Tomorrow, John and I will be celebrating two years being married ❤ Hip hip hooray! I feel like these two years just flew by, mostly because we became pregnant 6 months into year one and spent the better half of year two adjusting to being a family of three. Through all we’ve experienced together since saying I Do, I can say that our love has grown deeper, our relationship stronger, and our hearts bigger. Even though it hasn’t all been roses, we’ve made huge efforts to create a strong foundation that will not waver through hard times. We definitely aren’t experts at marriage (I won’t take that title until we’ve passed the 20 year mark haha!), but we’re learning how to make it work better and better every day.
Every year of marriage is a milestone to celebrate! Especially the young ones, before you hit those milestones of double digits. So I wanted to share a few significant nuggets that I’ve learned throughout these two amazingly beautiful years of our marriage that have helped us grow stronger, become closer, and fiercely love each other despite any circumstance:
1. Trust the leadership of your husband.
Submit to your husband joyfully, knowing that he was placed in your life to lead.
Now, I am a headstrong/strong-willed/independent gal, who knows what she wants and takes action to get there. BUT. If I treat my husband as if he doesn’t know what is best for us, or if I constantly correct him and make my own decisions, then I’m doing more harm to our marriage than good.
It’s important to let our husbands know that we trust them enough to step aside and let them be the leader of our household. The goal of “stepping out of the way” is so that God can step in and do amazing work that only HE can do. I want my husband to know I respect him, that I value his input, and look to him for spiritual guidance for our family. I want him to lead us. Since putting this into action after the first few months of adjusting to married life, I have seen beautiful blessings pour in! Even though he leads, we are partners working together towards our common goal of creating a thriving, long lasting, Christ-centered marriage.
2. Ask for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is owning up to what you need, and calling it for what it is. There is so much freedom in taking ownership of our mistakes and asking to be forgiven. John and I make mistakes in our marriage all the time, and though they’re usually little “d’oh!” ones, there is nothing more humbling and vulnerable than coming to each other in that moment and saying, “I’m sorry I said that to you. That’s not how I want us to speak to each other, can you please forgive me?” It takes a lot of courage, genuine intent to solve and overcome, and love for each other to keep moving forward despite the messes we make.
3. Don’t look for a way out – look for a way to go IN, deeper.
Marriage is hard work but it’s the good kind of hard work – and it takes a LIFETIME to learn how to be married because your marriage will go through many seasons. It isn’t just, “Okay we’re married, life is wonderful, the kids are perfect, we never have money problems, and okay great I Love You!” Ha! If anyone tells you it is in fact that easy, they’re either on their 4th marriage or trying to sell you something.
Marriage, if done the right way, means you are meant to be with ONE person, ONE spouse, for your entire whole life. It begins by building a strong foundation of growing up together through the better half of your 20s and/or 30s depending on when you got married, and then moving on to the hardcore adult-ing stages of life (buying a house, raising kids, seeing those milestones of 20, 30, and 40 years together, retiring and growing old). We are meant to do all of those things, live all that life through the good and the hard, with one single person. What I have learned so far from people I trust who have been married for years and years is that you have to CHOOSE to continue to do life with that one single person, no matter how hard it gets. Because then you can look back and say “we overcame that mountain, we got through that valley, because she/he chose to stick around and make it work.”
4. Invest in each other’s hearts.
This is where being intentional comes in! It’s my word to live by this year, and I have seen some beautiful change happen in my life since I made the choice to try and live every day intentionally. I can see a difference reflected in my mood, in my marriage, and in my spiritual growth. Of course I still make mistakes and stumble, but knowing that I want to be intentional totally changes my perspective.
In marriage, you both have to make a willful and deliberate decision to do life together. Do and say things that fill each other’s love tanks and spend quality time making the most out of the moments you get to spend together.
5. give him (and yourself) grace.
If there’s one thing I can say I will always be working extra hard at is giving my husband grace. In a marriage, this looks like: being slow to anger and quick to forgive. Choosing the benefit of the doubt over passing judgement. To listen and respond with love and kindness. To follow his lead, and show I believe in him. To learn to embrace the journey you’re on together, no matter how different it is than you had originally planned.
So what does it mean to “give grace to one another”? It means that we see one another as new creations in Christ, and we recognize the grace we received at salvation is continuing it’s work as a change agent in our lives (Phil. 1:6). In other words, we’re all (a work) in process.