Thursday, July 30, 2015

5 Things I've Learned in My First Year of Marriage

We've been married for a year now, and I can hardly believe it. Sure, we've settled into some routines, but "whirlwind" still feels like a good way to describe the past twelve months. I've learned a lot of lessons. Here are five, in no particular order.

1. A smile and a hug at the end of the work day can make all the difference.

This may sound a bit "June Cleaver" to you, but I've found time and time again that our evenings start off on the right foot if I'm able to welcome my husband home with a smile and a hug. Maybe it's for him, but it's definitely for me, too. After spending a whole day by myself, I need that warmth and physical contact. It's become my habit and seems to work for us, so I encourage you to give it a try for yourself.

2. Food is a really big deal.

Living on a newlywed budget can make this hard sometimes, but healthy, full meals are a really big deal. Both my husband and I experience that not-so-lovely emotion known as "hangry" but more often than not, after a good dinner, we return to our normally pleasant selves. I've made an effort over the last year to prepare meals that I know will be a hit, and to my surprise, I've only burned dinner once! That's a story of its own which I may share some day when I don't feel like crying about it.

3. Winter can be hard.

Perhaps its because the honeymoon phase was wearing off, or perhaps it was because I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant only five months into marriage, but let me warn you anyway: winter can be hard. Those long months of reduced sunlight, days on end of snow storms and freezing cold temperatures make any winter something I endure rather than enjoy, but this past season felt harder than others. I found myself fighting a battle against first trimester nausea and exhaustion, spending many days and evenings bound to my couch or in bed, all the while struggling with my emotions about being pregnant. I know I failed to be a helpful and supportive wife a lot during those months, and it weighed heavily on me. Thankfully, the season changed, the sun came out, and my second trimester brought energy and health. My husband was my rock through it all, even though he too was fighting a battle against winter blues.

4. Always devote time to growing your marriage together.

Just because you're married now, and you get to see this wonderful spouse of yours each day, does not mean your relationship will automatically grow. Make sure you take the time to talk to each other about more than the every day stuff. Go on dates, even if you don't think it's in the budget (this just means you have to work it in!) Dating your spouse makes a big difference in your relationship. I've learned this over the past year, and I'm sure as our family grows, dating each other will become even more important.

Do devotions together. We read the Bible together after every meal. This helps us grow in our understanding of Scripture together and often ends in some interesting discussions. We are also reading a marriage devotional that was given to us at our wedding. It is designed to be read a chapter per week for a year, but we've fallen a few weeks behind due to my next point.

5. A year flies by, especially when your calendar is dictated by field work.

When I said "I do", I became a farmer's wife. My husband loves what he does, and I love to see how happy it makes him -- exhausted, but happy. During the warm months, this means we don't see a lot of each other, so it's a little like being single again. A year flies when you're only with each other part-time! I'm thankful for tractors with buddy seats and especially thankful that I get to at least say good morning and good night to the hardworking man I married.

When I look back over the last year of my life, this first of (Lord willing) many as wife to my Shayne, there are many more lessons I've learned than what I've shared today. It has been a year of ups and downs, but isn't every year? We have grown so much closer as we've navigated this marriage path and I daresay we are more in love each day.

Now, as we prepare to become parents next month, I thank God for allowing me to tackle life with this guy, my very best friend. There's no way I could do it without him. Insert all the heart eyes here!

What are some marriage lessons you could pass on?

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