Brad and I are fast approaching our one year anniversary in July. Every newlywed hears a ton of advice from what to avoid, what to do, and what to expect. It can be anything from the first year is the hardest to never go to bed angry. There is one piece of advice I never heard but I have struggled with throughout this first year of marriage. There is one thing I wish someone would have warned me about because it has rooted itself deep inside my heart and created a separation in my marriage I never asked for but also didn’t know I needed to avoid. What they don’t tell you about your first year of marriage is that comparison will creep in if you aren’t careful.
We live in a world where it’s so easy to compare your life to someone else’s. We live in a world where the truth is often stretched and manipulated. We get caught scrolling wondering if our life will ever measure up. We start lusting after the lives of people we don’t even know. We compare our spouses to other spouses and ourselves to other wives. If only I did this like she does maybe then my husband would love me that much. If only my husband would do this then maybe we wouldn’t fight so much. It’s a constant teeter-totter of what ifs and I’m nots.
We will never measure up to the line we create for ourselves and our spouses when comparing them to a world we don’t even fully understand. We have no way of knowing what conversations other couples have at night before bed. We will never fully know what’s behind closed doors of the marriages we long to live up to. But why? Who put this standard on us?
God’s view of marriage is to be the perfect picture of the gospel. If you don’t, I still will. If you do, I still will. Marriage is this beautiful example of grace, love, adventure, and sacrifice. Marriage comes with a cost and I think that’s something we often forget. We get the ring, we have the wedding, and we go on the honeymoon. Then we’re left wondering where the excitement went when things start to get a little uncomfortable. When he leaves the seat up or you forget to pick up your shoes off the floor. Dare I say when you stop agreeing on everything and start having to have real conversations? Or what about when your uncommunicated expectations aren’t being met but you’re too petty to bring up that it bothers you or that you would like it if they did this instead?
The gospel had a cost attached to it. For us to get the gospel something had to be taken away. When we get married and two become one, our independence and freedom are taken away, but in the most uniquely beautiful way. You are united with another human being to navigate this journey together. You both pay the price in hopes that what you create will be more valuable than what you’re giving up.
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted in this first year wishing our marriage looked like theirs or that my husband would be more like hers. I have wasted so many moments I could have chosen to display grace, patience, and gratitude in exchange for a night shedding tears that shouldn’t even be there in the first place. I have neglected time to work on my marriage to choose randomly scrolling through picture after posed picture to compare my messy top knot and sweatpants to their nice date night out. I have felt so insecure as a wife throughout this first year because I chose to let my mind wonder what ifs instead of focusing on the marriage right in front of me.
What they don’t tell you about the first year is that it’s an adjustment, a learning process, a growing pain at times, and it takes patience and time. It takes stepping away from the screen and stepping into your reality. Your marriage is a direct reflection of the gospel and God chooses us daily. We must choose our marriage daily. We have to choose to make our reality better than what we’re comparing it to because only we have the power to change that.