Well friends, we made it! We survived our first month of marriage! It has been so much fun, but if I’m being honest, nothing like I expected.
It’s not that I had these crazy expectations, or that I expected it to go horribly wrong and it didn’t. It has just been different than I thought it would be when I said “YES!” or when I walked down the aisle. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad. Marriage has been such a unique journey and I love being married more and more each day.
This morning, I was sitting at our kitchen table eating breakfast and I was thinking about what has been the most important thing I’ve learned this past month. I juggled a few things around in my mind and then it hit me. If I could share anything about this first month of marriage with anyone, this is what it would be:
Do not settle, friends. Don’t rush it. Be patient.
DISCLAIMER: I know that it has only been a month and there is no way that I’ve learned all that there is to learn about marriage. If I’m being honest, I’m pretty sure I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m just sharing about, from what I’ve learned thus far, what I think is super important when considering who you’re going to marry. Or even when you’re going to get married. Even in this short amount of time, we are preparing ourselves to handle the BIG, scary, hard, and unexpected times that our marriage will eventually go through. So, although I am not an expert by any means, I am learning right alongside you guys. I am navigating this journey for the first time. I am taking each moment to learn and grow, so that in the long haul, we will be better off.
Anyways, let’s continue…
Marriage has been so much fun! We have laughed more than ever, cooked together, started turning our house into a home, spent more time together than we ever have, found “our shows” that we like to watch, and all those fun newly wed things. It’s been amazing. I am forever thankful that I get to be married, and especially that I get to be married to Brad. Another fun thing about marriage, is that God has grown me and stretched me a lot throughout this process, BUT it’s still not always easy. (And I’m still learning.)
It doesn’t matter how much you love one another. Love means nothing without action. Therefore, marriage isn’t always going to be easy. Granted, Brad and I haven’t gotten in any huge fights or anything (yet…can I get an AMEM!) BUT we have argued and we have disagreed. His feelings have gotten hurt and so have mine. The good thing is that we made a commitment to one another for better and for worse. This is so important guys. I can’t stress it enough. We chose each other for the good times and the bad times. This makes it so much easier to take a step back during an argument and realize if we’re just being silly or if this is really something of concern. It also helps us to work as a team when it comes to navigating through arguments and/or disagreements.
Back to the “don’t settle” thing. So often, we get so “ready for marriage” in our minds, and even in our hearts, that we almost forget what marriage really is. We want the ring, the husband, the new name, the house together, the family, and the list goes on and on. BUT we forget about that one little line of the vows “for better or for worse.” It’s never if my marriage will get hard, it’s when will my marriage get hard. We forget that marriage isn’t always about the fun stuff. It’s not always like the movies, or what you see people post on Instagram. It’s so much more, and much deeper than that.
So, why do I say don’t settle? If you don’t know my story, let me share a little bit of it with you. I thought I had met the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with at the age of 15 (Well duh, Courtney, don’t settle at 15. Hold on..) We were together for 5 years, on and off. We went through a lot together. I loved his family. I loved him. And I thought that meant that we should get married, but little did I know I was just settling. I just wanted the happy ending and I wanted to prove everyone else wrong. I was just buying into the idea that marriage was just what you do after a certain point in a relationship. Lucky for me, I didn’t end up marrying that person and I was able to learn the weight behind who we marry. I was also able to figure out the qualities that I wanted in my future husband and the qualities I wanted as a wife. Moral of the story here is that, sometimes loving someone isn’t enough. Sometimes having it all “make sense” isn’t enough. Marriage is more than a checklist of we’ve gone through this together, this matches up, and this looks good.
This can be hard to understand in this day and age because it seems like marriage just keeps getting less and less meaningful. You can be “married” if you live under the same roof for a certain amount of time. We have convinced ourselves that marriage is just the next step in our relationships, but it’s not. We have watered down what marriage really is and what it truly means to be married. It’s so much more than after you’ve dated this long, you get to get married. Or, we’ve been through this together, so we get to get married now. Marriage is a life-long commitment. It’s something to be taken very seriously. It is something that you want to be absolutely sure about.
This is why you shouldn’t settle. Marriage isn’t always how you imagined it would be or how you want it to be. It isn’t always like your parents marriage, your friend’s marriage, or even someone’s marriage that you’ve seen on social media. Each one is unique and different. Ask anyone who has ever been or is married, they will agree that marriage takes work and it’s hard. You are two sinful, flawed people trying to figure out this life together. It’s bound to get messy, but that’s why it’s a daily thing to choose your spouse and to give grace and receive it.
Marriage is, like I said earlier, one of the most unique journeys I have ever experienced. I love it more and more as each day ends and starts again. I love my husband more every time I’m around him. Marriage is amazing. I pinch myself all the time because there is no way this is my life. Marriage has already taught me so much in one month. It has taught me how to work as a team in life and in ministry. It has taught me that it is not always about me or what I want. It has taught me how to truly love someone and allow someone to truly love me. Marriage is one of the most real and raw experiences a person can have and that alone has taught me so much. It has taught me about myself, Brad, and us as a team.
So, please don’t think that I’m saying marriage is all bad or that it has to be serious all the time. Trust me, Brad’s weird side has definitely come out since we got married. Our marriage is not always serious, I promise you that. I’m just saying that the person you marry should be someone you have truly considered. Their goals should line up with yours, especially when it comes to ministry. Their beliefs should match yours. You should both want to raise a family in similar ways. You should both have it in your mind that you are committed to one another, despite the bad that comes your way. I’m also saying that you shouldn’t rush into marriage, because marriage isn’t something to be rushed. If you rush it, you lose the value in it. Marriage takes time and investment.
The reason why I chose “don’t settle” as the most important thing I’ve learned so far is because I don’t think I could do this without Brad. I wouldn’t be a “good wife” if I didn’t have Brad as my husband. My desire to be good to him, love him well, treat him better than anyone ever has, and to be someone he is proud to call his wife, is what pushes me to be a good wife. Knowing that Brad is who I get to have by my side is what makes me want to fight for my marriage. Knowing Brad’s heart and how well he loves others, as well as myself, is what makes choosing him so easy. Doing ministry alongside him and talking through the hard stuff is what is making giving and receiving grace become more of a habit instead of a hassle. Brad, my husband, is why I am saying don’t settle. I would not be a good wife, have a healthy marriage, or be able to choose my marriage daily if it wasn’t for Brad. That is why I think it is so important not to settle.