Yesterday my amazing husband and I celebrated one year of marriage… I am honestly at a loss for words! Sometimes it feels like it has been a year and other times it feels like we just got back from our honeymoon! We have learned so much, not just about each other but about ourselves as well. The Lord has blessed our relationship so much, and tested it in many ways. I wouldn’t trade a single thing about this year, and look forward to so many more with my best friend! Nick, there is no one I would rather have by my side for the rest of my days 🙂
I love asking my husband what he thinks about things I am writing and advice for how to enhance it! I am super excited today to feature his thoughts on the blog, as we share 6 things we have learned in our first year of marriage! Here is what we came up with:
- Prepare for Marriage, Before Marriage: Now what do we mean by this? When we got to the point where we knew marriage would be in our future, we began to read. A lot. We studied many marriage books because having a God-honoring marriage was the most important thing to us. We probably read Ephesians 5:22-33 thousands of times. We dug into God’s Word to truly understand what HIS purpose for marriage was, and then tried to mold that image onto our relationship. We also protected each other and treated each other as a brother/sister in Christ until the day of our wedding. We did NOT have sex until our wedding night. The temptation was there in a very real way, but by focusing on things we could do to improve our relationship and by God’s grace we remained pure until that night. This is also a good time to talk about things in your past and be completely transparent with one another! *There are links to books we read at the bottom
- You Married the Other Person, Because You Love That Person: Before you say, ”Well obviously we do or else we wouldn’t have gotten married,” let us explain. Sometimes in our marriages, we get upset at each other or as Nick likes to call it, “heated fellowship.” It is easy to assume in the heat of an argument, “Well he/she doesn’t care about anything I am feeling/saying/doing” and write off the other person as uncaring, or disrespectful. Before we get more into this, how many of you wake up every morning thinking, “What can I do to hurt my spouse today?” Hopefully no one! We must remember that our spouse has only good will towards us and the reasons why you got married. However, we must also see that we are all imperfect people, and this is why we need a Savior. The Holy Spirit reminds us to not be mean or hurtful to our spouse, and that that is not their intention, because they only have good will towards us.
- Your Spouse Can’t Read Your Mind: This one is pretty self-explanatory; unfortunately my husband and I both need the explaining from time to time. I don’t know about you all, but neither of us were born with the gift of mind reading. I (Mindy) will definitely say this was a big struggle early in our marriage. I would expect cute love notes every where, every day, undivided attention, and him to know everything I was thinking and feeling… without telling him. Imagine someone asking to make you a batch of cookies, without giving you any sort of recipe. You can try, and maybe even do well, but most likely you will fail to give them the exact type of cookies they wanted. They are then upset because the cookies were nothing like they expected! Are you surprised? We set these unfair expectations on our spouse without communicating to them, and then are hurt when they are unmet. I should have communicated to Nick things that would make me feel loved, but know he loves me regardless of whether those things happened or not. Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who can meet every need you have, not our spouses! Clear and honest communication is the key here, because no one is a mind reader!
- You and Your Spouse are Different People, and That’s Okay: God created everyone in his image, and no one person is alike, especially when it comes to males and females. We are created so different, and that is the beauty in marriage. God knew what a man needed, and what a woman needed, and created both of us to perfectly come together under Him. Nick and I found a common interest in our love for the Lord, and are now glorifying Him together. However, we are VERY different. In the book Love & Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs, he talks about how men see and hear through blue sunglasses/hearing aids, and women see and hear through pink sunglasses/hearing aids. We both think differently and feel differently about certain situations. For example, Nick truly enjoys shoulder to shoulder companionship, such as watching movies together, going to the grocery store together, or attending sporting events. He genuinely enjoys my company. On the other hand, I enjoy sitting in a quiet spot and wanting to talk about anything and everything, with no distractions. Are either of these desires wrong? No! We just have different needs that we desire to have met. Even though we are very different, this allows us to complement each other in so many ways. Nick is so generous and helps me to be more giving, something I am not naturally good at. I tend to be more organized and keep track of certain things, something that doesn’t come naturally to him. The Lord uses things like these to grow each of us every single day.
- Don’t Stress Over Money: This might be the number one cause of stress within our marriage. The devil loves nothing more than seeing things like this break up a marriage. Money in itself is not evil. We do need it to live and exist in this world. It is when it causes tension, hard feelings and bitterness towards our spouse that it becomes an issue! 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.” Jesus even says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the other and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Don’t let the love of money, whether it be wanting more of it or worried about not having enough, cause you grief, especially in your marriage. Everything belongs to Him anyway; we are just stewards of all He has given us. There have been many times where Nick and I were worried we wouldn’t have the finances we needed for whatever situation it was, but the Lord has always made sure it was there. Give your 10% tithe, bless others, and you will be blessed.
- It’s Not About Me: Say this out loud with me, “It’s not about me.” We have had many times in our marriage where we both thought, “I can’t believe I am being treated this way,” and then use that thought to justify a hurtful response towards each other. We say “it isn’t fair” or “we didn’t deserve that” but do we stop and think about what we really deserve and what’s really fair? It isn’t fair that Jesus Christ had to be tortured and hung on a cross to die for the sins we committed. He didn’t deserve to die, but He chose to because of His great love for us. We deserved hell, but instead we get Heaven. Our Heavenly Father offers us grace and forgiveness when we mess up; shouldn’t we offer the same to our spouses? If two people in a marriage have the thought that “It’s not about me” and choose to respond in obedience to Christ, our marriages would probably be filled with more joy and less bitterness. Bitterness is the disease that kills a marriage quicker than any other. Satan will use that to consume you and allow you to think it is okay to sin because of how your spouse responded to you. The truth is, it is ALL about Jesus Christ, and we get to love our spouses because of the way He loves us.
There are so many things we have learned, and so many ways we have grown during this past year! I hope this encourages you all and you can learn from things we have learned. Feel free to comment and share what the Lord has taught you through marriage! If you are needing your marriage to be lifted up in prayer, please email me, I would love to pray for you.
Here are a couple pictures of my husband and I from when we first met to now:
The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
Fall in Love, Stay in Love by Willard F. Harley