The Newlywed Guide

It seems I am always kind of in the same spot of welcoming myself back to my blog and catching you up on life. Man. Life. It has been busy…and that’s putting it lightly. Since you last heard from me, my work schedule has been insanely intense. I do not know that I could accurately explain to you the amount of hours I have been working but it has been exhausting beyond belief. But here I am…back again…in a different job now. I’m getting ahead of myself a little, so I better save those details for later and get you started on this new journey. Are you ready?

I had given a lot of thought to where I wanted to take my blog next and how I wanted to share my story. Back several months ago I had a great idea and then life just happened, as I know it has been happening for the entire world at this point. If you know my story (you can catch up on past blog posts if not), then you know that life has not always been easy for me and adulthood pretty much smacked me in the face and did not think twice about it. However, in the last year, the Lord really has restored what the enemy tried to steal from me. I have such a huge heart for helping people and if my story can do that, then I feel that’s what the Lord wants me to do. I am no expert in the field…I just have some real life experience and a swanky degree in Marriage and Family Therapy to support my cause. So feel free to take it for what it is because at the very least, this whole journey has been a healing process for myself.

Don’t let the title fool you because this is not just for the newlyweds! It is for the engaged couples, newlyweds, and seasoned married couples alike…whether your relationship is as healthy as healthy gets or it’s on the brink of ending….this is for you. Marriage should be a never ending journey of falling in love over and over again because it is human nature to change and develop across the life span. Habits change, love languages change, likes/interests change…its just apart of life. So if we as a partner do not invest our time into continuously learning our partners, then we find ourselves in this very uncomfortable place of realizing that we are with someone we don’t even know anymore. I can not tell you the amount of times I have heard of couples ending their marriages because they had nothing in common anymore or literally make the statement “my spouse was just someone I didn’t even know”. It happens more often than not. We get comfortable and fall into routines and patterns and one day wake up and wonder who we are and how we got here. I, too, am guilty of this.

Young love is something to admire in a lot of ways, but it also breeds caution. Here is what I’ve learned. Getting married at 19 seemed like the best idea at the time, but here I am years later and I can tell you that young love is often times a little blind. It can be full of magical mystery and immeasurable joy; but biological development is a sneaky little creature, and if you are not careful, it will get you every single time. Cognitive development, for example, is still taking place at the crucial ages of 19 and 20. Thought patterns aren’t quite up to par, so it can be extremely difficult to have the full capacity to really being able to grasp the notion that MARRIAGE IS WORK. Dating is easy and fun and there isn’t a whole lot of “work” involved. I know for me, at 19, I could not even imagine our relationship to be any different from what it was at that moment and I truly believed it would be that way for years to come. I didn’t consider the fact that we were both going to change and I never truly understood the work that needed to be done. Talk about being naive. Please don’t misunderstand me, young marriages can work and do work everyday. This is just coming from my own experiences and I can guarantee you, every successful couple who married young would agree….there is hard work involved.

So here I am…roughly 6 months into my new marriage….and I can tell you that even if you get married in your later 20s, it is still work. But I have found myself in a unique state of mind with my husband this time around. Call it aging and maturing, but I see the work it takes so differently now. Sure–we are still in newlywed bliss but the challenges are still there and present. Not too long into our marriage we both found ourselves super frustrated with one another. I had been working some intense hours at work doing a very emotionally taxing job and when I would get home from work or have any spare moment, I just needed rest. I wanted him home to cuddle me and relax. However, my husband is GO GO GO 24/7 and being at home doing nothing is not his style at all. He we would get so frustrated about me wanting to be home all of the time and when we would go to family functions together he would get super annoyed with me when I asked to go home. The tension was real, y’all. We finally sat down and had a conversation that went something like this: ME: “Babe, I’m emotionally tapped out from work and I just need you” and HIM: “Babe, I just need time with you”. See the common theme here? We both wanted the exact same thing but our time together looks different to each of us so neither of us were feeling fulfilled. Instead of this becoming a huge road block for us we were able to sit down and compromise. He agreed to come home early and devote one afternoon to me doing absolutely nothing but cuddling and watching TV and I agreed to be more proactive in doing whatever activity he wanted one day out of the week. It may seem like a small little bump in the road compared to some marital disagreements, but here’s the thing to keep in mind–it would have been very easy for us to stay annoyed and keep moving on with life and just ignore it. However, the more things you pile on from ignoring have their own way of creeping in to create a much larger problem. At the end of the day we avoided a much larger issue that could have spun out of control all over realizing that we both love each other and just wanted time together.

I once read a quote that talked about how every great marriage on the outside is built on hard conversations from the inside. Meaning this, you may be exposed to some pretty successful marriages and think “dang, they have the perfect relationship”…but what you don’t see is all of the vulnerable conversations that have taken place in secret. Communication is a never ending process in a marriage. It’s how you learn and grow together. Jonathan would have never known the depths of my pure exhaustion and may have taken my requests to be home and “do nothing” as me saying “I don’t want to be here with you” or “what is important to you isn’t to me, I’d rather just lay on the couch”. And I may have taken him wanting to always be gone from the house as “working and doing other things is more important to you than being with me”. I am not going to lie…for me, the thought crossed my mind multiple times. But had I played with those thoughts for too long then it would have started to impact my interactions with Jonathan. It took self-awareness to know that I was not in a good place due to my job and being vulnerable enough to talk with him about how I felt. It truly makes the difference.

Here we are months down the road now and I have changed to a position that has more structure and is leaps and bounds less mentally and emotionally stressful. He still spends his one night a week or so with me just cuddling and watching one of our favorite shows and I have more energy to go out and do things he enjoys doing. I love the life we are building and it wouldn’t be possible without the hard conversations we have in private. So wherever you find yourself in the course of your marriage today, I hope you can learn from my experiences and at the very least be more intentional in your marriage. Your spouse is growing and changing so make it your mission to grow and change along with them. Don’t shy away from the vulnerable conversations just because they are uncomfortable or you’ve in some way already made up your mind. One last piece of knowledge I have learned….don’t believe that your partners behavior comes from a negative intent. Meaning this–don’t assume their actions are a product of their love for you. We are all human and we all go through things that sometimes are hard to talk about and impact our actions. So get to the root of it first and come up with a healthy strategy to tackle it together. I’m here with you…learning, growing, and just trying to be the best spouse I can be.

To you,

I pray today that the Lord blesses your relationship and I pray that He gives you the will to remain steadfast. Whatever your individual need may be, whether courage, persistence, grace, or anything else….I pray you receive it today. Talk with your spouse, pray with your spouse, and have some fun. Remember the young love you shared together. I don’t mean age wise young either, I mean the early stages of love when it was all so easy. I am believing with you today.

Best wishes, Chris.

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