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5 things I learned my first year of marriage

We did it! We made it A Year! Hooray! Huzzah! wo-ho!

They say the first year of marriage is the toughest. This could be true for a plethora of reasons. Such as, the stress you've dealt with from planning the wedding and now dealing with the aftermath. Or the first time living together and learning new habits. Maybe even, learning how to think of this new chapter as us and we instead of you and me.

I'll be the first to say that it was different when Wes and I got married.

And we lived together for a year and nine months before saying "I do".

Cohabitation is completely different than living with your married spouse.

It hits you different. It feels different. I've had plenty of friends say, "it doesn't feel any different, everything stayed the same." Maybe that's good for them, but for me, that wasn't the case. Wes and I went through the stages, all the stages.

It felt like everything intensified - in a good way.

We carried ourselves differently and our relationship was on a higher level. We hold each other to a higher standard. But, maybe that's what marriage is. I could definitely feel the change within myself, my spouse, and our relationship. And this is not to say that you don't put your relationship on a specific level or on some line of respect. But going from girlfriend to fiance, and then fiance to wife, it almost felt as switches were turning off and on.

With that being said, here are the key takeaways I learned my first year of marriage:

1. Communication is Key

Communication was one of the first things we learned in our pre-marital class. And our communication class was broken into two sessions. This was the longest class in comparison to the other topics we had to cover.

The classes was premised upon these communication classes. You cannot complete the classes without going through the communication classes first. And learning how to communicate with your partner is crucial to any relationship. Communication is much deeper than the words you say. But also what you don't say, your tone of voice, your body language, and your expressions.

Communication is being able to understand and reciprocate your spouse's feelings and emotions. It's about learning how to listen and their learning their love language.

A lot falls under the umbrella of communication.

Communication is also knowing how to have an intense fellowship (an argument).

We learned how to argue. Which sounds strange but was extremely necessary.

Communication is speaking to the problem instead of speaking at your spouse.

Example of speaking to the problem: When you say "xyz" it hurts my feels.

Example of speaking at your spouse: You make me feel like $#!t

It's about learning the Art of Conflict Resolution.

If one of us says something that we feel is out of line, we say, "do you really want to go back there?" To us that means, do you want to go back to the place of fighting. It stops both of us in our tracks and makes us think about what we are saying. Or we say,

" can I have your hands," while placing our own hands out, this calls for undivided attention. Especially when I don't feel like he's listening because he's too busy on the Xbox and what I have to say in that moment is important. It allows us to recenter.

Couples find different ways to communicate. This is something that we worked well for us. And if we didn't learn specific tools to help the way we speak to one another, we would still be talking to one another in circles.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry - James 1:19

2. Submission

I hope I can do this topic justice, because the day we learned about submission blew our minds. This was an area that Wes and I didn't know we needed help in.

When most of us hear the word submission, its usually in some type of negative cogitation. Most women think of it as bowing down to something/someone. Men think of it was control over something/someone. Submission tends to be an inferior word. This is the "worldly" view.

Submission is actually NONE OF THOSE THINGS!

Today's society sees submission as:

In our belief, husbands and wives are submissive to one another. This means that we are working together - this is oneness in marriage.

Submission teaches us the responsibilities of our roles in marriage.

Notes from premarital:

Wives are responsible for being respectful, loving, submissive, and to be the keepers of the home.

Husbands are responsible for leading, loving, and caring for their wives and family.

It's so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing or saying with their relationship. What works for them may not work for you. And taking advice from non-like minded individuals is never a good idea. Some of us learn this the hard way. But learning how to submit to Wes and him learning how to submit to me, and what that looks like or doesn't look like has been a huge factor in making our marriage stronger.

We submit ourselves to one another in everything we do, we respect each other, we speak to each other kindly. Wes knows if he mistreats me the Lord will not answer his prayers, visa-versa. We work at this every day and this is something that we will continue to nurture moving forward.

3. There is no I in We - "Oneness"

This is something that surprisingly, Wes reminded me of. We are one! I've honestly never had trouble with this until we got married, weird how that happened. Wes continuously reminds me that we are in this together and it's not me or him it's us vs. everything. Every financial strain, health problem, laugher, or tear, we face everything together and I LOVE IT!

4. Marriage is Fun

Through all the ups and downs, marriage is fun!...when you're with the right person. All of the weird crap we do together, the laughs, the breakfast dates, movie dates, it's fun to simply do life with someone that you love. You love their company and they love your company.

5. Marriage is Work

At times marriage is easy, it's hard, but its always work. You have to continuously work to nurture your marriage. Whether that looks like going on a weekly date night and just setting a few hours aside before bed to talk. Making an effort to make time for one another. You can always learn something new about your spouse. Throughout this whole process, when we get to the season of having children, our marriage is our first priority. If our foundation isn't strong, our household won't be either. Making the time and having the knowledge to understanding that marriage is something that will always need to be nurtured and is a key factor in what I believe a successful marriage looks like.

Going into this New Year of 2020, I put nothing but faith, trust, and focus in my marriage. I can't wait to see what year two has in store.

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