What an amazing weekend we had last weekend celebrating our anniversary in style; breakfast at our favorite place, church service on the laptop from our patio, mini golf, shooting some golf balls at the driving range, ice cream cones, a 3.2 mile hike on a new trail for us, time hanging out poolside, eating our year old frozen then thawed wedding cake and then to top it all off an amazing dinner at a new restaurant. I can’t believe that my husband and I have been married for 1 year and 1 week already today. Where did the time go? A lot has happened in the last year and we have learned SO much! We thought we would share a little bit of our last year with you guys and just the small things we have learned in such a short amount of time. I am sure that as the years go on we will learn so much more, but it is exciting to see how we have already incorporated what we have learned into our marriage thus far. Here are just a few of the things that have happened since our wedding:
First let’s talk about living together. Although my husband and I had lived together prior to marriage, like we said in our initial blog post, we did separate our living arrangements about 8 months prior to our wedding. (See our first blog post to learn more). That being said, we still had to learn how to live together once we were married. It was definitely something that was challenging and exciting. It was exciting because we now get to spend everyday waking up next to one another and sharing our life together. It was definitely challenging because we are both human and we do things differently so we had to figure out how each person likes things done and then meet in the middle.
The first trip we ever took together was our honeymoon in October 2016, where we headed down South to Hilton Head Island to enjoy some sun, sand and relaxation. We rented a car and took turns driving the 13 hr trip that it took us between rest stops and bathroom breaks. We drove overnight so it was definitely a little more tiring driving in the dark than it would be during the day. But, we made it safely and our first day was spent just unpacking our things and just relaxing after such a strenuous drive. We spent the next few days doing some really fun things including when my husband surprised me with a dolphin cruise where we got to see some dolphins up close and almost touched one! However, our trip was cut short due to Hurricane Matthew, and as sad as I was to cut our trip short and come home, we turned it into a stay-cation and had a lot of fun catching up with friends and family that we don’t see too often. Since our honeymoon we haven’t traveled really, with the exception of a friend’s Michigan wedding back in June. What a blast it was to get away for a few days and celebrate such an awesome time!
Other than our honeymoon and the wedding, we have pretty much stayed home, just focusing on work, saving for our fall vacation and working on our debt snowball. Our life is pretty unexciting to most, but we are in the stage of our marriage where we are working hard to pay off our debt so we can buy a house and start our family. Prior to us getting married we didn’t have much to go off of with how a good marriage works. We certainly had examples of what NOT to do, but we didn’t have a lot to go off of in regards to what makes a marriage successful, and easy work, rather than hard work.
We both really dislike the phrase “marriage is 50/50”. FALSE. Marriage is not 50/50; it has to be 100/100. The 50/50 mindset is deceptive and sets you up for failure. We are taught in 1 Corinthians 13:5 that we don’t dishonor others, and we are not to be selfish. We are also taught that we shouldn’t be easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I also believe this goes along with that we shouldn’t keep a record of “I did ____ so now you can take care of ____. My husband and I both work full-time, and I have a small part-time job on the side cleaning for a family every couple of weeks. There are times where my job will take up more time than his and vice versa. We do not sit here and say things like “I did the dishes so you can wash the clothes”. We don’t keep track of things that need done and say you do this and I’ll do that but simply we work together. There are times where we do separate chores around our apartment, while there are also times that we do things together as a team like emptying the dishwasher. We had the mindset going into marriage that we would do our best to give 100/100 all the time. Is it difficult and at times exhausting? Absolutely. No one said marriage was easy. Marriage is work; the amount of work and how you choose to view it is dependent upon if you are willing to sacrifice and give everything. When two people choose to give everything then they are sacrificing for the good of the other person and when you have two people loving one another selflessly, it takes the “work” out of marriage and turns it into a team sport. In essence my husband does not “help” me with responsibilities around our apartment; our view is that we both use dishes to cook and eat, we both need food to survive and we both occupy the same space and use the same amenities. Why should we leave all the responsibilities to fall on the shoulders of one person? We don’t believe we should; therefore we simply work together to maintain a clean, safe and enjoyable living environment, which in turn evens out the work load between us.
Let’s talk about an article I read for a moment. It totally hits the nail on the head for me. It is titled ‘Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness’ and it can be found by visiting http://relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/marriage-isnt-about-your-happiness. Its tagline says “what true love will teach you about you”. Now that’s a pretty bold statement!
The entire article points to the “cost” of marriage. When you think of marriage costing you, you may simply go back to what you spent on your wedding; what about the other things that marriage costs you? Now my husband differs in feelings on this article as he thoroughly enjoys serving me and our marriage and I do also, but I love the reality of this article. It is written perfectly for sharing the heart behind a good marriage. I can say that prior to meeting my husband I was a pretty selfish person. If I wasn’t happy in a relationship I would simply break things off and get out. I didn’t know HOW to have a good relationship. There were no examples of good relationships in my life. When I met my husband I knew something was different. HE was different. He was selfless, loving, kind, compassionate and always cared more about what was best for me and for us than he did seeking out his own motives. It was from the beginning of our relationship that I started to see what a good relationship could look like and how to live selflessly because of his example.
The article goes on to say: “If you’re getting married with your own happiness as your main goal, you will be disappointed in a severe way.” We have seen plenty of people in our lives get married because they loved the other person, but when it came to the action of actually loving them, it was a different story, and before you know it they were fighting constantly or getting divorced. My husband and I learned this long before we got married and we are still working on applying it every day of our marriage.
What’s important to recognize, is that the culture that we live in teaches us about putting ourselves first and seeking our own happiness, rather than regarding others above ourselves. The issue with this is that it is selfish and completely neglects the key principles of sacrificing for one another that is necessary to have a successful and lasting marriage. A key place to learn about what this sort of sacrificial love looks like is through God’s word.
An example of this would be 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a:
Love is patient (love never gives up)
Love is kind (Love cares for others more than for self)
It does not envy (it doesn’t want what it doesn’t have)
It does not boast (Love doesn’t strut)
It is not proud (Love doesn’t have a swelled head)
It does not dishonor others (Doesn’t force itself on others)
It is not self-seeking (It isn’t always “me first”)
It is not easily angered (Doesn’t fly off the handle)
It keeps no record of wrongs (Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others)
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (Takes delight in the truth)
It always protects (Puts up with anything)
Always trusts (Trusts God always)
Always hopes (Always looks for the best)
Always perseveres (Never looks back and keeps going til the end)
Loves never fails (Love never dies)
Now this is one example of many from the good book but you get the idea. Often times for us to succeed in marriage, we need to go against the grain so to speak, especially in a culture that has a 70% divorce rate. With that being said, we talked about the two major things that couples fight most about in marriage: Finances and Intimacy. In our next post, we will cover the topic of finances and how we have gone from struggling and living paycheck to paycheck, to gaining a good foundation of our financial management using a financial system based on biblical principles.
Stay tuned for our blog post next week when we talk about Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, the 7 Baby Steps, our financial journey so far and how we are gaining financial freedom one day at a time.