We are coming up on ONE year of marriage. We aren't experts in marriage, aren't striving to be, and won't ever be. Marriage is different for every couple who share in this amazing unity. What we think of marriage and what works for us could be completely different for you. That is the beauty of it all.
What we ARE striving to do is to grow closer to each other, to God, and to continously work on OUR marriage. Listed below are some things we have learned about our marriage in the past year and we wanted to share it with you:
You'll see through this blog we have taken our ideas and somewhat thrown them together. Conrad's thoughts are in black print.
Samantha's thoughts are in blue print.
About 6 months into our marriage, I began to sit under the counsel of one of the strongest and wisest men I know. Conversations I shared with this mentor have rescued me from so much heartache and brought us immeasurable joy.
Were I to list with you all of the numerous nuggets of wisdom I have gleaned from my mentor, this post would be obnoxiously long. So here are 3 of my favorites..
1)Chaos is normal.....and OK.
In all dimensions of life in this world, chaos is normal. But this is especially true in marriage. Living life with another person from the opposite sex in such close quarters is messy, literally and figuratively. So much of my internal annoyances early in my marriage all stemmed from the fact that I wanted my life and our marriage to fit into a pretty little box with a ribbon on it. I wanted life to work on my terms. I want Samantha to always be delightful and cheery. I want the apartment to be spotless and orderly. I want to feel like I'm in total control of all aspects of my life. I want to be energetic and kick ass at work. I want to budget every stinkin penny of our money with precision and power. But as you can guess, reality almost never matches my divine expectations. Chaos is normal. And that's OK. In fact, its extremely good. It disrupts my perfectionism and releases a TON of pressure I put on myself. Embracing the constant chaos of life actually gives me permission to be myself--a dearly loved, favorite son of my Papa in Heaven.
2) "The worse she does, the better she's doing."
This is one of those pieces of gold that my mentor shared with me. And it completely transformed how I handle conflict and confrontation in marriage. My mentor explained that there is no reason to worry when Samantha gets extremely angry with me, or when she is emotional. This is actually a GOOD thing. When I first heard this it made no sense at all.
But he explained, "When Samantha attacks you or is rather animated with her emotions, this is gold. This shows that she feels safe. Women want to feel safe, they want to especially feel safe when they are at their wits end. Right now, shes testing the waters. With every conflict or outburst, her heart is asking this question: 'How much of me will you accept? How much of me can you really handle? 30%? 50%? Can you handle all of me at my very worst?' Thus, conflict and certain situations that arise, are not about solving the problem at hand, or saving the day. You don't have to be superman to Samantha. You just have to be present, and show her, time and time again, that you accept her and that her heart is safe with you."
This counsel is so holy. It has completely transformed our marriage, and me. I don't have to save the day, I just have to listen to her heart. I don't have to solve all the problems or 'figure it out', I just have to be present to Samantha.
3) It's all about unity.
Money. Sex. Work. Vacation. Exercise. Reading. Church. Family. All of these categories, in addition to the many more that married life has to offer, are all about one thing: Unity.
Our financial situation isn't about saving up for a down payment, or budgeting our money perfectly. It's about unity. It's about sharing life in this context, and pursuing a holy and rare context in our marriage--Two Becoming One. Its the Fathers original design and intent when it comes to marriage, and the more we step into this category of unity in different situations, the more life and joy we seem to stumble upon.
I have learned so much about Conrad and our marriage in this past year and I can't ever get them all down on paper but here is what I have so far.
1)This world has a sad and negative view of marriage. They blow off our romance and giddiness for each other by saying that we are just 'newlyweds' and that it will fade in the next few years. We absolutely refuse to let that happen. We have been together almost 8 years and we continue to cherish, romance, and enjoy our time together. Not only is our relationship the two of us, but we have our loving and guiding Jesus who is constantly with us. He is always showing us that our time on earth is nothing compared to eternity together. I want to pray for Conrad and show him Jesus's love every day and I know he desires to do the same. So when I am having a bad day and he brings me flowers, it is not us being newlyweds, it is Conrad sharing Jesus's heart and love with me. When Conrad is dealing with a lot and I write him a note to just remind him how much he is cherished and adored, that is not us being 'newlyweds' it is me extending God's love to him.
We will continue to do this no matter the cost and I guess if it is viewed by the world as being 'newlyweds' then I really hope we never stop being newlyweds.
2) Conflict is okay. When we lean into God and what He is saying about us the exaggeration of conflict is diminished and a new light is shined when trouble arises. The devil is constantly waiting for conflict to break out so he can exaggerate it and separate our thoughts, and ultimately us. When we think negative thoughts about our spouse it is the devil sneaking into our minds and twisting whatever just happened. The sooner we realized this the quicker our fights and arguments turned into discussions and appreciation of one another. We are two different people, who think and do completely different things. There are going to be times where we disagree. Conflict begins to bring us closer to one another when we remember to disagree with respect and unfailing love.
Marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done. It's also been the best thing I've ever done.