whoever said that the first year of marriage is the hardest is lying to you. or at least, they weren’t married to bryan.
it has been just over eight months since i wore my less-than-$100 (it’s true) wedding dress, and i still wake up surprised and delighted that, at age 22, i am lying in one bedroom of two that we own, in a condo perfect for our lifestyle, with a kitchen i adore, facing open and bright windows through which tree branches are beginning to wake and bud. the source of constant heat next to me, drooling on his pillow, his nose strip half hanging on, only moves when i gently push him to roll over to avoid his deathly morning breath. after slamming “SNOOZE” a couple times, we finally and gracelessly saunter out of bed, sighing as we abandon the covers left in a warm heap. another day of work. another day of being married.
this is the reality of “civil union,” and yet it defines my bliss – to have someone to cook with and for, to emerge from singleness and individualistic tendencies and realize that sometimes it simply is better to have a default running, sleeping, church-going, tv-watching, shopping, happy hour companion. i even have someone to get mad at, to practice the acts of apology and forgiveness with, to exercise our calling in the world – to love another as you love yourself, to be willing to lay down your life for another, in acts of pure and necessary selflessness.
only with him do i share my utter disappointments and sheer hopes – without fearing laughter, judgment or abandonment as a response. i cannot conceal any part of me not only because it is expected we give our natural selves to the other, but because of our living arrangement. where can i go when upset? less than fifty feet away. and how long before we are forced to bump paths? not more than 15 minutes.
the arguments that do come in the first year almost always revolve around miscommunication. my advice (whether dating or otherwise): always share your plans early on, as soon as you know them. call when you’ll be home (or elsewhere) late. call when your call is not expected! don’t make promises you can’t keep, and expect accountability when you do it anyway. be considerate and compassionate, and always be willing to reverse the situation in your mind at any given time to gain perspective.
so the daily married life isn’t at all like the honeymoon – or is it? i remember arguing on the beach in maui not 72 hours after our “big day,” something to do with not knowing how the other person wanted to spend another day in paradise because they wouldn’t speak up! comical, but realistic. married life will not always be romantic, full of flowers and sunsets and love letters, and that is the good news, because you are forced to find beauty and joy in the perfectly normal.
always seek out the one you are with. never stop searching for where they are at, where they want to be, where they are headed, so that you can walk alongside their journey. and they will do likewise for you. know what makes them strong, confident and content and give that to them. never stop exploring the possibilities of what two intersected lives can accomplish together.
know each other, and your first year of marriage will be as enjoyable as the rest to come.
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