When people ask how marriage is going the only words that come close to doing it justice is, It’s the best adventure I’ve ever been on! Kevin and I have been married for a little over 9 months now and its so sad how fast time is flying past us, but it’s also been the most fun, so it’s no wonder that it seems to be flying by.
But what you don’t see is what has taken place on the inside during this big life change. Today I’m speaking only for myself as a wife and the things I didn’t expect to learn the hard way. This is written from my position of not having lived with Kevin until we were married and all the change that happened from the second we said, “I do.”
The first thing I didn’t expect to struggle with in marriage is being intentional with time.
I thought that being married meant Kevin and I would be together all time. When we first got married, I was working full time in ministry and I had late nights almost every night of the week. I barely saw Kevin during the first 3 months of marriage. It was usually rushed mornings and me walking in right before bed only to do it all over again when we woke up the next morning. It was not balanced. I was not okay and I knew it was time for a big change.
We now live in a way more convenient city. Our jobs are 10 minutes at most from our home and we have nights and weekends together. What a gift! But time is still my worst enemy. We have more time together and now we have to learn how to use it. If we aren’t careful, we will spend 3 hours in our night watching movies or on our phones being totally checked out from one another. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to order a pizza after a long day and watch Lord of the Rings and turn off your brain, but that can’t be every day.
So knowing how to make time for spending time with Jesus, getting my alone time I need, giving Kevin his alone time, spending quality time together and being productive and getting the necessary things done is a battle I’m still fighting. Planning a weekly date night has been super important for us, setting up a weekly work out schedule, having 1 or 2 cleaning days, and then some days where we can go fishing or go hang out with friends has been so good for our marriage. Being intentional with the time in our days can either make or break us as individuals.
The second thing I didn’t expect in marriage is the change in my friendships.
This one was really hard for me to swallow. I’ve shared a little bit about this before, but before marriage, my life was pretty compartmentalized. I had work in one box, friends in another box that I’d spend time with during the weeks, and on weekends between work schedules, I’d squeeze in time with Kevin. Sundays being our big days of spending time together. It was so hard, but it worked for that season. I lived by myself and I could usually get some good alone time throughout my weeks. When I got married, I moved into the city and commuted to my job. I tried my hardest to still call my best friends that lived far away on my drives to and from work, I tried my hardest to come be a part of what my local friends had going on, but I ended up failing all of my sweet friends tremendously. You see, I didn’t have the capacity I once had to drop everything and be there for all the hang outs, facetimes and phone calls like I used to. I had to plan well in advance to come hang out since I lived a good half hour or more away. I literally only had my car rides to and from work alone and most of the time, I didn’t have the energy to call my friends like I used to. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t be the “old Ty” anymore. It was heartbreaking for me.
The most foolish thing I thought was that nothing had to change in my friendships once I got married. I fought it with everything I had, but knew I couldn’t possibly run the pace I used to and have a husband at the same time. It took a lot of prayer, creativity and setting new boundaries for both my marriage and my friendships to find balance again.
One of my most dear friends, sat with me in the midst of it all and we shared our hearts about how hard my life change had hit us. I hurt her, she hurt me, both unintentionally. From that point forward, we set new expectations for each other and gave an abundance of grace to one another for the days when we just can’t do it all. I’ll never forget the grace and the hard, but sweet truths of that conversation.
So my biggest take away from this struggle was that life is always changing, the depths of our friendships don’t have to, but we do need to bend and be prepared to understand that some things might look different in different seasons. And we need to talk about these changes so hurt doesn’t take place. It’s okay to struggle with change and feel awkward when you can’t be who you used to be. But let your friends know what is going on and come up with a realistic idea of what friendship might look like now.
I went to counseling during this time and my counselor told me, “if you aren’t changing you aren’t growing. Don’t shut off from the change and wish it wasn’t happening, go with it, grow with it and learn from it!”
The third thing I didn’t expect in marriage was that my words have power to destroy or build.
I am an external processor which means that I can’t just keep things in my head, but I have to talk them out in order to problem solve. Throughout dating and engagement, it was SO hard for me to learn that it’s okay to open up my heart to Kevin and let him in on things going on in my head. When we got married, I still battled that and ended up holding things in until I have a mini breakdown. I’m way more comfortable now with Kevin and I’ll vent about my work days, friendship stuff going on, and how I’m feeling on any given day. What I didn’t realize is, if I am not careful with my tongue, I could hinder Kevin’s view of a person or situation based on how much I vent. What a slippery slope! So I’m learning how to be open with Kevin about things, but also keep unnecessary things out of our conversations that could do more harm than good. I never want to paint a bad picture for my spouse. That’s not fair to him or to the situations I’m venting about.
Another thing I’ve learned about my tongue is that my words can seriously hurt. There was one night that I was feeling emotional and I was exhausted and I look over at Kev and tell him that I didn’t feel loved that night or the past week. I totally said it to grab his attention and to try to get him to be more intentional with me, but all it did was hurt him. I’ll never forget his face and the way that he explained how that makes him feel. I basically told him he had failed me that whole week, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Kevin is truly the greatest husband in the world! I was looking to Kev for what only Jesus could give me. I was feeling a gap in my heart because it hadn’t been postured towards Jesus because of my own distractions. It’s not Kevin’s job to make sure I “feel” loved, it’s his job to point me to Jesus every single day and to show me the love of Jesus. The love of Jesus isn’t a romantic love, it’s serving, it’s encouraging, it’s putting your loved one’s needs before yours, it’s speaking life and truth into one another. It’s about so much more than “feeling loved.”
The fourth thing I didn’t expect in marriage is exactly how much I would love life with Kevin.
Okay hear me out. I had high expectations for marriage, but pre-marriage jitters are real, y’all. I wasn’t nervous for our wedding day too much, but for the bigger picture. I worried about getting on each other’s nerves from being together all the time. I worried about Kev thinking I was ugly first thing in the morning. I was worried about not getting my space or giving him his. I remember climbing in my bed on Wednesday November 2, 2016, a little teary eyed. My friends were going to be coming in the next day for my bachelorette party and wedding weekend. For 25 years, it had been me and Jesus and going to sleep by myself every night. I am an introvert through and through, and I am not a fan of slumber parties, so going to sleep by myself has always been a joy. I remember thinking that this was it, I’ll never do this alone anymore. Life will never be the same. And you know what? I was right, it never has been the same. It’s been even greater. I can’t imagine going to sleep by myself anymore. In fact, I don’t want to! Life with Kevin is so fun, you guys. There truly aren’t enough hours in the day for all the time I want to keep making memories with him. I was afraid of all the change, yes, but I still walked forward in faith knowing it was good and a gift from above.
We love going on grand adventures. We love pulling up to an airport and strapping on our hiking boots. We love cooking together. We love watching the rain fall from our balcony. We love sitting in absolute silence doing nothing. We love going to church together or watching it online as we drink coffee. We love trying local coffee shops and meeting new people in our community. We try our very best to cherish every moment because every moment, no matter how big or small is with each other. I’m forever grateful for that.
Some people think marriage is just a piece of paper and that truly breaks my heart. Some people think that the peak in marriage is your wedding day. Guys it’s so much more! I think of it as a line that you finally get to walk past and everything changes. Your hearts are bound, your spirits connect in a way they never could have otherwise. You share dreams and desires even deeper. You feel a deeper love than you did before because this is the person you’re forever in a covenant with under Christ Himself. That is so powerful!
Kevin and I don’t have it all down, we never will and that is strangely comforting. We have so much more to learn and grown in, but we get to grow and run this race towards Jesus together! This is marriage. It’s messy, it’s beautiful and it’s holy. Thank you, Lord for what you’ve done. We are expectant for so much more!