Love and marriage, love and marriage

AMBER NOTE: I found this post today as I was realizing how far behind I was in my personal writing. Not sure why I never posted it…probably because… squirrel! I feel like I’m always doing 17 things at once. But here it is, and six months later, I can confidently say I still feel the same way.

As of June 13, 2016 Jon and I have officially been married for two full years. In the grand scheme of things, two years doesn’t seem that long. We spent the day celebrating at the beach in Grand Haven, soaking in the sun, walking the pier, checking out the shops and eating huge soft pretzels. Oh my, heaven. So darn good.

In the two years that we’ve been married I’ve learned a few things:

Marriage is incredible.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is a selfless, continuous learning process.

Marriage is one of the most challenging, frustrating and complex relationships you’ll ever experience.

But I’m figuring out that, if you allow it, marriage is also the most satisfying, beautiful, and inspiring relationships you’ll ever have. 

It’s an oxymoron really.

You marry someone because you love them, you like them, and you can see yourself doing life with them. When you marry someone, you believe you know them. The truth is… you’ve only scratched the surface. As your marriage grows, so does your knowledge of that person, and your heart and your love for that person.

Jon and I were reflecting on the craziness of marriage while we were going through the carwash the Sunday we went to Grand Haven (where he also decided to give me an anniversary card as golden soap soaked the front window. So randomly romantic, yes? But it made me laugh right out loud), and we were thinking about how nuts it was that you can pick a person out after being with them for a few years and say “Yep, this is the person I want to spend the entire rest of my life with.” Um, what?! Because do you know how many years you have ahead of you spending every waking moment with that one person? So.many.years. (Lord willing.) Yet within a year or so of dating, we feel we can say with confidence, “This is the one!” So crazy.

Humans are funny creatures. We think we know what’s best for us. And I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m wrong a lot. I mean, a lot.  So how the heck are we supposed to find that person we are to commit our life to knowing we have a hard time even figuring out which brand of toilet paper to buy at the grocery store?

By a tiny miracle, we find that person, date them, marry them, and then pray to God that this good and amazing thing keeps going.

But for those of you who are married or have been married (no matter how many years), you know that it takes some serious intentional effort.

And prayer.

And negotiation.

And compromise.

And retail therapy.

In just two short years, Jon and I have experienced two moves, career changes, a remodel, heartbreak, vacations, fights, surprises, love and finally… grace. So much grace.

Grace has always been one my favorite words and concepts. But honestly, I don’t think I really understood it fully until marriage. I never completely grasped it’s meaning. Grace is forgiveness, and patience, and giving someone the love they need, not the love they necessarily deserve (in that moment).

I’m so grateful for grace. It’s hard, realizing your own shortfalls and imperfections and how they affect your spouse, and expecting them to be ok with them while also being ok with theirs.

A friend of mine, Joe, wrote this in a recent blog post as he reflected on his baby boy turning one year old and how it’s important to love the one your with. This is pure gold.

Love the mother of your child.
Being around someone and living with them daily can be challenging enough (ie – a friend/roommate), a successful marriage is hard work. Having a successful relationship of any capacity takes WORK, not just marriage…but especially marriage. Put in the time. Be there. LOVE her but also LIKE her. Choose a partner you REALLY like (crazy concept right?) Don’t cut her down. Lift her up. Whether you’re with the guys or not, to her face or behind her back. Never, never, never — cut her down. Tatiana is my closest friend. I am blessed to be by her side daily. I respect her. Do we disagree? For sure (I’m usually wrong #browniepoints). I want my son to see me respect her. Even when I had a rough day. I’m exhausted. Be there for her. Number one. Fortunately for me, Tatiana is a pretty easy catch to follow this one.

I love this SO MUCH. Joe nailed it.

So married friends, or friends that are deep in relationships (whether platonic or romantic), lift each other up, whenever possible. Believe in each other, encourage each other, be each other’s number one fan. Hang out, be friends, be with friends, build other relationships that will also help build and challenge yours. Forgive quickly, give grace. Remember that the little things and the little moments matter.
Marriage is amazing, exhausting and life-giving. Find that person that you know you can grow together with. People change, situations change, but understand that if you’re with a teammate for life, you can grow and thrive through it together, even through the hard and really crappy stuff.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past two years, it’s that prayer matters. And it works. THANK THE LORD. (Typed while nervously laughing.) So pray for your marriage, pray for your friends and their relationships and your family. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I firmly believe that it takes a village to keep a marriage strong as well.
Peace and love my friends.

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Glass half full kinda gal. Coffee. CrossFit. Conversations. Copywriting. Coaching. Cheering people on in life.

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