One year ago I married my best friend Brittany. Since then the roller coaster of marriage has taken off with no intention of slowing down. A year ago I was so naive, but I am slowly learning about this God-given relationship. Here are some things that I’ve learned no one says after the first year of marriage:
“I’m such a selfless person.”
When I went into marriage I thought I was a pretty humble person. I am concerned with other people’s lives above my own, right?
Our second day of marriage was the day I realized that my needs are no longer the priority. Instead, I should put my wife’s needs and desires before my own at all times, not just when I feel like it. The other day we were out driving around and Brittany said she was feeling sick. I wanted to browse at this new store and I convinced her to stop by there first on the way home. She reluctantly obliged. By the time we got home she was on the verge of tears from being in pain.
I am not as selfless as I originally thought.
“Marriage is easier than I thought.”
How hard could marriage be? All I have to do is say “yes” when my wife asks me to do something and everything will be fine. Wrong again. How naive could I be? Marriage is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Something as simple as sleeping in the same bed is still difficult for both of us!
There is no such thing as going on autopilot. Every morning when I wake up I have to make a decision to fight for my marriage or step back and let things happen. To be honest, many mornings I stop fighting and become complacent. On the positive side, marriage helps me see my flaws and become more sanctified in my walk with God.
“I still think my spouse can do no wrong.”
Before marriage I saw many of my wife’s minor faults. In the past year I have seen some deep wounds and struggles. I love my wife, but she is a broken individual just like myself. She has a sin nature that is at war inside of her.
In marriage I have learned that my wife sometimes struggles with forgiving those who have wronged her (she gave me permission to share this). This can lead to her lashing out at me even though I have done nothing wrong. She is so good to me but sometimes she gives in to her flesh, just like everyone else.
“My baggage didn’t affect my marriage.”
I always thought marriage was an opportunity to start over. I could leave behind the baggage that I collected over the years and never look back. But marriage is not so much about becoming a new person as it is becoming a new unit. We are now one flesh and that means every part of me becomes a part of her and vice versa.
My environment growing up taught me that if I wanted to end an argument, all I had to do is withdraw. This isn’t healthy and arguments will never be resolved this way. My spouse accepts me for who I am, baggage and all. At the same time, she plays a crucial role in helping me work through my issues. I now see that this is one of the most beautiful things about marriage.
“I’ve got myself all figured out.”
I didn’t know my spouse as well as I thought. It turns out that I know myself even less! Over the past year my wife would ask, “What are you feeling?” My response was usually “I don’t know.” Then I would change subjects and that would be the end of it. She helped me realize that I wasn’t in tune with my feelings and that wasn’t okay. My wife is helping me put words to my feelings and thoughts to discover who I truly am.
“We get along all the time.”
One aspect of marriage is being best friends, but the fact is best friends know how to get on each other’s nerves. Best friends fight sometimes, but the key is to fight fair. I know what really irks my wife and I can choose to get under her skin if we are in a heated argument. But that would not be fighting fair.
We constantly argue over something that seems trivial: the thermostat! I get cold easily and she gets hot easily. Sometimes it is best for the relationship to compromise. So to resolve this constant tension I live like an Eskimo most of the time! I end up stealing the covers at night so I guess that makes us even.
“Marriage is not worth it.”
Many of my friends were married before me and they all agree on one thing: it is so worth it. Marriage is hard. It takes sacrifice and discipline. Despite the challenges, I never once regretted marrying her. My wife is a wonderful woman who loves Jesus and loves me. I am head over heels for my wife and I am so thankful for her. This past year has been the best year of my life. I love you Brittany!