It’s hard to believe it has been almost one year since saying, “I Do.” People always say that the years go by so quickly and I can attest to how true this statement is. It seems like just yesterday we were planning the day, crafting all of the DIY projects, selecting cupcake flavors and counting down the days to June 25th.
It’s amazing how so much time can be spent planning one day when the reality is, the majority of the effort and energy deserves to be spent on planning the marriage itself.
Needless to say, being married to my true best friend has been one of the greatest gifts I could have ever been given yet this new season has pushed me to grow in more ways than I ever thought possible. Transition alone is challenging, but when combined with the loss of a loved one, it can intensify the process of change and the emotions that come with it. However, in the midst of change, loss and dealing with grief, while also celebrating a new season of life, I can say that God’s timing is so perfect. He knew what and whom I needed at such a pivotal time in my life.
Looking back at the past 12 months I wanted to highlight some of the lessons I’ve learned that have meant the most to me. If you’re married I encourage you to do the same, list all of the ways your spouse has been a blessing to your life and how you’ve grown because of them. If you’re single and desire to be married, I hope there is something highlighted in the words penned that will encourage you, as you believe in faith for your spouse!
1) It’s not about me
Prior to getting married I read so many books on the preparation process and countless articles on being the Proverbs 31 woman and so on. While I HIGHLY encourage pre-marital council and resources, the truth of the matter is, the crash course of learning will only come when you are united as one. I thought I could just enter into marriage and “suddenly” we would become one. Ha-ha! Not exactly the case. Becoming one is a process of combining the best and worst of you are, all of it! All the while you have to trust God to shape you into what He desires for your new life as a couple.
This gal right here was 37 years old when she got married and had a lot of UN-learning to do and I still yet more to do. Having been single for so long I developed a pattern of life that worked for me but marriage involves two and there is no room for selfishness in marriage. The balance to this is to prefer one another while not losing yourself in the process. Being married doesn’t mean you lose your voice, but rather you have another one to blend with. A duet is beautiful when both parties know their notes and combine them in harmony.
2) God First Now and Always
At the very core of your marriage and your home should be Jesus. At our ceremony we played “Jesus At The Center of It All” during Communion and that really was the desire of my heart for our marriage. Whenever there is an absence of peace in our home I can always trace it back to an area where we’ve not made Jesus the priority in our decision-making. As for me, it’s usually when I respond in a selfish way and have chosen to not pray about it first. There’s a saying that states anything without a head would be considered a monster. If Jesus is not the head of the household, it makes for a scary scenario within the home.
3) Our Lives Are To Be An Example
This life is not about perfection but as believers it does require us to do our best to set an example. God’s first establishment on the earth was a marriage and then a family. The marriage covenant is to be a reflection of Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. Our lives should indicate who and what we live for. The most important set of eyes watching besides God is a precious young lady within our home who I have the honor of calling daughter. The weight of being an example to and for her is heavy. It is our responsibility to her to show God’s love demonstrated in our home. Is it always on target? No. But I ask God for wisdom in the areas where I’m still learning and grace to make up the difference where I or we have fallen short.
4) Friendship First
Before I got married and believed God for my spouse, my sister told me, “Marry your friend. There will be times in your marriage that you will be angry at your spouse but you’ll be able to work through it because he is your true friend.” I’ve never forgotten those words. Sometimes I look at Marc and in my heart, I whisper, “God, thank you for my friend.” I choke up when I think about this because the Bible tells us that a friend loves at ALL times. My husband has seen the best of me and over the course of these 12 months at such a tender time in my life he’s seen the very worst of me and loved me just the same.
The existence of my love for Marc grew from a seed of such pure friendship and from the overflow of that seed I now have a marriage I’m so grateful for.
5) Letting Go Of “How It Should Be”
When entering the first year of marriage there is often an expectation of how it should go and what it should look like. What I expected looked nothing like what I was experiencing. During the holidays when you’re supposed to be your happiest planning the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first New Year’s I was dealing with grief and doing my best to just keep a smile on my face and not burst into tears at any given moment.
I was bombarded by people with the sweetest of intentions asking if I was excited for my “first” of anything holiday related even through Valentine’s Day as a newlywed. I would politely smile but cry on the inside and then honestly I resented the fact that I didn’t feel that excitement like I had expected I would. The answer was no, I was not excited I was hurting. It’s okay to say that. It doesn’t make me less of a Christian it simply shows my need of God’s healing power and His loving care in all seasons of life.
Letting go of how I thought things should be or expectations allowed me to see God’s faithfulness to me and repositioned my focus on all He has provided. I remembered the beauty of Mom’s transition, the souls she pointed to Christ, the fact I was able to be with her and the peace she had! I remembered how God granted her the ability to be present for my wedding and she witnessed one of her prayers fulfilled. I remembered that I wasn’t alone…God gave me a partner to share this season with.
I realized the fairytale of marriage doesn’t come in a box that you unwrap the minute you say, “I do.” This so called “fairytale,” which I like to refer to as a testimony rather, is the journey you create along the way by allowing God to write your story.
Letting go of what “should be” gave God the room necessary for His will to be accomplished.
6) Keep It Simple
The greatest of joys in our marriage are moments we steal from the schedule to go get coffee or watch “This Is Us.” There are times that should include special celebrations and date nights but keeping it simple has afforded us the opportunity to focus on what’s really important, each other. One night my husband randomly asked me if I wanted to get coffee. My reply is always a yes when it pertains to coffee. As we drove around in his truck drinking coffee we saw fireworks on the way home and he joked saying this was his plan all along, that the firework show was planned just for us on the way home. I’m pretty sure Disney didn’t plan their firework show around our impromptu date but I’ll let him have the points and take the credit. This may have been one of my best moments as a wife. Nothing fancy, just coffee, a truck and us (oh yeah… and the fireworks he planned).
There are more lessons to be learned and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunity to share. There was a time I prayed for what I have today. God is faithful in all walks of life and answered prayers never eliminate the need for Him, it just brings about new areas for us to stretch our faith for and allow His faithfulness to shine!
PS- Happy 1st Anniversary, Mr. Williams- I’m honored to be your Mrs.
Photo Credit: Omar Galarza June 2016