\ick and I are celebrating a wonderful first year of marriage.
I wanted to write some pithy little essay, to share my ponderings and joys of my first year of being married. I find I have nothing to say. I have tried for the last couple of months to put it into word form, to sum up what I have learned and the felicity of what I have experienced… and I cannot.
While “warming up” to put down a few words regarding our first year, I discovered I have more to ask than to really say. Therefore, I decided to have a discussion with myself—found below.
What can I say about my life — a life that most would find usual and oozing with normalcy — to convince others that it is so very wonderful and spilling over with treasures and experiences that make it an adventure, a drama, a comedy, a summer blockbuster alien thriller?
I get up at 5 am every weekday and drive to a desk job where I get to sit face to face with a computer for eight hours (every child’s dream), and then I come home. Peppered into that routine, I find weekends, small trips, and moments with fantastic friends. In all its tediousness, I find beauty and excitement; it is a life filled with twists and turns, a never ending quest. In my opinion, it is a life that contains one of the most beautiful love stories I know.
I am thrilled that my simple life could contain such a love story (definitely not enough room to tell it here). It is a story that started at our birth, with twists, wrong turns, and chance meetings. It’s a story that reminds me that every little moment—every little decision—counts, and that God’s masterful and creative hand is in everything. Those who know us well know how wild and inevitable it was—and those who know my story recognize that the act of getting married was a testimony to God’s redemptive love, healing promises, and a reassurance that He has a specific and perfect plan for every one of us.
How loud would I have to shout for people to hear that God is good and life in Him is complete freedom?
His grace abounds and it is far reaching. I am thankful how marriage has taken my understanding of God’s grace and love to a whole new level. I am such an imperfect person, but God’s love for me never fails – and then He calls us to love one another the same way! Ah! What a task, right? Well, amazingly enough, that is where God’s grace floods in once again – to teach us to love one another.
And—just to add—God isn’t just good when our lives are going well, or when we are happy with our jobs, or if we are on the same page in our relationship. I have found that He is good all the time, despite how my emotions and circumstances flip, twist and turn like a theme park roller coaster.
What would I have to do to prove to today’s young single person that marriage is the sweetest and most freeing of our world’s relational institutions?
There were a lot of things I thought marriage would be, and it isn’t. It isn’t easy, but it’s not too difficult. It’s not like in movies, but sometimes it is. Much to my amazement, it is ridiculously fun. Some said that we would lose “that feeling” that we had while dating pretty quickly, but I still rush home at the end of the day and enter the house, all smiles and surprises, and find him waiting excitedly to spend time with me. We look at each other, completely dumbfounded that the other exists, and that we cohabitate.
In our culture, we are told so often that we would be limited if we were committed to the well-being of someone other than ourselves. There is that ever-present rumor that marriage is “settling down” or “settling” or something along those lines. We are told we have to accomplish all of our hopes and dreams before marrying, like the other person sucks all the life out of us or something. Believe me, it isn’t true. I have found that my marriage with Nick encourages both of us to be more of who we are truly meant to be. This, my friends, is outrageously freeing.
I realize for some marriage has not been sweet; I know for many—even people in my own family—at times marriage was down right dangerous. Therefore, I count myself blessed to have a husband that puts his relationship with Christ first, and makes a priority out of loving me biblically.
I continuously find myself asking the following: Why should God love us this much? Why should He give us Himself freely, love us, and give us to each other? Why should we, two imperfect people, be given the gift of marriage?
One might say, “Oh, you are still in the honeymoon stage, just wait.” But what if this isn’t the honeymoon stage, what if this is it? What if, although the butterflies fade and people get wrinkles and the number of bills in your mailbox increase, there is consistent joy in loving and forgiving and letting yourself be known completely by another?
Sure, we have had our fair share (very fair share) of arguments in our first year of marriage. As my friend Lauren Wilcox can attest, at one point I had to leave the house and blow off some steam at her place before I punched a in a wall or something (although I am fairly small and have underdeveloped biceps, I am sure with the strength that comes with the heat of an argument I could have very well accomplished putting a hole through the living room). To be honest, when we were first back from our honeymoon I even remember myself saying I didn’t want to be married anymore.
It was very difficult for me to give up my space to another person, and to be okay with the bathroom not always being perfectly clean. I did not like having to put my clothes away in my closet all the time instead of leaving them where I wanted them and, on a more serious note, I did not like how I treated my new husband when I lost my patience (as I do often). I quickly found that marriage was like an all exposing mirror, and for the first time I saw a whole lot of myself that I did not want to see. And, on top of that, I actually had to deal with all the crap I was carrying around because it greatly affected someone I cared so much about.
In all my imperfections, awkwardness, and as Nick called it earlier this week, my “A+++ personality,” it is wonderful to know at the end of the day someone still wants to stick around, have some dinner, and share the same bed.
I do not know how we became so fortunate to find one another at such a young age. I feel like I won the lottery or something… I don’t deserve it. We are born on this earth not entitled to anything, so I stand amazed and truly thankful. I wish this kind of love upon everyone.
What is this all for, this marriage I have gotten myself into?
One of my favorite memories of our first year happened after a really bad day at work. Nick and I were in our tiny kitchen, attempting to make dinner, and in an exasperated voice that only comes with the end of a long day I said, “You know, you have my heart, and I am thankful it’s a safe place for it to be.” To which he replied, “Your heart is my greatest treasure.”
In that moment, my heart swelled within my chest (I thought to myself, to be loved and treasured, me? really?). If I wouldn’t have focused on what we were cooking, it’s likely my heart would have kept increasing in size until it exploded. There would have been pieces of my cardiac muscle in the pasta, which would have seriously ruined dinner.
Sure, Nick loves me like crazy people love to stand on sidewalks and shout things at the wind, (both do it with abandon and without thought) but if he loves me this much, tolerates me this much, forgives me this much, and cares for me this much, how much more does my Heavenly Father love me?
For, we love because Christ first loved us. The only reason we have all this good stuff to give away to each other is because the Lord first changed our hearts by His beautiful grace and gift of life.
Marriage has been an enlivener. Not am I loved by one incredible man… I am loved by one incredible God. There is an abundance of love present in my life, and this great abundance causes me to give it away to everyone I encounter (or, at least, I try my best). My once bitter heart has softened (I now tear up during Huggies commercials—weird, I know). I am learning to be a better friend, a more genuine acquaintance, a more respectful daughter, a more caring sister. The more secure I become in letting someone love me for who I am, the more confident I feel in giving myself away to others.
Why am I even writing this anyway?
So, as previously declared, I do not have much to say. I wish I could actually put into words the thankfulness I feel for the gift of marriage, for the gift of my wonderful Nick, but I cannot. I hope that Christ continues to use my marriage to make me more like Him, to be abundant in grace, humility, and love towards all people. I aim to eventually have some way to communicate to Nick, to our families and those who are close to us, how excited I am for our future together and how thankful I am for the story that lies before us.
Sweetheart, happy first anniversary. My love for you will not grow weak.