Monday, August 11, 2014

Thoughts on the First Year of Marriage

Remember when I used to blog? Yep, me too…I feel I have been awful at blogging this summer, but life has been busy – and at times, difficult – and blogging seems to be the first thing to go! 

While I have been MIA, Dave and I celebrated one full year of marriage. It’s still sometimes hard to believe that after waiting and praying for a godly man, I have now been married over a year! I continue to be extremely grateful for God’s undeserved faithfulness in our lives and for the fact that this sweet guy picked me. It took months before I didn’t wake up and practically pinch myself (and give thanks) to make sure we really were married. I still feel incredibly blessed to get to walk through life with Dave by my side.

We intended to go away for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary weekend, but the B&B rates in Annapolis were a bit pricey and we are going to Toronto later this summer, so we decided to stay home. We enjoyed one of our favorite activities on Friday night – an outdoor movie in Rosslyn. Saturday, on our anniversary, we celebrated all day with a diner breakfast, a hike in Maryland and dinner at a local restaurant we had been wanting to try. We capped off the evening by watching our wedding DVD, drinking wine from our Napa honeymoon out of our wedding flutes and eating a cupcake from my favorite bakery, Baked and Wired (sadly, we lost the top layer to our wedding cake in a TRAGIC freezer accident!) The first year is the year of paper gifts, so we bought a Europe guidebook and pulled some cash out of the ATM to start saving for a European getaway (a little added each week since then, so maybe one of these days, you will be reading a blog post about Paris!)

Outdoor movies - our favorite summer activity!

Not our greatest picture ever, but we had fun hiking and climbing in the water!

Dinner at Graffiato's

Movie, Cupcake, Wine and our beautiful Champagne flutes from Prague!

I’ve been married just one short year – so I won’t (and probably shouldn't) offer a ton of advice, but I thought I’d share some thoughts on the first year of matrimony.

{1} Count Yourself Lucky.

Marriage runs a lot smoother if you think of yourself as the lucky one.  As I mentioned, when I first got married, I woke up daily and immediately felt like the most lucky gal in the whole world….but I don’t always do that now, although I should. I should walk through marriage grateful for Dave and all he does and grateful for the blessing of marriage. 

We have a happier marriage when I think I’m the lucky one and Dave thinks he is the lucky one.

(On a somewhat related note, after recently hearing some of the struggles of single pals, I felt so undeservedly lucky. None of us deserve the good things we have in life. I don’t deserve my sweet husband and I should always be grateful for this gift)

{2} Marry someone you really like (aka, my take on the 
whole “Marry your best friend” wisdom)

Obviously, you need to love your spouse and be committed to continuing to love your spouse. That’s a given. But, I think life is generally happier if you also really like the person you marry…in a completely non-romantic, non physical, best buds type of way.

You will be spending a whole lot of time with this person – so make sure you pick someone you enjoy being around during good and bad times. And, by good and bad times, I’m not even referring to the tragically difficult times of family death, chronic illnesses, job loss, etc (because those tough circumstances require love and commitment, not just spousal friendship) I’m referring to every day good and bad – you know, the stomach viruses, the dirty dishes, the dead car batteries, the screaming babies and the poopy diaper blowouts. So, marry someone that will watch long movie marathons with you when you have the flu and will laugh at you and grab you a clean shirt when your child spits up on you. Marry someone with whom you can watch Netflix and drink wine after a particularly long week at work.  Marry someone who tells you corny jokes and cool architecture facts (or whatever his “thing” is). Marry someone with whom you enjoy exploring with, travelling with, planning for big adventures with.  Marry someone who will tease you about your age, tell you the same story yet again and watch Saturday football with you.

Dave is an excellent husband –truly loving, forgiving, patient, loyal….but mainly, we are the best of buddies.  Don’t get me wrong…I love that boy something fierce – and I love being his wife, but just as much, I love being his best friend. I'm glad I get to be both.

{3}Marriage is hard, but sometimes 
it’s really just Life that’s hard.

One of the motto's I grew up hearing is “Marriage is hard”. Sometimes it’s said by well meaning married folks to remind singles that even what they want and long for can be difficult at times.  Sometimes it’s said by men and women who are in the trenches, dealing with some of marriage’s difficulties.  Sometimes it’s said by those who are avoiding marriage as a reason or excuse to stay away from the institution. So, that’s how I grew up-- thinking marriage was wonderful, but it was indeed hard.  And, having been married a grand total of 13 months, I agree – somewhat. Marriage is hard, but so is singleness, work, motherhood (I don't know this yet, I just assume), relationships, school, etc. So many other life paths have their fair share of hardships and difficulties too. And, many times, life is just hard, regardless of marital status. This has been a very difficult year, but my difficulties had very little to do with the rings on my left hand or the new roomie. The year was just hard…because life is hard sometimes.

So yes, sometimes marriage will be hard, but sometimes life is what’s hard.

{4} Someone has your back.

As a single, the hardest part was doing life alone…although clearly, I know I wasn't alone – I had family, friends, roomies, a church family. But, I didn't have someone who always had my back (nor did I always have someone else’s back).  There is an element of life that’s easier when you have a “go-to” person to pick up soup and meds when you’re sick, jump start your car for you or to hold your hand and pour you a glass of wine after a bad day. It’s great to have someone willing to hear you vent when others disappoint you, to see your side and to encourage you to see a situation differently if needed. It’s comforting to have someone get mad on your behalf over an unfair situation. 

That’s the number one benefit I've noticed with marriage: having someone who has my back and I have his, even when it’s inconvenient. As I mentioned above, life is hard, no matter what you marital status is, but having someone in your corner (most of the time, we of course fail at this sometimes!) makes life a little easier to deal with sometimes.

{5} Be willing to fight, but quick to forgive.

When a couple mentions that they don’t fight often, Dave and I just laugh. Despite being very happy, we bicker at least weekly – over small things. (This is what happens when two stubborn people get married) We try to discuss things that need to be discussed, even if that leads to disagreement, but we generally don’t like staying upset very long. I think it’s important to talk about issues and not stuff them, but I also think it’s best to not dwell in anger.

{6}EVERY DAY: Kiss each other hello 
and goodbye, say I love you and ask about 
the other person’s day.

I know I discussed the fact that marriage is in large part, a really great friendship, but we can all agree  that it’s also so much more. Not every day can be romance, sweet talk and cuddling, but each day, you can make a couple gestures that show affection and love. Kiss one another goodbye each morning and say I love you. Hug and discuss your day when you get back home. Even the busiest, most stressful of days should include a few minutes for these things.

Dave is in the process of studying for his architecture licensing exams. When it’s the week before the exam, we barely spend any time together. We get up at different times and go to bed at different times. I am doing chores and watching TV in the evening while he sits in the other room and studies. We barely talk all day, but no matter what, I kiss Dave goodbye each morning and when we come home, he hugs me and asks about my day.  Just a few caring words and a little affection go a long way.

{7} Don't talk negatively about your 
husband to others.

I owe this advice to my friend Nikki. I asked her what her best marriage advice was and she told me to not badmouth my husband to my friends. It's excellent advice and I am really trying to follow it, although  I am sure I have failed.  I may make the occasional "he's talking so much about architecture" joke to our friends, but I am really trying to honor him in my words to others.

The first year really was wonderful - and in many ways, I am sad to see it go - but it many other ways, I am glad to move forward in life with Dave. I am excited for where God takes us in year two!


  1. Such sweet encouraging words ... thanks for sharing! I loved y'alls gift of the guidebook/ money -- so great!

  2. Thanks! I was partly motivated by you -- I eagerly followed your European Vacay through insta and FB :) AND maybe was a little jealous!

  3. Happy Anniversary!! Great advice!