In honor of today being me and my sweet Nate’s one year anniversary. We thought we would focus on three things that we learned before marriage and was able to try to implement them into our first year of marriage. Within the six months before we were married we did all kinds of things. We planned the wedding, we did marriage counseling, we read a few books about marriage, and listened to many men and women about their marriage experiences.
None of that really prepared us for the journey we were about to say YES to. Marriage is not for the weak, it is for the self-sacrificing, others-centered, and loving people. The following are 3 things we have continued to learn that has helped us grow as a couple as well as individually:
- Marriage relationships are hard, but the Lord is better and He makes things better if you allow him. Preparing is good, Reading books, asking for advice, and counseling are wonderful things. But, In order for all the information you have learned to help you grow you should be ready to fight. Be ready to cry a little, fight a little, and hopefully laugh a whole lot more. You have to learn to fight for the marriage even when it is tough and easy to be selfish. Sometimes you simply have to start over and give each other many second chances. The first thing to always rely on is the Lord. He is a good venting buddy and He always responds with the best answers because He is the best father. You might cry to him, but afterwards you will realize He is exactly what you need in every situation. Keep CHRIST first no matter the situation, no matter how far you think He is, keep reaching for him. He is always with you, listening to you, and He sees you. –Nate and Winnie
- Communication is key. Even the small things that may not seem important are actually feelings and thoughts that the other person cares about if they love you. Talking about (and knowing your own feelings and thoughts) can lead to great conversations and more depth into a relationship. Sharing about yourself helps to develop a relationship where there is vulnerability, trust, and honesty. Being open and understanding each other allows for change to occur in each other’s hearts because of seeing each other’s perspective and weighing their words. To communicate effectively firstly you must listen first and be slow to speak. Instead of responding hastily to the other’s words or actions (whether they are offensive or discouraging, etc) it is important to listen to the whole story. It is good to ask questions before assuming (whether the assumption seems plausible or not). It is important to communicate what you like and dislike, what you feel and don’t feel, and what you need or want. -Nate
- Change is important. When we are single and dating, we have certain habits and things we like. When you are married those habits and things you like will be challenged. For both of you to be a united front you need to have the willingness to change and grow with your spouse. Before marriage, I liked things in the kitchen or closet a certain way, after being married, I am learning that Nate likes things a certain way as well. At first it was hard to share and change my ways, but when I did I see I got better by compromising and sharing. I also used to thinking about my own emotions, feelings, and thoughts at a greater importance than Nate’s. Now when something happens, I have to account for his feelings and see if I am wrong or if there is a balance between the two sides. Being married and in a relationship with Nate has totally made me a better friend, daughter, sister, worker, and servant. Without this relationship, I would be more stubborn, more controlling, more prideful, and crazier. I am becoming less stubborn, less controlling, less prideful, and less crazy through Christ, through God changing me in marriage. –Winnie
I hope as you prepare to enter into this new season that CHRIST leads you, COMMUNICATION helps you, and CHANGE becomes a friend. There is so much in marriage, but for us these three things has helped us to learn to love each other better. Keep fighting and enjoy the good moments. Don’t focus so much on the bad that you miss the good.
With love, hope and lots of smiles. -Winnie & Nathan