon ensue.

And yet it also seems like he has always been my husband.

Yesterday, as we celebrated, I was ironically reminded of what our entire year had looked like. We began the day worshiping the Lord with our local body of believers, we went to Long Horn and used a gift card (cause the first year married has us poor), then we got on the road to begin our day that Austin had scheduled out.

First, we would go mini golfing and settle a two-year long tie. Then, we would go to the Soda Parlor and get ice cream floats. Finally, we would walk around downtown Nashville before eating at a fancy restaurant we had no business stepping foot in.

However.

When we got on the road to go mini golfing, we began hearing a loud sound coming from under our car. A little nervous, we pulled over, only to smell some serious burning. Low and behold, one of our tires was not only flat but absolutely shredded to the core. Austin grinned, relieved that it was only a tire and headed to the trunk where he would show me how my man could change a tire in just a few minutes. He had the confidence of the NASCAR crew. Only, instead of finding what he needed, he found a tire that was literally stuck to our car and a tool case with no tools in it.

Did I mention it was 90 degrees outside and we were on an interstate?

Needless to say, the day was not picture perfect or Instagram worthy. It was real though! We cackled on the side of the road as we waited for roadside assistance to show up. We sweated through our clothes trying to beat one another at mini golf. We walked into 5th and Taylor (fancy restaurant) in jeans (which is apparently not something you do), then we laid on the couch watching America’s Got Talent.

Oddly enough, it was one of the most fun days I have ever had.

And that is what I believe marriage is. Making the weird, and often hard, moments enjoyable for the other. It’s putting aside your own discomforts for the comfort of your partner. It’s remembering back to the time you lost your temper because something didn’t go perfectly and using that as motivation to react differently now. It is not what social media tells you it is, and it is often not even what I tell you it is, but it is the greatest gift God has ever given me. I am so excited to share with you what He has shared with me over this last year.

Everything was not as big a deal as it felt.

The first month of our marriage was a breeze. I loved him more than I thought possible–and it was the fairy-tale, happy-all-the-time, over-the-top kind of love. The honeymoon stage was REAL y’all. Then month two happened, and we began to settle into things.

15032336_10207710552218721_2018233938094522195_n.jpgI became comfortable with talking to him however I wanted.

He became comfortable with looking at his phone instead of listening to me.

And then it started. We bickered and argued over small, stupid things. Things that should not matter at all. After months of wondering why it was that we seemed to be in an argument rut, the Lord revealed to me what was going on in my heart.

Newly weds! Listen up!

When you make the kind of commitment that marriage makes, everything gets way more personal. The love is much bigger and the hurt is much deeper. Yes, it evens out over time, but in the moment, the Lord has taught me to stop and remember whose I am. Not Austin’s but His.

It puts everything back into perspective. It reminds me that I am here in this life and in this marriage for the glory of Jesus Christ and not to fulfill some kind of dream marriage or to even fulfill all my husband’s desires. Our eyes cannot be on ourselves or even on anything in this world but on our God. I’ll touch on that more in a minute.

Weddings are fun. Marriage is better.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I was sad that the wedding was over, I would have all the money in the world to pay for seminary this fall! (#RealWorldProbs). Yes, the wedding was fun. However. Marriage is better! The wedding day is just that: a day. It comes and goes just like any other day in your life15032065_10207710317452852_2418948156771825846_n BUT much faster.

Honestly, my favorite part about having had the wedding is hearing about how much my friends enjoyed themselves. It was enjoying one another in community and celebration of our God and His picture of marriage! Oh, it was fun, guys.

But I would not trade a day of being married to my man for another big party. He is too good, too kind, and this daily sleepover kind of thing is way too fun for all that.

Caring for something (or someone) makes my marriage more fulfilling.

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Okay, I might get judged for this one. We did get a dog and it was one of the best decisions we have made! I am not saying that everyone should get a dog for their first

little stint of marriage, and I am definitely not saying that a marriage without something to care for is any less fulfilling than mine. I am, however, saying that we love to watch one another love on something.

We love to have a common goal and to take responsibility for something together.

And it’s just plain fun!

Though I am positive that caring for a dog will be nothing like caring for our own children one day, I freakin love my dog, and I love that my husband loves my dog. It brings in a whole lot more love to what is already a whole lot of love. 10/10 would recommend.

When Jesus isn’t the center, we have nothing stable to hold onto.

We have struggled, friends. And not just simple struggles like being stranded on the side of the road! We have struggled with staying in our word consistently. We have struggled with our spiritual disciplines. We have just plain struggled. Funny how the times that we struggle spiritually are the times we are struggling in our marriage.

You might ask, well did you try things like bringing in better communication or making a list of why you love him? Yes, we have tried some logistical things, but Jesus is what it always comes back to. And it is always going to be! If He was the thing we built our marriage upon, if He was the reason we stepped out in a big kind of faith to get married when and at the cost we did, He has to be what we center of our whole relationship. I mean all of it. The decisions we make financially, the relationships we pour ourselves into, the jobs we take, the time we spend, and everything in between must come back to Him or we will crumble. We will turn into ourselves or become obsessed with “pleasing” the other to a point of self-destruction. When we are right with Him, we are right with one another. Always.

Pinterest doesn’t tell the truth.

I am sitting in a very cluttered apartment right now, and you wanna know why? Pinterest. (And Facebook and Instagram and any other social media site that tells me all the stuff I need). Log off! Trust me. We are about to spend about two weeks purging our apartment because most of the stuff we have is not necessary. It has created unrealistic expectations in our household and it has brought unneeded shame and stress into our lives. Do yourself a favor and put it away.

Build a home that YOU love and that reflects your faith from the moment guests enter the door.

I can’t wait for a lifetime with this man.15094310_10207710551298698_977603201733002791_n

This year has been the best of my life. It has not been the easiest; in fact, it has also been the most challenging. But the Lord has stretched my little family in ways that have given us no other choice than to cling tightly to Him.

That has been what has grown my love for Austin so much. Not the pretty, Pinterest-worthy moments, but the gritty, hard, “you only have each other and Jesus” kind of moments. I pray that God gives me more time with this human than I know what to do with. I pray that we walk alongside one another it life’s beautiful moments as well as its beautifully devastating moments. I pray that we encounter the Holy Spirit daily and that we have kids who love Jesus more than we do.

Year one of marriage has come and gone. It goes by fast, girls. Savor it. Love Him. Get ready for what’s next.

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