It’s been years since we’ve had a “wedding” season in our lives, but this is one of those years where we will be attending a wedding every month from March – June. This time it's not our peers getting married, but those younger than us like past babysitters, and younger co-workers. I am beyond thrilled for these amazing couples, and know that God has big plans in store for each one. Just 2 weeks ago, Matt and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary and in just 2 weeks we will celebrate our 10 year dating anniversary. Yes, we celebrate both – each are a special milestone that should be celebrated individually. We try our hardest to “recreate” our very first date by eating at the same restaurant each year. I always love looking forward to that special night each year. It makes what happened a decade ago seem just like yesterday. I can still envision exactly what we each were wearing that night and how I ate guacamole for the first time because I didn’t want Matt to think I was a “wimpy” eater. HAHA – this still makes me laugh – guacamole is one of my favorite, must have food items now. We were so young back then, having a very fast-paced courtship that had us married before a full year of dating. Most couples today, are several years older than we were when we got married, but if I could tell my younger self anything about marriage I might tell myself this:
They say the first year is the hardest, but it doesn't have to be. Our first year of marriage was one of our greatest! Full of fun, adventure, first time adult decisions, and coming together as one.
Don’t rush on creating a family (but don’t delay for too long). If you know my story you know that I pushed for children several years before the original proposed plan made by both of us. My pushiness could have very easily created a fault-line in our relationship. Thankfully my husband was very patient and loving with me. Give yourself at least the first year to know who you are as a married couple before you venture down that path. However, don’t wait until it’s almost too late to have kids either, because if you also know my story you know that 5 years is a long time to wait for a vital pregnancy.
Pray together! Even if it feels unnatural at first, please just pray! This is part of growing together as one.If you can’t pray in front of your spouse, who can you pray in front of?
Pray for each other. Pray daily for your spouse. Pray for their protection, their health, their job, for God’s favor and blessing to be upon them. Pray for daily guidance and wisdom. Pray for their spiritual growth and walk with the Lord.
Don’t rush and wish the years away. We all start out small. Most of us start our in tiny apartments or dumpy rentals! Our first homes are usually not our last – that’s why they call them starter homes. You don’t start out the way your parents are finishing. It takes years to obtain all the great things our parents have. My parents made their way from food stamps to gorgeous homes and belonging over the course of 30+ years. Trust me, in time you will get there. It’s ok to have less than the rest of those around you. 10 years into our marriage and we still have some cheapo yard sale furniture and discount store pieces.
Pay off a vehicle and keep it! If I could go back I would have kept that little Ford Focus that I had almost paid off, even if it did make a weird sound after that wreck I was in. We have wasted so much money on trading, buying, and leasing multiple vehicles – we have our “forever until it dies” vehicle now, but oh how I wish we had been wiser.
Don’t compare your marriage or spouse to anyone else. This is huge! You married your husband or wife because of who they are – not because of who you want them to be. Comparison usually gets us no where in life, but stuck. You can avoid years of resentment (on both sides) if you leave the comparing at the door. If you want to change yourself to be better, that's great, but don’t force change on your spouse because you think someone else is better – besides, you never know what really goes on behind closed doors in others homes.
Continue to date – even after the kids are born. Dating is so important. It's important to continually get to know each other. To share your dreams that are probably ever-changing as your station in life changes. Get dressed up and have fun! Get creative with friends if babysitters are too expensive. Trade off for date nights so you don’t have to pay for childcare.
Don’t overbook your schedules. We have been known to over commit for good causes and the “Lord’s work”. Even when we were doing these things as a couple, we found ourselves drained. God first in the home, Family second, and everything comes after that as it can fit. Don’t get caught up in doing good risking your marriage in the process.
Lastly, seek godly mentors/good counsel. Have a couple that is ahead of you in life that you can depend on for advice and prayer. Don’t try to skate through this life alone. Godly counsel and wisdom from those your respect can take you far in your marriage. Don’t make decisions alone, without first seeking the wisdom of God and the wise counsel of those around you. Find a couple willing to take you in under their wings to share their story – who knows maybe they have learned the hard way for you on what not to do.
For my sweet friends getting married in the coming months – congratulations! We love each of you dearly and pray you find God’s strength to fight for your marriage daily. Love one another with the grace and mercy that God first loved you with, this will add years to your marriage – I am sure of it – we are proof of it.
Happy 9 and 10 year anniversaries to the love of my life!