The beginning of our marriage was filled with lots of changes. Of course, the biggest change was being married and learning what it was like to live together, but those first few months also brought new jobs for both of us. And David’s new job at the hospital had him working night shifts.
So less than two months after saying ‘I do’, my husband and I had completely opposite schedules. Less than ideal circumstances for newlyweds, right? Yes, but we made it work and were so thankful for the opportunities the Lord was providing us.
Those months of opposite schedules (thankfully he switched to day shifts about four months later!) were filled with all the learning that comes along with being newly married, and taught me that any expectations I had about marriage needed to be laid aside.
Every marriage looks different, every couple’s story and circumstances are different. While I wouldn’t want to tell girls to have “low expectations”, I would say to have REALISTIC expectations about some things, and everything else you will figure out along the way.
I absolutely love being married to David. He is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and I am his biggest fan. For us, there is nothing sweeter than doing life together. We love to explore new places, run away to the coast whenever possible, and spend evenings snuggled up with ice cream and our favorite show. Just being together is the sweetest thing. When you get to tackle every day with your best friend, it is a very special thing.
During our engagement, I didn’t read any marriage books. At times I felt like maybe I should be, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Books are great, don’t get me wrong. It was a busy season for me, though, and reading was definitely pushed to the side for a while.
But I was surrounded by wonderful, godly women in all different stages of marriage. Some married nearly 50 years, others less than ten. Talking with those women and hearing their stories and perspectives made me feel like I had a good grasp on how marriage would work.
There have been many differences in our marriage (and some similarities!), because we are different people. And I have to remind myself of that sometimes, if I start to compare my husband to my friend’s husbands, or our marriage to theirs.
While there are so many wonderful women and couples out there modeling great marriages, it is important to not get caught up in trying to be just like someone else. That is something that applies not just to marriage, obviously, but I can see it happening to me sometimes. Each marriage and family is unique, so take advice from others, but ultimately, you have to figure out and do what is best for you and your husband.
There is so much good stuff in marriage.
One of my favorite parts of the day is climbing into bed at night, cuddling together and talking about funny things that happened during our days. Sometimes it is less funny stuff, and more a listening role as the other talks through something that is bothering them, or has been hard for them that day.
It brings me such comfort knowing I always have a confidant in David. No matter if it is a silly little thing or something much more serious that I’m struggling with, he is always ready to listen and lovingly comfort me, give me advice or sound reason. I am so thankful to have found a man that loves me so well.
He continues to love me well, even during this new and hard season we are currently walking through. I hear so many people say the first year is the hardest, but honestly, it wasn’t. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and there were hard conversations and situations we navigated through, but it really was such a wonderful year. Right now though, is definitely the hardest season we have faced. David is in the middle of nursing school, which makes for long days and homework/studying filled weekends.
On top of that, we just welcomed our first baby into the world! She came three weeks after he started his second semester of school. Ellie has been the most wonderful, joyful addition to our family, and we are over-the-moon excited to be her parents.
But it has been hard, for me to not have my husband available as much, and for him because he wants to be with us more. I do my best to be gracious and loving as he spends hours and whole days at the table doing homework, but sometimes it gets overwhelming to have this tiny person that I feel like I’m the only one able to care for her.
We are figuring it out, though, and communication has been key (isn’t it always? Haha). Taking it one day at a time, I try my best to not let any bitter feelings well up inside, and if they start to, explaining them to David helps me to see if they are rational or not. He is tender and loving, listening and helping me navigate the flood of emotions that has come with this season of life.
I thought I loved him when we first got married, but each day I truly am amazed at how I love him even more. It used to sound almost silly when I heard people say they loved their significant other more than when they first met, but it didn’t take very long after getting married for me to completely understand that feeling.
It is not a perfect love, or a perfect relationship, because we are all imperfect humans. And I believe love is a choice. But choosing to love someone is a beautiful, powerful thing. It’s also not an easy thing; it comes with heartache and sacrifice. But it also brings an overflowing amount of joy.
Marriage has shown me in a close-up way how much better life can be when we put the needs of others before our own. That’s not something that comes naturally to most of us, it has to be worked at. But isn’t it so rewarding when you see others feeling loved?
And this isn’t just something that applies to marriage; I think it will help me greatly in this new journey of motherhood, too. And it has already helped me to be a better friend. Because marriage is kind of like the biggest friendship, don’t you think? It’s a partnership, you and your best friend, building a life together. It is the greatest adventure, and oh so rewarding.