Yesterday we celebrated three years as husband and wife. AHHH, all in the same breath it feels like it’s flown by and yet it’s hard to remember what life was like before we were married : ) I’ve just been feeling SO grateful lately for our marriage that I can literally feel it in my heart (like it hurts, in a good way!!). We thought that the best way to celebrate this year would be to reflect back on what we’ve learned over the past three years and (hopefully) serve you all by sharing the ways that we have changed and grown.
Three Things I’ve Learned in Three Years of Marriage (Caleb)
Marriage isn’t a give and take relationship, it is a giving relationship. Over the course of these past three years with Maison, I have found that I get the most out of our relationship when I’m invested in giving all I can for Maison. When I spend the extra time in the morning to write a note, take the initiative to do the things she has asked, or just choose to think, “What can I do in this moment to make Maison feel special?” If her needs are above mine, I can almost guarantee that our marriage is thriving. If I’m being selfish however, we are most likely quarreling.
2. Redefine what “gift giving” means
Gifts don’t have to cost money. Okay, okay, so my favorite gift I’ve ever received may just be my gold top Gibson Les Paul guitar that Maison gifted me this year for my golden birthday … but that’s beside the point. Let me explain! I’ve found that often, any time I invest in doing little special things (like writing a note, or learning a song on the guitar, etc.), Maison —without realizing it — expresses how loved she feels by those things way more than she does about a new shirt or a piece of jewelry, for example. And to get back to the guitar, this gift was so special to me NOT because it was an actual guitar (don’t get me wrong, this was awesome!) but because Maison took the time and energy to first ask her parents to lend her the money until my birthday so I wouldn’t notice that it had been spent from our bank accounts AND on top of that, asked our musician friend to pick it out (since she knows nothing about guitars) and house it at his place until she was going to give it to me because she didn’t want me to find it. She put a lot of thought, effort, and planning into this gift and whether it was a guitar or something that cost $5, it was truly the intention behind it that made me feel so special.
3. Travel together when you are young
Every year of our marriage so far, we have taken a trip together. I strongly suggest investing in traveling early on in your marriage. This is a great time to share with each other the places you’ve always wanted to go — there’s nothing like the excitement of planning the trip of your dreams with the guy or girl of your dreams! It is awesome to experience the world with your spouse and make memories that will create a story that is unique to you. Additionally, you are young, active, and able now! Waiting until later could be dangerous because you never know when “later” will come or if there will ever even be a “later”!
Three Things I’ve Learned in Three Years of Marriage (Maison)
1. It is unrealistic to think you won’t have (major) conflict
Even though this one seems SO obvious, I will admit that before being married and even a couple of weeks — maybe months — into marriage, I truly thought that it would be possible to avoid any type of major conflict. I share all the time that the best and biggest advice that we got during our engagement was to be proactive in our relationship and not wait for winter seasons (aka hard seasons) to come before deciding to get help, make a change, etc. While I feel like we have truly done such a good job of being proactive when it comes to conflict … conflict is INEVITABLE. Moments and conversations where it hurts SO bad and you might think, “How can we move forward from this? It feels IMPOSSIBLE” are inevitable. You are two flawed, selfish people trying to live in unity and it’s inevitable that disunity will happen. It’s OKAY and you CAN get through it. Times of hardship are — truly – what bring you into deeper intimacy and connection with one another if you allow them to. I can honestly say that I am just as thankful for those super hard times as I am for the amazing ones because I KNOW that the hard times have brought us closer to one another and strengthened our relationship in the end.
2. Change starts with you, not them
It’s that simple (it’s actually NOT simple and super hard to do, but the concept is simple). Stop blaming the struggles/conflict/problems on your spouse. You ARE contributing to them in some way or another, even if it feels like you are not. What can YOU do to better serve your marriage? How can YOU change? And I’m not talking about changing in a manipulative manner, hoping that your spouse will, in turn, also change. And I’m also not talking about doing something so you get something in return. It starts AND works best with selflessness and sacrifice. **This is the BIGGEST thing I have learned**
3. There is always something you can learn from your spouse — find beauty and hope and opportunity in the differences
I’m guessing that you and your significant other are different in more ways than one. Sometimes those differences can cause us to drive one another CRAZY!! Like in a “WHY does he have to do it that way? My way is better!!” kind of way. Pause and ask yourself, is there anything WRONG with these differences or are they just … different? Both ways of doing things, both ways of thinking, etc … are they both neither “right” or “wrong”? Stop trying to change your spouse and accept them for who they truly are — differences included!! Instead of letting the differences drive you crazy, what if you tried to get curious about them? What could you LEARN from the different ways that your spouse does things or thinks about things? These differences can actually be an opportunity for GROWTH for YOU!!
And just because, some of my favorite moments (iPhone version!) of our past year of marriage. I LOVE you, Caleb!!!!! Happy 3 years <3