June 3, 2016
We celebrate a ridiculous amount of small things. We just do! Sam’s older brother even poked fun at that in his Best Man’s speech at our wedding and we didn’t even realize that it was iconic to us until he said it. By celebrate, I mean that we acknowledge the day and make it a point to hug, kiss, dance, compliment each other for whatever that accomplishment or passing of a trial may be. Although hardly elaborate things, but we carve out time and make each other feel celebrated.
Let me be the first to say that we don’t know everything. Being married for 1000 days by no means makes us experts (in fact, we are no where close!) but here are Quick Five things that were great lessons in our first sprint of living together and being hitched.
Year #1 we learned that LIFE (not marriage) is the hard work.
It was such a downer when we were engaged for people to say to us “Marriage is hard work.” How is that uplifting to say? We should stop saying that because that phrase sounds like marriage is dreadful and naggy… and honestly it sounded exhausting when it’s not.
Paying bills, fumbling at figuring out what we wanted to even do with our careers and therefore often job-hopping, running youth ministry , and moving away from our hometown and families to establish ourselves – all of those typical and unavoidable life struggles… that is what I would have classified as hard work. Compared to that, marriage is the sweet part of life – I come home every day to Sam who has vowed to love me regardless of how much I mess up which gives me the freedom to relax. Having someone fighting in your corner and a companion to get through absolutely anything and everything is the best thing ever.
I said HECK YES when Sam proposed knowing that my life would be so much more fun and full-filing with him on lock down for good!
We learned that Marriage wasn’t for us.
No, not in the way you think! But by that I mean that you have to live selflessly in marriage. The best thing we learned was that if we each work on making the other one a priority and putting their happiness above our own, the other one returns that same love.
Marriage isn’t about me improving my own life – it’s about improving his.
This only works because we are both living by that same motto. Until we both dove into that mindset, we had some stupid fights. One night after a fight, Sam came to bed where I was pouting and he read me his wedding vows from a little piece of paper where he kept them in his wallet. I can only assume that I got mad at Sam for something petty which blew up, and then I started second guessing if this was the life I wanted. After listening to his vows again and seeing that he kept them close, I realized how I was really being a terd. He could have responded with the same cold shoulder as I had given him a million times for millions of immature reasons, but instead he chose to show me an outpouring of love. The only hard part of marriage (so far for me) is being less selfish. This called for compromises on both sides which we make alterations to all the time.
Remain in the mindset that “I vowed for this to be my forever marriage and I will not give up.”
The only time I talk about divorce is jokingly when I say to Sam that I’ll leave him if he doesn’t trim his nose hairs. We take our vows really seriously. (Not kidding. In front of 200 of our friends and family, I vowed that I would never poop with the door open and I have 100% kept that vow as well as the rest.) Life gets hard and then relationships/marriages suffer. I get that. We’ve had a baby appetizer of that. Our mindset that we are a permanent team was a choice and a promise we made to each other. Therefore being open about how divorce will never be on the table is how we survive. In our heads we are thinking “Okay, here is the present struggle…now how can we love each other well through it?” Last blueberry bagel? Let’s split it.
Year #2 we learned the most valuable lesson: Go with the flow.
We moved in 2014 and had to immediately find new jobs…I found one, Sam didn’t. For about a year we scraped pennies and Sam went back to school to learn UX / UI design for Designing Apps up in Washington D.C, while I held the fort down in Richmond, Virginia. We were HUGE babies with separation anxiety, but during that transitional season of our lives we learned how to be grounded with undivided teamwork EVEN with curveball after curveball. Sam’s car decided to BURST into flames, my dad got cancer, I was pulling grey hairs out left and right at my hostile day job, we were long distance, in mild debt, and we were growing a small business. Life felt heavy.
We learned how to make the most of weekends and stretch our pennies. I learned how brilliant Sam is with budgeting. Somehow we even had money left over to tour Iceland for 11 days and also to funnel money into savings every month. Instead of fighting the current we were kinda drowning in, we held onto each other and our faith.
Lastly, we learned to continue to always celebrate the positives and to remain thankful for them.
There is so much negativity you can allow yourself to be consumed by. If you face a crummy situation, pull out the weeds and point your perspective in a joyful and downright celebratory manner. You’ll be so much happier in general.
Life has been hard, but marriage has honestly been a blast and even though we faced some less than ideal seasons, it was amazing. Our families and friends have loved us and encouraged us with kindness and generosity and we are so thankful.
Again, we merely know 1000 day’s worth of marital knowledge. Which in retrospect is next to nothing. But we are in it together and today for a silly reason to some, we will celebrate. Tonight we are celebrating our small victory of 1000 days by rolling the car windows down and turning the music up, Donuts in hand… because its a also National Donut Day. 🙂
Images by Tara Liebeck Photography (2013)