In about a week, my husband and I will notch our second anniversary.
Truthfully, the first two years were WAY easier than I expected. However, I’m pretty sure that’s because I went into marriage thinking, “THE FIRST FEW YEARS ARE GOING TO BE REALLY TERRIBLE AND HARD.”
I guess low expectations really worked out for me, huh?
That being said, there were still many learning opportunities! Here are five of the biggest things that I learned during our newlywed years.
1. It’s not easy to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Once upon a time, I thought I was an honest person. Then I got married.
It’s not that I spout lies left and right. But I do have a tendency to shy away from the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Because frankly, it’s easier to say that I’m fine than it is to unpack why I feel hurt, disappointed or irritated. It’s easier to HIDE and nurse resentment.
That’s why early on in our marriage, we decided to promise each other that we would always tell the truth. That means what we say is what we mean. There are no hidden meanings.
Digging into the truth–that’s tough stuff, and I’m still learning how to do it, day by day, moment by moment.
2. Marriage is more about friendship than romantic, warm feelings of love.
At least, that’s been my experience. David is my absolute favorite person in the whole world. I have no idea what I would do without him.
But if I’m being honest (see above!), I don’t have warm, fuzzy feelings every time I think about him. There aren’t butterflies whenever he walks into a room. I don’t melt every single time he touches me. Those things are there sometimes, but not ALWAYS. Not EVERY TIME. EVERY DAY. EVERY WAKING MOMENT.
In our marriage, love has looked a lot more like friendship and companionship than those warm, fuzzy feelings. We spend time together, talk together, laugh together and share average-person adventures.
So that, to me, reminds me more of friendship than the fuzzy feelings I once thought marriage would be all about. A very, very INTENSE friendship that is closer and more intimate than any other friendship. ::insert smile here::
3. A budget can change EVERYTHING.
Joining your finances with another person’s finances can be HARROWING, to say the least.
Thankfully, David was set on us having a budget before we got married. And I, well, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea.
DEAR GOODNESS, I AM GLAD WE DID THAT.
Especially if you’ve been single and independent for a few years, it can be awkward to combine finances with someone else. If you don’t sit down and prioritize spending TOGETHER, I truly don’t know how you survive the first year of marriage without many, many fights about money.
While what was mine was his, I needed a plan–aka a budget–to help me adjust to that. Plus, it helped us work together as a team to pay down debt and set other financial goals. We ended up paying off more than $60,000 in debt because of our budget!
And let me tell you, it’s been great to work as a team to pay off debt and set new financial goals!
4. Good sex is a journey, not a destination.
I am overwhelmingly grateful that my husband and I waited for marriage to have sex for many, many reasons.
But if you go into your marriage thinking the first time you have sex is going to be this incredibly pleasurable and perfect experience, well, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
It absolutely can be precious and wonderful. It can even be (dare I say it?) sacred.
If you’re just starting out, though, don’t set expectations for the honeymoon to be THE EPITOME OF GOOD SEX. Approach it as a journey instead.
In the words of one author and speaker, sex is a lot like LEGOs. It takes building before you have the amazing model shown on the front of the box.
5. My husband and I will always be different. And that’s a good thing!
Because really, if I were married to myself, I WOULD LOSE MY MIND.
Both of us have strengths and weaknesses that, when in contact with each other, can help us to become more like Christ. All relationships offer that opportunity to extend grace and forgiveness, accept truth and to grow.
But at the end of the day, my husband was created by God, and it’s important that I honor the differences between our personalities, genders and upbringings. Otherwise, I accept the lie that my personality and actions are “right” and his are “wrong.”
I realized this early on in our marriage; it’s been driven home a bit more deeply of late. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to understand that your spouse is not you.
While it is not unfair to ask David to grow emotionally and spiritually, it is unfair to expect him to act exactly like I do when his actions are a result of personality and gender, and are in no way sinful.
I can’t believe it’s already been almost two years together. Honestly, it’s been the most wonderful two years of my life.
Crazy, difficult at times, frustrating and painful. But also heartbreakingly beautiful, full of joy and truly a gift.
Funny, that’s true of all relationships where true love is present. Aren’t they all heartbreakingly beautiful?
What lessons have you learned in your close friendships or marriage?
Do you have any other questions about what marriage is like the first few years?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions! Please share any of them below!
Photo courtesy of Tawanda Faye Photography–https://www.tawandafayephotography.com.