I write today about our anniversary yesterday, because, well, I just had no time yesterday to do this. Not that it matters, but I’m somewhat sentimental about dates and such. Regardless, I couldn’t pass up a chance to record some thoughts about my first year of marriage.
It’s hard to believe that a year has come and gone. The time with Gina seems so natural and the norm. Not to say the novelty is wearing off, but that the novelty is standard in the sense that I cannot imagine my life apart from this way of living it. Gina and I are so perfectly designed for each other that it doesn’t make any sense to think of our lives apart from each other. We’ve spent very little time apart this last year – intentionally. That’s just how we want it. And that’s because when we are together we are satisfied.
I know my wife better now. I’ve experienced a different season of life with her than before we were married. Being newlyweds brought its own opportunities for success and failure. I think that I anticipated more success than failure – and so it has been. But the failures have caught me off guard. What did I struggle with most in being her husband? I’d have to say my consistency in what matters to her. As it worked out, I spent a great deal of time cleaning, cooking, and remodeling this last year. And every minute of it was satisfying in that I was able to serve my wife and take chores off of her to-do list. But I got focused on those things as being my love towards her. So when she came to me with concerns that I was getting bored with her – I was shocked, and angry. How could she say that when I was slaving away at serving her and our home?
Well, because it wasn’t her primary love language. I knew that, but I guess I had convinced myself that what she needed more were the acts of service. Don’t get me wrong, she always thanked me and told me who grateful she was for those. But they still weren’t the heart of what she needed. That took me more than a few days of wrestling with God to accept that I might have to slave away at chores AND go over and above in addressing her love languages. Pride was my constant companion when these issues came up. “Did she really just say that to me? Does she not know how much I’ve done around this house lately? I tell her multiple times a day that I love her! She’s just being overly-emotional…” And the lies and complaining went on and on inside my head. Those were small refining moments when I was given the opportunity as Mahaney would say, “to weaken pride and cultivate humility.”
And so the Lord has refined me as a husband and a man in giving me ample room to deny myself and lay down my life for her. Paradoxically, doing that both refreshes me and drains me. The refreshing is so very good. After a day of loving her well, I feel deeply connected to her. When she falls asleep in my arms, perfectly safe and content because of my love towards her that day, there is no greater sense of manly accomplishment that I could feel. But along with that is a very good fatigue. My flesh is starving (which is good) and therefore my spirit is in a wonderful position to hear from the Lord (which is very good). It’s the same pattern Christ started (minus the fighting off sin part). It only makes sense now to see it played out.
Our good times have been so very very good. We love laughing together and being silly. Gina is a master agitator when she’s in a giggly mood. We’ve learned how to pick on each other in a funny way without hurting feelings. I love watching my wife laugh uncontrollably until tears are streaming down her face. (Side note: why do we cry when we laugh?) We’ve tried to get out and away as much as possible. We’ve tried to be intentional with our weeknights together. We’ve watched a few tv series together. We’re working through the Bible and a study on the couples of the Bible. We’ve continued to struggle to find a church to settle down into.
Gina has constantly encouraged me and supported me. She pushed me to strap these unbelievably difficult braces on my teeth (though I know how blessed I am to have them). She pushed me to start seminary. She’s pushed me to continue practicing art and music. She supports my work ethic and beliefs. I love this woman more than I could ever say. She is a perfect source of motivation for me.
So all in all our first year has been very good. We have been richly blessed. We have been lavished in God’s love. Every time I come across a verse in Isaiah or Psalms that talks about the Lord taking His children from the desert to a lush garden of life, I smile and praise Him for doing that with us. We are in a season of abundance, growth, life, and joy. I will cherish this as long as the Lord lays it before us.
Oh and…. we made a baby too. 🙂 ETA: February 2016.
(Note: this post was made public after our general announcement)