the first year

A month or so into our marriage I broke out in a sweat and my heart started to pound. My fingertips danced over the number pad of my iPhone and a few seconds later my Dad picked up.

Dad, I have to talk to you about something. Jeff and I don’t fight. Ever. IS THAT OKAY?!

I don’t remember how he replied, but I’m sure whatever he said followed his corny little laugh. And, thinking back on my silly “freak-out” brings a smile to my face now. Tomorrow morning, Jeff and I celebrate our very first wedding anniversary. It’s been

1 Year

12 Months

52 Weeks

365 Days

8,760 Hours

525,600 Minutes

315,360,000 Seconds

and we’re still in love.

I’m no marriage expert. If anything, I’m a bit of a failure on the topic. But, if I could give any advice to the couple about to embark on their first year together it would be this:

Grow together. I love talking about Scripture with Jeff. One of my favorite memories this year was reading through the Christmas story together in the weeks leading up to it. Jeff notices things in Scripture that never even cross my mind. We go to church together. And we talk about what we learned after small group. As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another.

Big days are a big deal. We go all out for birthdays. And Valentine’s Day. And Christmas. And New Year’s and every other day with a title. (#YOLO, right?!) Jeff’s birthday is not just another day to me. It’s important. Because, it’s the one day I get to celebrate him. It’s not about the gifts we buy for each other (although that has become a whole lot of fun), but it’s about pausing the rest of the world, making a memory and sharing a short 24 hours together. It’s a big deal.

Play a sport together. For us, it was co-ed softball, maybe for you it will be soccer (gasp).

Don’t apologize for how you feel. Jeff has repeatedly said this to me throughout our first year of marriage. My feelings don’t scare him. My weakness doesn’t throw him for a loop. He has never faulted me for how I feel, even if my feelings are unbased, unfounded, and unbiblical. I truly feel like I can tell Jeff anything. Sometimes, I’ve been so nervous and embarrassed to tell him what’s going on in my head, but he’s never laughed at me. He’s never rolled his eyes and said “Oh gosh, not this again…” A best friend is someone who can handle your feelings.

Have sex. A lot of it. Because it’s legal now and God told you to. (I can’t believe I just typed that! But, seriously, it’s important.)

Compliment each other. Repeatedly.

Catch the dream. Jeff coached baseball during the summer. He was gone every weekend and it was tough to be away from him, not to mention stressful balancing his travels with our growing photography business. After his final trip, he came home and there was a light in his eyes. He’s passionate about coaching. He loves it. It never gets old to him. He believes in coaching the boys how to be more than just ball players, but how to be men of character. Somewhat hesitantly, he told me that he would love to pursue coaching. It caught me off guard. We have been focusing on our business and it has been growing. We’ve had the next few years planned out. The coaching thing came out of left field. But, I’ve realized that as his wife, I have to catch the dream he has for his life. There’s no greater joy than seeing the one you love doing what God has called him to do. Jeff is now the next in line to be the Grad Assistant coach at a local University, where he will get his masters and pursue coaching in the future. And I couldn’t be more proud.

Only God. Only God comes before your spouse. But, your friends and your parents and your family come after your spouse.

Don’t raise your voice. Our home is one of peace. Sure, we haven’t always seen eye to eye. And there’s been some times we’ve agreed to disagree. However, we have never, ever, ever (as T. Swift says) raised our voices at one another. Our home is not a home filled with yelling or screaming. There was a time when I thought it was simply “normal” to fight in marriage. So much so, that after a month of being married to Jeff I called my dad filled with fear because we didn’t fight. (Oh no!) We hadn’t had one knock down drag out blow up and I was worried. (Have I mentioned I have a problem with worrying?) Now, let’s add a baby to the mix in the future and I’m sure we’ll eventually have our share of arguments, but there’s never a reason to raise your voice at your spouse.

Go on a road trip together. There’s no greater way to really get to know one another than 12 hours in the car together. And, maybe you won’t kill each other before you get home.

Pray together. It a chance to humble yourselves before your Creator together in prayer. For us, it’s right before bed. And there’s nothing sweeter than listening to my husband talk to my God.

Go to the movies at the ward parkway AMC. Because every theatre has leather recliners.

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