Updated: Sep 22, 2020
I have been married to my husband, Hector, for 2 years now (our anniversary is 07/06/2018). It feels like a lifetime ago because we have experienced a lot together in a small amount of time: a lot of good, a lot of bad, but mostly a lot of ugly. People are always saying "the first year is tough," but, frankly, that's the understatement of the century. "Tough" is a brisk walk compared to what we have endured and the only reason we have survived is because we are intentionally making God the center of our marriage.
I'll give you a brief rundown of just some of the things we have tackled since our Big Day: Hector was hit by a car on his bike ride to work twice in one month, which followed with him being out of work for almost 5 months. His disability never came through, making us late on rent more than once, which our landlord didn't appreciate (even though she knew our situation). We had to give away our dog, who was sadly more of a burden than a delight. Intense and emotionally painful fights late at night and early in the morning became the norm. Sex was almost non-existent certain weeks. I was mourning being away from my parents and my lack of precious space, going to school full time, and working part time, which altogether was putting me into spouts of depression Hector didn't quite understand. I was also dealing with Hector's struggle with mental health. I wasn't exactly thrilled with where we lived (& still live), but it was all we could afford, and that made Hector feel he wasn't doing his part in providing for me. And on top of all of this, I was officially a step-mom, navigating how to partially raise a then 6 year old girl who isn't mine (but who I absolutely love and adore) and also having her in our space, making our one bedroom apartment seem even smaller than it already felt.
That's just a short list, because I know I'm forgetting things, which is probably for the best at this point. It's not healthy to dwell on the past, especially if forgiveness has taken place. However, there are many painful things that go on in the first couple years of marriage that couples just don't talk about. I don't know why. Maybe it's too painful. Maybe they think they're alone in it all and don't want to confirm that by sharing their experience with others. Whatever the reason may be, I'm here to say yes, it's painful, but you are not alone. I know that what we have been through is nothing compared to other newlyweds, and some newlyweds don't face any major hardships at all. Either way, I am grateful because at the end of the day I know what I have in my husband and in my marriage. But I am also not going to keep my experiences to myself. To be frank, I think it's a little selfish. Unless it's deeply personal, I think these life events should be discussed. There's comfort in knowing you aren't the "only one".
The bible also tells us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping (Romans 12:15 NKJV). Fellowship with other married couples is crucial in the first couple years. I say that because the small group we were involved in helped us tremendously. It forced us to look at ourselves and be honest about certain behaviors that were just downright ungodly. Sometimes we would be having the gnarliest fight on the drive to small group, but once we arrived we were forced to move past it and would even bring up what we were fighting about to gain some perspective from our married friends. It was also helpful and humbling to hear about the things they struggled with. It comes back to feeling less alone, more understood, and then being able to tackle our problems with God's Word is just the maraschino cherry on top (real cherries are gross, sorry) on this marriage sundae.
As I said at the beginning of this post, no matter what cement wall we've hit in our marriage, we went to the Lord together and individually to help break it down. He is our center, our foundation, and the main reason we still choose each other everyday. Love is a CHOICE and an ACTION. It is not merely a feeling. Actively loving your spouse also means actively forgiving your spouse and giving endless grace. It is harrrrdddd work, but my gosh is it worth it. Remember, marriage is a direct representation of the relationship between God and His church: the Body of Christ. We are His bride. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves His church and wives are called to submit to their husbands just as we are called to submit to the Lord. Submission is not, and I repeat, NOT an act of full-blown dependency/enslavement/becoming a robot wife. The world needs to stop chiming in on something they know nothing about. Submission is TRUST. When we submit to our husbands, we are TRUSTING them, as the head of the household, to follow God and lead your family spiritually and biblically (1 Peter 3:5-6 NKJV). Wives are also called to be meek. Meekness means to withhold strength; to be gentle, and to speak wisdom and kindness (Proverbs 31:26, 1 Peter 3:4 NKJV). If you are a wife and think these are bad qualities to have, then you've got some serious bible-reading to do, and hopefully you value what God has to say. His standard of marriage is the standard, anyway. I'm not judging. I understand you because I struggled with that wholeheartedly, and still do. I'm also telling you (lovingly) that you are in the wrong and it's time for a change of heart.
There will be plenty of posts in the future about my marriage experience, but this one is kind of an intro/rundown before the in-depth stuff. Marriage is nooooo joke. It's not easy. But with God in the middle, you can overcome anything. If you are both pursuing God, you will in-turn pursue one another. It's pretty rad, honestly. Marriage is also rad, too. I'm married to my best friend, who is super handsome, forever and ever! It's like an endless sleepover, right babe? (He probably won't even read this *eye roll* ha!)
To wrap this up: you are not alone. Marriage is hard, but worth it. Put Christ at the center and you can take on the world together, both literally and spiritually (especially right now because the world is dark and crazy).
Sincerely + with love,