I can’t believe a year has already zoomed by. Everyone told me marriage makes life go faster, and now I can attest to that. It seems impossible that it was a year ago that I walked down the aisle on that 104 degree Saturday (thanks again, those of you who suffered through for us). But it’s true!
Joshua and I celebrated our anniversary last week and had an amazing time. We went to our favorite local Italian restaurant and then to an awesome creperie for dessert! My favorite part of the night was at dessert. There was a wooden box on our table that I just thought was decoration until Joshua opened it to find some “Table Talk” cards, and they were all about relationships and marriage! It was perfect. We went through the whole stack and had some great conversations and learned new things about each other. I’m pretty sure it was God’s way of wishing us a happy anniversary. :)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about all of the things I’ve learned over the year. Marriage teaches you a lot, that’s for sure. For instance, I’ve learned that your kitchen does not come equipped with all the utensils and appliances your mom has in her kitchen! I learned that very quickly. I also learned that my husband and I have two very different theories when it comes to the placement of empty hangers. All of mine go at the front of the closet so they’re ready to be used again. His…well, they just go wherever they land. ;)
I started making a list in the notes section on my phone of some of the things I’ve learned (a little more serious than the ones listed above). It seemed like the list was never-ending! So I wanted to share a few of those things with you. I know I’m no professional since I’ve only been married for a year, but I think it’s important to take note of what I’ve learned so far. And whether you’re dating, about to get married, or you’ve been married for 30 years, I think we can always use some reminders and refreshers. Here are my top 10:
(the bottom 7 are in no particular order)
10. Time Out! - Joshua and I learned this trick early on in our relationship, and we actually learned it from the movie, Transformers. In one scene, two of the characters are arguing, and one calls for 10 seconds of silence. We both knew it was perfect for us. Sometimes you just need to take a time out and get a hold on your thoughts before you say something that could hurt your spouse. I am all about working things out, but it doesn’t always have to be right away. I’m not saying we’re perfect at this because we’re far from it, but it almost always helps when we take a few minutes to calm down.
9. It’s not about me - A few nights ago, I was praying for Joshua, and God spoke to my heart, reminding me to constantly strive to help my husband have the best life he could possibly imagine. Selflessness is incredibly important in marriage. As humans, we naturally have a selfishness about us, but like every other relationship you may have (except on an even greater scale), there is no room for selfishness. Marriage calls for a constant “I am second” attitude. We should constantly be thinking, “How can I make HIM (or her) happy and love life more?”
8. Talk, talk, talk - I know EVERYONE says, “Communication is key.” It seems like all marriage books, pre-marital counseling, and everything else marriage-related is all about communication. When I would read or hear about it before we got married, I never really got it. But now…I get it. In fact, just today Joshua and I had one of the worst conversations (about something extremely insignificant) simply because we weren’t communicating well. It wasn’t a fight, we were just getting annoyed with each other because we were trying to get our points across to each other without understand the other side. Remember that phrase you learned in elementary school? You have two ears and one mouth for a reason! :)
7. Friends - I love spending time with my husband, and I’m sure he loves spending time with me. But I’m gonna be reeeeal honest with you. Sometimes…I just need a break! Don’t lie. You know how I feel. It is so important to spend time with friends. I’m the type of person that can easily sit at home alone and clean, sew, or organize all night (most of the time) while Joshua’s out for class, work, or with friends. But doing that all the time is not healthy. We need friendships outside of our marriage. We need friends to encourage us, counsel us, laugh with us, etc. Plus…absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Right.
6. Surround yourself with wisdom - This has been key for us even since before we got married. We have found that spending time with older, wiser couples and families has been incredibly beneficial. I am all about hanging out with older couples because I just listen and soak up all the wisdom and advice I can get. You can learn and grow so much just by spending time with other married couples! (That includes learning things to do and things to NOT do!)
5. Put the phone down - Joshua will probably roll his eyes when he reads this (love you, babe!!), because it’s somewhat of a constant battle for the Dryers. Simply put, we’re part of a generation that is all about technology, and I think that’s great! But I have to be really careful that I don’t let it steal my time with my husband. I admit, I’m not the best at it. I have to be intentional about putting the phone down and spending quality time with Joshua. It says, “You are more important to me, and I WANT to be with you!”
4. Prayer changes things - This seems obvious, right? But there have been so many issues I’ve faced and tried to fix them on my own without even thinking to ask the Lord for help. I think the thing that has helped me the most in this area is remembering that God is on our side. He brought us together. He placed us in each others’ lives. He WANTS us to have an amazing marriage together, but we can’t do it on our own. In every season, every area, every issue, we should ask God for his help!
(The top 3 are in my personal order of importance)
3. Lower your expectations - This one screams at me. It’s something I’ve had to do many, many times in the last year. I think the world has given us this artificial picture of marriage, husbands, “love,” and life in general, and we just have to remember that it’s fake. I’m not saying your expectations should be so low that you don’t expect anything good in life, but I am saying your expectations should be reachable. I’m guilty of having unreachable expectations, and I’ve learned that it’s just not fair. This also goes back to communication. Communicate your expectations, and you’ll probably have a lot less disappointment to face!
2. Choose your battles - Back in May, Joshua was the Best Man in his friend, Kody’s wedding. The night before the wedding, at the rehearsal dinner, Kody’s mom stood up and gave one of the most amazing speeches I’ve ever heard in my life. I could never repeat it and do it justice, but in a nutshell, she told Kody and Linda to choose their battles. I seriously wanted to stand up in the middle of her speech and shout, “AMEN, SISTA!!!!” Joshua and I are both very stubborn. Neither of us like to give up or give in. We will bicker over the dumbest things simply because we’re both too stubborn to shut our mouths. I’ve had to learn to keep my mouth shut when it comes to things that don’t matter. Once again, I’m not perfect, and sometimes I don’t think before I speak. But I try to walk myself through a series of questions before I speak to try to filter out the battles that I really don’t want to fight. Is it worth it? Does it really matter? Will I care about this tomorrow? In a week? In a month? In a year? For real….choose your battles, and choose them wisely.
1. There’s so much to learn! - I remember when we first got married, after every fight we would have, I would just be beside myself and so upset because I felt like I was failing at the whole wife thing. But Joshua (being the amazing husband he is) would always hold me really tight and tell me, “We’re newlyweds, babe. We have so much to learn about each other and about living together.” And he was SO right! I am all about learning, learning, learning. I love listening to sermons on marriage or relationships, I love talking to other couples and seeing how they deal with issues, I love growing and learning all I can to become a better wife. Honestly, it all boils down to the fact that I love my husband with all of my heart. He is my life. He is my world. He is my best friend. I get to spend the rest of my life with him. So I want to be THE BEST WIFE because I want him to have THE BEST LIFE he can imagine.
So there they are. That’s a little bit of what I’ve learned in the last year of my life. I am SO thankful for the incredible husband I have and for all that he’s taught me and all we have learned together. I look forward to many more years with him and many more years of learning about him! Thanks for reading my mini-novel! :)