Marriage | Year One
I've been married for a year now, which I'm pretty sure makes me a marriage expert. Right? No? That's not how that works? Oh. Well, darn. But let me tell you what I know and offer my wisdom who anyone who might want some insider tips:
1. Marriage is awesome! You get to be with you best friend ALL the time! It's a never ending sleepover and it's amazing! Enjoy it.
2. It's important to have a solid foundation BEFORE you get married. Josh and I dated for four years before we got married and we went through a lot in those four years. A LOT. We went through things that should have broken us apart, things that almost did break us apart. We went through long distances, doubts, questions, fears, heartbreak, death, and almost everything else you can think of, as well as a ton of joy, happiness, adventure, and crazy love. And ALL of that helped us to grow in love, faith, God, trust, friendship, grace, and humility which created the unshakeable foundation on which we made our marriage vows. I know that there are plenty of amazing people who have amazing marriages who dated for a lot shorter periods of time and that's awesome. But based off of our experience, I can tell you that my advice to all my nieces and any future children I might have will be to "Take your time, don't rush, build the foundation. It'll be worth it."
3. Fights happen. Little fights, big fights, epic blowups. They happen. Yes, even to Josh and I. And IT'S OKAY! It's healthy. It's awesome. Okay, sometimes it's not awesome but it is healthy as long as you are both working towards a solution and not just being mean to each other. Josh and I had a pretty big fight about egg salad sandwiches. (Yeah. I know. Egg salad sandwiches?! Right.) It was a pretty intense argument that ended in a thundering silence. Josh had been working a CRAZY schedule and we hadn't gotten any quality time together at all and I was miserable. So, dramatically in tears (naturally) I went to Josh and told him that I didn't want to spend what little time we had together fighting over egg salad. He smiled, pulled me into his arms, and agreed. BOOM. That was it. Fight over, happiness restored. So let those fights happen when they need to happen but don't let them ruin your time together, don't fight to be mean, be willing to go to your spouse and say "Hey, let's not fight about this." Trust me, it works.
4. Learn. It is so important to LEARN in marriage. Learn how to listen, how to fight, how to problem solve, how to agree, how to forgive, and how to seek forgiveness. Things change when you get married and your relationship needs to change and grow with you so be willing to learn what you need to do to adjust for that growth. The other day some plans we had made changed and Josh was the one that was dealing with it. A year ago, he would have just made the new plans without consulting me, told me late, and I would have been upset about being left out of the planning and would have thrown a fit, refusing to go with what had been decided and Josh would be mad at me for not being flexible. Drama. THIS TIME however, Josh took two seconds to tell me about the proposed changes and asked me if the new plan was okay. I instantly replied "Yes, that's great". BOOM. The plans were made, nobody was upset, and we were also able to recognize this amazing moment of growth and maturity that we had we reached. It might sounds silly, but it was a pretty big milestone in our relationship and we might have high-fived.
5. Take a budgeting class. DO IT! Now, go sign up before you even finish reading this. Back? Okay good, let me tell you, you will not regret it. Josh and I were gifted the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class by Dan and DoRe' and it was the BEST gift a newlywed had ever received. Money is a touchy subject and combining finances can be tricky but with FPU, it's so much easier! And simple. And awesome! Josh and I took the class in October of 2013 and since then we have paid off over 60% of all our debt (excluding the house mortgage),we have NO new debt since then, we have a substantial emergency fund in place, and we have a monthly budget every month that keeps us on track! We recommend this class to every single person we know and I will sing it's praises till I can't sing anymore. Both of us are so grateful that we took this class we couldn't be more excited about the progress we have made on our debt and the work we've done to accomplish our goals.
6. Also, marriage is AWESOME! Oh, I already said that? Well, being married really is that awesome that I needed to say it again. Sometimes life gets hard, but you're married to your best friend, so life can't ever be that bad. :)