Monday, April 7, 2014

Six Things I've Learned in Six Months Of Marriage



Saturday marked six months since I said I do. I am no veteran to marriage by any means, but I've grown and learned worlds about myself, about my husband, about God and about life in the past six months. Marriage is wonderful. It seriously is fun. Its laughter and its adventures and fun. Its also grace, forgiveness, and I'm sorrys. I don't know if I just got lucky in the husband department, but I am not someone who would say our first six months of marriage have been hard. They've had their challenges, of course, but more than anything, the word I'd use is wonderful. There are always ups and downs in every aspect of life, so I thought I'd share  share six simple things I've learned in marriage during the last six months of marriage.

1. Laughter is the BEST medicine. I know-such a cliche but I can't tell you how many times that a fight or argument has been avoided because one of us has made a joke or laughed off a snarky comment instead of getting offended. My husband is especially good at this, because lets face it, I'm usually the one with the snarky comment and he usually does something that makes me laugh. Laughing together covers much and I am glad I have someone who can make me laugh even when I want to be mad.

2. Defined gender roles aren't our thing-and thats okay. When I first got married, I felt really pressured to be the typical, perfect Proverbs 31 Wife. I felt pressure to be providing home cooked, healthy quality ingredients for my husband every evening, scrubbing the bathrooms, folding all the laundry,  and baking cookies on Sunday afternoons. This pressure was an expectation I put on myself, not at all from my husband. I quickly felt overwhelmed and burdened with all these things I thought I should be doing because I am a WIFE. We both work full-time, and we quickly figured out that our marriage would look more like an "egalitarian" marriage. We split things like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry pretty equally.  When Ronnie beats me home, he cooks dinner a lot. Sometimes he does grocery shopping and sometimes he packs MY lunch.  Sometimes, I put on my domestic hat, but sometimes, I don't. And that works for us. Someday, if I ever have the privilege to stay home with future babies I will probably do more house work and prepare more meals.  (But I still don't take out the trash, okay).

3. Spending time apart is healthy. I've talked about this before, but both of us enjoy the time we spend without each other. WHAT?! I know. Crazy. The time we spend with our friends or pursuing our individual interests is good for our marriage. I treasure the time I get to hang out with my girlfriends, and also enjoy nights home alone when I can watch Gossip Girl in my most comfortable pjs and wrinkle cream on my face. We love  hanging out together and I crave time with my husband and thats why I am comfortable saying that we enjoy our time apart too. In the past six months, my husband even has started to ask me when I start getting cranky "Do you need some alone time?" Our time apart makes us enjoy time together even more.

4. My husband isn't a mind reader. One of the things that has made all the difference is learning to just ask Ronnie what I need instead of expecting him to just know. As a woman, its okay to want our husbands to show us they love us in specific ways. Those are desires and they are normal. What can easily happen though is those desires turn into expectations, and when our expectations aren't met, we can be left feeling hurt and resentful. One of the best things we have done is have our Saturday Morning Checkups and share with each other what would make us feel more loved. If I am feeling overwhelmed with all the chores/responsibilities at home, instead of just wishing Ronnie would take care of them for me, I now can just ask. If I really want to spend some quality one-on-one with him, I tell him I really need a date night. It has made a world of difference for our marriage communicating our needs and desires instead of expecting the other person to just read our minds and know what we need.

5. Our marriage doesn't have to look like ____'s marriage to be right. I have found myself comparing myself and my marriage to other people's marriages. I've found myself thinking "Suzie does this for her marriage, so I should do that too." I've done this in so many areas: finances, home maintenance/care, cooking, date nights, etc. The list goes on and on. But, just like every person is different, every marriage is unique as well. I don't know where I (and a lot of society) got the ideas in our heads that there is one right way to do marriage and life, but I know know, that is not the case. I have realized that if we are submitting our lives and our marriage to Christ and obedient to what He is calling us too, it is okay if our marriage doesn't look like my friends marriage, or my cousins marriage or my neighbors marriage. We might choose to split up chores, or save money or spend our free time differently, and that is okay.

6. Grace, Forgiveness and Prayer are the lifelines of our marriage. I've become so much more aware of my own sinful tendencies since being married, but I've never experienced more grace and forgiveness from another human. If theres anything that I think keeps our marriage strong day in and day out, its offering grace and forgiveness to each other when we fall short, and continual prayer. I make an effort to pray for my husband every single day and for our marriage, and it really makes all the difference in the world. Reality is is that we are both two sinners who are at times, going to let each other down. But how we respond to that give us the opportunity to show each other Christ's unconditional love when we offer each other grace, even when its hard.

14 comments:

  1. As far as the "gender roles"--I definitely think each couple has to realize what works best for them. I do the vast, vast majority of the cooking....but my husband vaccums, because I can't stand vaccuming. We help each other out--that's the main thing for us!

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  2. When we got married we made a pact... If I never have to take out trash, The Hubs never has to clean a toilet. Both of those things equally freak each of us out. So weird! Ha! We always tell people to do what works in YOUR marriage, because it's YOUR marriage, not everyone else!

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  3. "Grace, Forgiveness and Prayer are the lifelines of our marriage." Beautifully said and so true. Great post! I shudder to think what a marriage would be like without those three components.

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  4. We started the weekly checkup and it has been so great for us! Can't believe you have already been married six months, where is time going!! I feel like we just got engaged!

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  5. Time apart I think is so important for a happy and successful relationship.

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  6. Congrats on six months! I agree on the gender roles thing. I dream of bein a stay at home mom and wife, but right now, both our schedules are the same amount of busy. So we don't usually have grand home cooked meals, and sometimes he does more cleaning than me. It's just both of us pitching in and doing our best!

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  7. Happy six months!!!! :) I love how much marriage is a learning process, it's great! :)

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  8. Happy six months! This was an awesome post! I'm not married just yet, but I can totally see myself wanting to be the perfect wife. While I completely think that God provided men and woman with distinct roles, I do know that sometimes it isn't possible to cook dinner for your husband every night, or have the house be perfectly clean. I think as long as we're pointing our husband towards Christ, and doing what God would have us do, then we're okay. As long as our focus is Christ, then all is well. =]

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  9. This is a great post. Next month, my husband I will celebrate 6 months. I may have to do a post like this!

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  10. I often forget that my boyfriend is not a mind reader! I loved your six things; I'm not married but really these six things work for any relationship. Congrats on six months sweet girl :)

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  11. Happy six months! I learned more about myself in those six months than I thought I would, that's for sure!

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  12. I have loved reading you + your husband's thoughts on 6 months of marriage. As an almost newlywed (less than 2 months..!!) these are really amazing points to reflect over as we enter this season in our lives! Xx.

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  13. Happy 6 months!! And yep, yep, yep to all of these things, but especially the whole egalitarian marriage thing. You know I LOVE that.

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