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.

Made New

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have started this blog post. There is so much to say and reflect upon that I get overwhelmed. In April, I wrote about impending transitions and how much I dread transitioning into new stages of life. Well, most of those transitions happened. They were not without tears, laughter, angst, joy, and mishaps.

In the past five months, I graduated from college, planned a wedding, packed for a move, got married, went on a honeymoon, moved to the midwest, and have searched high and low for a full time job (this transition is TBD).

Nothing in my life is the same and the loss of familiar is painful and disorienting at times. Yet, the familiar is replaced with new and that new is so wonderful. Living life well seems to equate to an exchange of the familiar with the new.

After two and a half months of marriage and living in St. Louis, I think I can accurately reflect on our new life together.

I love being married to Nathan and doing life alongside him. I was warned by several people that the first year of marriage can be incredibly difficult, because we are transitioning to living together and being truly codependent. And while there are natural moments of frustration and disappointment, the transition to the midwest and city living is far more challenging than the transition to marriage. After a year of long distance, it is pure joy to be able to see him everyday. Nathan is abundantly patient with my many emotions about transitioning to a new city and he never lets me wallow in my own frustrations (aka lack of a full time job). Marriage is far more of a blessing than I even imagined and I am so humbled that we get to embark on this adventure together.

Adjusting to life in St. Louis is far more challenging than I anticipated. As a person who thrives in structured environments, I have struggled to find my footing here. I have yet to find a full time job (If you hear of any full time job – particularly teaching jobs – in St. Louis, hit me up!), which means I am alone and lonely a lot.

At first, not having a job was a bit of a blessing, because I had to unpack the house and get us settled, while Nathan went to schoowork (school & work – PhD school is a lot of both, thus the new word). We live about 6 minutes from an Ikea and we had no furniture, which really meant I watched a lot of Netflix and built a lot of furniture (one desk, two office chairs, two bookcases, one bed, one boxspring, one armchair, and one cabinet). Then, we were settled in our little home and my days started to stretch endlessly before me. I am getting better at filling my days with running, reading, learning to code, and applying for jobs and I have a part time job, which adds a lot of structure to my week, but I am lonely and chafe under all of the new.

I am being made new, again. It is exhausting, humbling, frustrating, and absolutely wonderful. My pride in my ability to do things well and tough it out has crippled my heart from being present in my everyday. The more I chase after my way, the more my heart becomes unhappy and uncentered on God. Last week, all my strivings for perfection and success just broke. I was so disappointed and felt like such a failure for struggling to find a job. I sat in my little backyard crying in my frustration and loneliness. The Lord used that brokenness and frustration to bring my heart and my mind back to him and his will for me. I am still without a job and still am lonely, but my heart aches less and my hope is restored in the Lord.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:5-6

Through this time of icky transition, I am learning the beauty of sitting in silence and the grace that accompanies loneliness. I have a new appreciation for how awful it is to be unemployed. I realize the gift Nathan is in my life and am so thankful for the encouragement and laughter he daily brings into my life. I am learning (for the hundredth time) how to praise the Lord in all things and entrust my life to him.

And, I am a huge fan of free zoos, but more on that next week.