Marriage (at 3 Months)

Nathan and I hit our 3 month anniversary this week (and our 3 year anniversary of actually being a couple – yay!). We love marriage and being together. I know it is cheesy and so cliché, but I really did not know I could love someone so much. It is a joy to do the highs and lows of life side-by-side, rather than miles apart.

Now, let’s be honest, you probably do not want me to rave on and on about how much I love Nathan. So, I compiled a short list of (my) essentials to enjoying marriage (or any relationship, for that matter).

*Take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I am not claiming to be a pro at this marriage thing*

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Be kind-hearted. I am frequently so caught up in my own little world that I forget to be aware of other people’s (Nathan’s) own concerns. Daily, I have to remind myself to listen and to demonstrate my love for Nathan.

Kindness is a learned action for me – it is not my intuitive response to people. However, I have learned that a little bit of kindness allows for an opportunity to unwind and be honest with one another. Nathan is far better at being kind than I am, but I am doing my best to catch up.

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Choose laughter. I have inappropraite laughter – almost all of the women in my family have this strange urge to laugh in moments of high emotion or awkwardness. I still laugh when I tell people that my dad died when I was in high school. Do you know how awkward that is? So uncomfortable – for everyone involved.

However, that inappropriate laughter gives me an inclination to laugh (or cry-laugh) in those moments when everything keeps going wrong. By choosing to laugh, we choose to find joy in the overwhelming aspects of life. I wish I laughed even more at the ridiculous things life throws at us.

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No wallowing allowed. When I am feeling down on life, I have realized that I like to wallow in my misery.

Do you know what wallow means? To lie in mud. That is disgusting.

Nathan kindly points my woe-is-me heart to God and out of a self-indulgent, selfish mindset. Wallowing makes me dramatic, narrow-minded, and hopeless. Getting up and out of my wallowing mentality gives me hope and perspective.

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Be Friends. Nathan is my absolute best friend. He is my go-to for fun things to do and the first person I call when something exciting happens. He encourages me and makes me laugh at myself (and life). He intrigues me and forces me to ask (and answer) hard questions. It is a joy to live life so deeply intertwined and have a permentant cuddle-buddy.

I would highly encourage everyone to pursue best friendship with their significant other. I have absolutely no regrets.

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Say “sorry” AND “I forgive you.” Very early on in our dating relationship, we discussed the power of saying “I forgive you” instead of “It’s okay.”

In my opinion, okay is the worst word ever. It is what you say when someone asks how you are doing and you are doing awful, but you do not want to talk about it. It is what you say when the food was alright, but not what you expected it to be. It conveys a begrudging or disappointed heart.

When I say “it’s okay” to Nathan, I have not truly forgiven him and the rest of the day/night is awkward and normally another argument pops up. We make it a practice to say “I forgive you”and mean it. We try not to force the person we have wronged to say “I forgive you” (I’ll admit it – I try to force immediate forgiveness), but we also do not withold forgiveness. The practice of honesty in our words adds so much peace and certainty to the state of our relationship.

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I am learning – we are learning – how to love one another well. It can be awkward and sometimes it is out of our comfort zone, but I would not trade it for the world.

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September: Things I’m Loving

I thought I would veer away from the serious and tell you all some things that I am just loving. I am not being compensated for talking about these products, people, or places – I just love them so much and think you should too. Also, disclaimer, I loved that picture of the Card’s stadium and the Arch, but I don’t actually talk about them at all in this post. Don’t judge me.

  1.  The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey – This podcast is the one thing I cannot stop talking about. Y’all, she is my girl. This podcast gives me so much encouragement. It is the perfect combination of serious and lighthearted. Every week, Jamie brings a different woman on the podcast and each woman is doing something incredible in her community (and around the world). I find it so encouraging to hear from women in all stages of life that are doing life well and it helps me remember that I do not need to save the world today or in my first job.
  2. St. Louis Zoo – Not only does St. Louis have one of the best zoos in the country, but we have a free, award winning zoo in the middle of the biggest urban park in America (at a whopping 1,293 acres). Just to give you some perspective, our park does not just have your typical park fields and trails, but also two golf courses, an art museum, a history museum, an outdoor amphitheater that seats 11,000 people, and the zoo. It is massive and wonderful (This love is a 2 for 1, because I love love love Forest Park). I stop by the zoo at least once a week (most of the time in the middle of my runs) and it is so fun to learn more about the animals and their daily habits. My absolute favorite animal in the zoo is Kali, a sweetheart of a polar bear. He was orphaned at a very young age and was adopted by the St. Louis Zoo. He is only a few years old and he is so playful. Oh, and the zoo was just voted America’s Top Free Attraction. No biggie.
  3. Fantasy Football – If you know me, you know that I only have a very vague interest in sports, but love live sporting events (except baseball, never baseball). Nathan and his family love fantasy football and so I agreed to create a league… and now I have three leagues. It is so much fun! I love the competitive element and I am also learning to appreciate football in a brand new way. Also, I am not doing horribly, which is pretty exciting.
  4. Gardening – We moved into our little home too late into the summer to really start a garden, but I purchased a few herbs and kept slowly adding plants to our back deck garden. I might try to keep them alive for the winter, but I am doubtful that I have those skills. It is so fun to open our backdoor and grab a handful of fresh rosemary or basil. (You can see a photo at the head of last week’s blog post)
  5. Google Photos – I love taking photos and videos to document life, but I hate trying to organize and download my photos. Enter Google Photos. It automatically downloads all photos and videos on my phone to the cloud, which means I can access them quickly and easily on any device and I know that they are safe (until google collapses, but then I am going to have many more issues – like getting home). I highly encourage you to download it all today!
  6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – I could not leave this post without mentioning an incredible book. I was given Gilead by one of my professors at U of R and had not finished reading it until this past month. Wow. It is so well written and thought provoking. A short summary: Gilead is an introspective letter covering themes of fatherhood, religion, and the development of family and faith in America. I encourage you to read it ASAP.

What are you loving? Fill me in (’cause I need to fill my time).