The first year of our marriage has had lots of blessings, and lots of hardships. It’s been a whirlwind of passion, love, hurt, forgiveness, joy, excitement, and adventure! We’ve learned so much this past year so I wanted to share some of our most important lessons. I am so excited to keep learning and for all the years to come with this sweet husband of mine ♥
1.) Men and women communicate differently
This is huge. I knew this coming in, but wow is it hard to work through. A book I read before getting married put it like this: when I say I have nothing to wear, it means that I don’t have the right outfit for the occasion or I just simply can’t decide what to wear. When Marshal says he as nothing to wear, he literally doesn’t – it’s all dirty. Same phrase, but we meant two different things. This was so hard for me and still is; I have to be careful not to assume how Marshal meant something. Usually I just interpret it wrong and it’s just because we express things differently.
2.) Forgive, Forgive, Forgive
Marriage has had this unique ability to really show me the connection between sin, forgiveness, and love. I am not perfect and I sin on a daily basis. I can be selfish, impatient, ungrateful, and hurtful towards my husband. But he has forgiven me again and again; just as Christ does.
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
3.) Communicate “I Love you” in different ways
We’ve all heard it: actions speak louder than words. Sometimes it really is the little things that say the most. Maybe that’s waking up early to make his favorite breakfast before work or bringing home her favorite flowers. But actions aside, you can also say “I love you” in other words. I love it when Marshal says: “You’re the best!” or “You are so smart!”. People love to hear they are special, strong, amazing at ______. Pick some different adjectives and it really makes a difference!
4.) Your marriage is not your parent’s marriage
Good or bad, your marriage is not your parent’s marriage. We both came with different expectations about marriage because we grew up in different households. And while as Christians, the fundamentals were the same, not everything was. We learned to talk about what was allowed and not allowed; what we loved about our parent’s marriage, and what we would change. Come with an open mind but make sure it’s still grounded with a Biblical mindset.
5.) Put down the phone
This is a hard one for our generation. We feel like we NEED our phone- like we are lost without it. Marshal and I had to make some rules for our phones so that they didn’t hurt our relationship with each other. I like to look through my phone at night before bed and he likes to look at in the morning. But those are some of the best times to just talk and spend some quality time with each other. We decided that there would be no phones when we are in bed and no phones at the dinner table. Remember one of your most valuable relationships is right in front of you, not behind the screen.
6.) Marriage is missional
God designed marriage, therefore it must have been made with an eternal purpose in mind. Marriage was not made so that we could live a fairytale and pursue our own happiness. God made marriage to further his kingdom; to show us the relationship he has with us and to give us a partner for some kingdom work. Grab your spouse and “go and make disciples” in whichever avenue God’s called you to. (Matthew 28:19)
7.) Treat your spouse like you did when you were dating
Remember when you’re always trying to win them over? So many dates, so many flowers, and so many surprises? During the school year we’d go from school, to work, to our volunteer activity, to this meeting or that, to hockey practice, to cleaning the house, to studying for this test or writing this paper, and on and on. It was exhausting just writing that… We had to learn to take a break and just have some fun! Dress up and go out or make homemade pizza and have a movie night =)
8.) You don’t have to fix your spouse
Your spouse isn’t doing it wrong, they just do it differently. I constantly tell Marshal he is putting his belts in the wrong spot and he likes to tell me I load the dishwasher wrong. Neither of us are wrong; we just grew up doing it differently. We’ve learned to compromise because it’s not worth ruining the day over.
9.) Learn your spouse’s love language
People give and receive love differently. Married or not, The 5 Love Languages is a great book to read! It can help you learn a ton about people and relationships. My love language is words of affirmation, but Marshal’s is quality time. I love to be complimented and encouraged by my husband and Marshal loves it when I take him somewhere fun, or spend time doing something he loves. Learning your spouse’s love language and putting it into practice is super important!
10.) Your spouse really is your best friend
I said Marshal was my best friend when we were dating but it honestly has no comparison to what our relationship is now. We have so many inside jokes and so many funny stories. We tell each other everything from old secrets to who we saw at the grocery store. This has been one of my favorite things about marriage; you have something no one else has. It is this precious intimacy that builds over time and only grows deeper.
Photography: Alex Mari Photography
We’ve learned a lot, but definitely not all there is to know. What are some of the lessons marriage has taught you? What’s the best advice you can give to us as we start year 2? Let us know below!
Update: A lot of you asked about where we took these pics! Here is the link for the cutest little Tipi!