I can’t believe that 3 years have already come and gone since we said I Do. Three years ago I walked down the aisle of the church that my parents were married in to pledge my life to my high school sweetheart. On one hand it seems like a lifetime ago, and on the other it seems like just yesterday. When I look back on our wedding images, I feel like I see two totally different people. We have both grown and changed so much over these past 3 years as husband and wife. We’ve experienced the highs and the lows and have grown to be much wiser because of it. When we got married, we were just two young kids in love and ready to take on the world. We had no idea what marriage would actually be like and learned a lot of lessons along the way, sometimes the hard way. Our relationship today is totally different than it was on the day we got married, but in a good way. We have a better understanding of what marriage really is and what it means to really love someone. We still have a lot of growing and learning to do, but here is some of what we have learned so far.
The importance of being selfless. This one has been the hardest lesson to learn, but also one of the most important. When you commit to spending the rest of your life with someone, you are also choosing to serve them. One of your reasons for marrying someone may be because of how happy they make you. But you also have to have the intention of wanting to make them happy. And sometimes, this may mean putting their needs and wants ahead of your own. When times get tough, that can be a hard pill to swallow, but it is so important that we are always putting each other’s needs ahead of our own. Otherwise, we are each going to be fighting for ourselves and no one wins that way. I can honestly say that once I stopped worrying more about my own happiness than his, I actually experienced more happiness myself. Funny how that works.
How to love. I’ve always heard people say that love is a verb, not a noun. I never really understood what that meant until I got married. It’s one thing to be “in love” with someone, but another to choose to love someone, especially when they are “unloveable”. Of course I am in love with Branden, but I don’t have those warm and fuzzy feelings of love every moment of every day. There are sometimes, in the heat of the moment, where my feelings towards him may even swing more towards hate than love. But choosing to love each other in those times is how you really love someone. It’s easy to act lovingly towards someone when you are feeling that love, but what about when you are not? Are they any less deserving of your love, kindness and tenderness? Making the choice to be selfless and loving towards someone, even when they may not deserve it, is how you truly love someone.
Don’t forget the good stuff. Every relationship has it’s good and bad qualities and dynamics. But I think it’s safe to say that it’s much easier to get caught up in the bad stuff than it is the good stuff. It only takes one bad thing to make you totally forget about all the good things. I am certainly guilty of that. When you get caught up in the things you don’t like about your relationship or spouse, it’s really important to take a step back to remember the things you do like and gain some perspective.
Marriage is work- and that’s ok! There’s no denying that marriage takes work. It may be harder or easier for some, but there is always a good amount work and maintenance involved. But it’s important to not view that as a bad thing. It’s easy to see this work as a burden or something that you shouldn’t have to do. But when you realize that it is a necessary part of any relationship, you will then be able to persevere through the hard times and get better at it! The more that you put into your marriage, the more you will get out of it!
HAVE FUN! I realize that all of these points have been very serious and perhaps a little bit of a downer. Which brings me to my last point- the importance of having fun together!! A few nights ago Branden and I were sitting on the couch with Henry and something happened that made us both just laugh uncontrollably until our stomachs hurt. The way I felt in that moment made me realize the importance of laughing and having fun together. Take a break from all the work and seriousness that goes into marriage to have a moment to just be silly with each other!
We have learned these important lessons and more during our first 3 years of marriage and I know that we have so much more to learn! We have watched each other grow into better versions of ourselves and fall more and more in love with each other. This always reminds me of the song we picked for the first dance at our wedding- “Then” by Brad Paisley. “We’ll look back someday at this moment that we’re in. And I’ll look at you and say ‘And I thought I loved you then’”. Oh man, now I need a tissue!
Happy three year wedding anniversary to my love. I promise to choose to love you all the days of my life!