Joel and I celebrated our first year of marriage yesterday. I’m pretty sure I must have slept through some of it, because that’s the only explanation for all that time passing so quickly. Asleep or awake, we are extremely grateful that God has given us the blessing of each other. It’s been a really awesome journey, filled with tons of light moments, nauseating amounts of mushiness, and growing together in every possible way. In your face, guy who said we should have waited at least a year before getting engaged!
There are lessons we have learned during those first 365 days. As usual, I am excited, and naturally very unashamed, to share some of those with you.
- Play…a Lot!
One of J’s lecturers advised that spouses should spend some time playing. That’s something we don’t need to be told; it’s in our nature. We spend most of our time horsing around – there’s fake accents, vinegar in someone’s drinking water, hide and seek, phony fights and mimicking people we know. One of my faves is taking an item nobody wants to put away, and hiding it in each other’s bag, drawer or wherever the chosen spot is. Joel went to school once with a worn, stretched out garment hidden in his backpack. Playing together helps to remove stress from our relationship, cements our bond, and allows us to express who we are.
- Pray for Each Other
I pray for my husband in every aspect of his life. I know he will experience challenges on a day to day basis – with our marriage, in his ministry, with his studies, and his other professional fields. Going to God on his behalf is yet another way to love on him.
- Forgive and Forget
I recognise that my husband is imperfect, despite his best efforts. Much as I rather not admit it, I’m not perfect either. Yet, it’s never been easier for me to move on from an issue, as it is in my marriage. Thankfully our disagreements are minimal and we are usually able to reason things through calmly and rationally. We don’t really fight – and no, that’s not an indication of anything except how aligned we are with our beliefs and that we disagree respectfully. I can easily wipe his slate clean and forget about an issue.
- Mushiness Matters
We’ve never been shy about affirming each other. I know without a hint of doubt that he’s my biggest fan. Naturally, I’m his groupie. I love the way his face lights up and his chest sticks out after I’ve paid him a compliment, especially if it’s with his work. We also leave little notes around the house for each other to find. These are then placed in a Love Jar and sometimes we pull a random note and read it just to stay connected. Or if we want a dose of mushiness.
- Don’t Discuss Your Relationship with Others
My husband is the one who will give me the results I want from HIM; not my single bff, or the bitter widow at church, or the brother who wishes I had married him instead. Others are carrying around their own baggage and will give advice based on that. I tell my husband what I’m having a challenge with and we see how we can best work things out. Sometimes, if I feel unable to speak with him immediately, I take some time and I
tell God on him pray about it. On the rare occasion when I need advice, I have an older and wiser Christian mentor whose counsel is quite useful.
- Learn Your Partner’s Language
Joel is one of the most emotionally intelligent people I’ve ever met. I know! This is the best thing. Ever! He can look at me, know the space I’m in and then decide if he needs to give me a hug or leave me alone. And this goes both ways. This kind of insight has really been a sort of linchpin in our relationship.
- Keep Some Things to Yourself
There are experiences I’ve had, on both ends of the spectrum, that I’ve shared with nobody. My husband hasn’t a clue, nor does any other human being. Whether it’s adjusting to something in our marriage or dealing with him leaving pools of water on the bathroom counter (you’d be surprised how annoying this can be), sometimes I make a deliberate effort to let things be. They tend to work themselves out, or evaporate in the case of the water.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
This is something Joel has taught me to do quite well. Initially, I’d point out things he’d done wrong or failed to do. He’d ask why I didn’t just fix the problem instead of calling his attention to it. I realised soon enough that by confronting him about some things (I’m sure he wouldn’t knowingly leave the refrigerator open), I was creating mountains out of molehills and making my husband wrong in the process. Nowadays, I gauge how I deal with the tiny things. If he’s made a mistake that I can easily correct, then I do. If a behavior change is needed, I try to correct first and discuss second.
- Dream Together
Joel and I have all kinds of dreams. They all include us wearing matching T-shirts, as we take over the world together. No matter how crazy our dreams are, we share them with each other, usually in the quiet hours of night, as we lie in bed before falling asleep. There’s something special about being able to dream together and to work together to realise those dreams.
- Have Fun
I know couples who love each other, but who don’t necessarily like each other. That being the case, spending time together just chillin’ is difficult. Not for us. My husband is my homie. We genuinely like each other. We love being around each other, doing silly things, watching sports or black and white movies and just having a good time.
With a year of marriage under our belt, we are grateful to God for His hand in our relationship. If the future looks anything like the past, then we’ll breeze through it together, holding hands all the way.