There are so many words out there on the web from young, newly married wives. I guess I’m contributing to that medium here as I type. So many parts of my mind feel like I shouldn’t at all be the one writing here. Mostly because of lack of experience, the fear of coming across as know-it-all, or maybe because my thoughts on this topic are mostly very simple, probably have been heard so many times before + seem cliché and so it seems odd to share.
But this post is merely what the title boasts, reflections. A whole year of watching the Lord at work in our marriage, teaching two very different people more about what true love really means and remaining ever so faithful all the while. Definitely it hasn’t been pretty every minute, but watching the reflections of our former selves gradually change and conform to our Lord’s image, it’s definitely worth taking note of.
So here are 3 reflections from this first year of marriage that the Lord has caused me to glimpse + take to heart. I’m flipping back through my journal as I share each one trying to remember every detail and moment leading up to this lesson. I haven’t “learned” them, but am “learning” them, for some of these lessons aren’t ones to be learnt in a moment, but a lifetime.
This alone is probably the biggest cliché statement of them all, but it couldn’t be more true and practical. As a newly dating or engaged couple, it seems impossible to think that fights, disagreements, or vastly different opinions would ever make life difficult in marriage. But as married to each other becomes more “normal” the differences come up, and not all of them will be easily solved 500-piece puzzles.
Even in our first year we’ve had those 2,000 piece puzzles to solve, and I’ve noticed that either growth or disease in the relationship are two outcomes that can happen in these situations.
Disagreements can destroy and tear down, leading to resentment, bitterness and estrangement. Or disagreements, though extremely rocky and thorny to get through, can also sharpen, strengthen, give food for thought, and ultimately lead to reconciling and coming out on the other side having more love for the other person.
The outcome is entirely dependent on where our heart is rooted, in ourselves and our coming out on top, or in the Lord and our love + commitment to our spouse.
But when our desire is the latter, the love you have for the other person only flourishes as the clouds fade. I’ve loved watching this unfold over the past year… even when my heart has most often been rooted in the selfish soil and needs lots of tending + weeding. This is what makes the growth so amazing though, is watching it blossom even through thorns, hail storms, and rocky soil.
“Love endures all things.”
2. THE ART OF LISTENING WELL
This is probably the biggest monster that I’ve had in my closet, especially in the moments when disagreements take place. Loving someone with all your being is obviously a very emotional thing, and those wonderful emotional ties sadly cloud our vision so many times, and most of the time muffles our hearing too it would seem. This art of listening well is golden to learn in any relationship, not just marriage. The definition of it is genuinely hearing every word someone is saying, and striving to understand what it is they are trying to communicate, without our own assumptions of what they mean by something. It’s also placing our own millions of responses on the back burner for a second, while theirs simmer.
This takes extreme patience, and is something I’ve probably failed at the most. Even as an introvert who may seem quick to listen and slow to speak, I’ve noticed a whole new side to myself in marriage I never really observed before.
3. ACTIONS + ATTITUDES AFFECT
This is something you would think I would’ve learned more living at home, but it is a stubbornly selfish beast that is hard to get rid of.
We get so entangled in our own feelings, battles with the mind and wrestling with circumstances that we can honestly not think about how our reactions + actions will affect others. “I just need to vent” is a familiar comment in my head, selfishly thinking I am the only human being who has feelings in the situation.
Not only do my bad attitudes, hasty actions, and hurtful words affect my husband in many ways, so do my bad habits and stubbornness of a way I’m used to doing things + living life.
I know this is part of two single people, with very individualistic ways of living life, coming together and dying daily to themselves and holding things loosely out of love for the other. But, I know it’s also a heart attitude that is painful to let go of, because it means climbing out of myself.
There are so many more reflections I could dwell on and share, but these three are definitely the biggest that have been huge eye openers for me this year.
I’m amazed at the mercifulness of my God, and the patient love of my husband through the amazing ups and trying downs of this first year of marriage.
But, it’s been everything I ever dreamed it would be and oh so much more.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, and there is incredible peace + confidence that anchors you through the rockiness of each struggle when your hope is firm in your God, and your commitment strong to each other.
Any storm can be weathered.