My husband Nate and I recently celebrated 7 full years of marriage (wooohooo)! I know, amazing right? I would love to you it’s been 7 years of bliss, awesome sex, and growing deeper in love, and all that jazz (because you know that’s what we imagine when we think about marriage or long-term relationships) but if that was the only part of the relationship that I shared with you today then I wouldn’t be telling you the whole truth or painting the full picture of what this journey has really been like.
The last 7 years of my life have been some of the best years because we got to mature together, challenge and sharpen one another, learn how to love, and have each others back under pressure and they’ve also been some of the most challenging years! Because we got to learn how to love each other when it didn’t feel good. After I offended him or he disappointed me we got to learn how to communicate and keep our hearts open to each other as we were healing.
If I could sum it up in one word, the last 7 years have been a journey of maturity. And in this episode, I’m gonna give you the top 3 things I wish I knew 7 years ago, when I was 22/23 years old, about to walk down the aisle and make the biggest decision of my life to marry this guy who I would forever call my husband!
Thing I Wish I Understood #1:
Drop “Me” It’s “We”
From the age of 15, I was paying rent, buying my own groceries, taking care of myself, and doing a bunch of grown, adult stuff. When I got married I came in with this “independent woman, I can take care of myself” attitude, and although my husband was well aware of this that didn’t make it a whole lot of fun to live with! Looking back now I can see the unhealthy things I did during the early years of marriage were rooted in the secret fears I was hiding in my heart. I was trying to protect myself from potential future hurt, pain, disappointment, and heartbreak so I would only let him in a little bit, but not all the way. Down the line, this caused frustration and hurt for my husband which led to irresponsible decisions, arguments over money, lifestyle choices, and all of that kind of stuff
so here are some Words of wisdom to my 1-3 years into marriage self:
Sweet girl, the health of your marriage is connected to your ability to do things as “we” not “me”. You are wise enough to make decisions on your own. You know how to take care of yourself. If you wanted to keep doing that you would have stayed single. Walk the walk of a mature woman who is ready for love. All of the marriage books you read, counseling sessions you take, and relationship mentors you have mean nothing if you’re not willing to open your heart, grab his hand, and do the work of creating a life together as ONE.
Thing I Wish I Understood #2:
There are levels to vulnerability
4-5 years into the marriage I was guarded. I didn’t know how to be vulnerable and although Nate knew as much about me as I knew about myself I didn’t know how to let him in emotionally. When it came to simple things like letting him see me cry or receiving his love, affection, and compassion for me I didn’t know what to do with it. So the first few years of our marriage I struggled to communicate how I was feeling because I didn’t want him to think I was weak or overly emotional. This mistake led to Nate feeling rejected and excluded by me which only caused more distance and resistance between us. By this time we have at least 3 kids under 5. We’re both trying to figure out how to mentor and pour into our kids while balancing growing businesses and budding dreams while figuring out our relationship issues. It was an interesting season but here’s what I would tell myself
Words of wisdom to my 4-5 years into marriage self:
You don’t have to figure it all out right now. You don’t have to know what the future holds. We are right here, right now and the only thing you have is your next healthy step, decision, idea, conversation, and so on. Choose to stay sober and make decisions based on where you wanna go not how you feel in the moment
Thing I Wish I Understood #3:
Learning how to love takes time
We often think that because we are in love we know how to love, but there is a big difference between the two. Being in love usually means I get good vibes when I’m with them. They provide safety and comfort. I feel like I can be myself when I’m with them, they’re my best friend. But love is something we can only learn how to do day in and out with someone we choose to be committed to. Marriage is the perfect place o learn how to love because this is a person that we choose (they’re not family or someone we’re forced to stick around). They’re an absolute stranger that we want to become our family so we take the leap of faith and sign up for lifelong learning with this person.
Words of wisdom to my 6-7 years into marriage self:
Not every comment is worth a response. Not every thought is worth sharing. Keep the bigger picture at the forefront of your heart and let it guide you in how you talk to each other, how you think about each other, how you feel about each other, and how you connect with each other. If the ultimate goal is learning how to love then practice it with each other. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
One Thing I Hope To Learn Over The Next 10 Years
In a sense, I’m still learning everything we talked about here. I hope to deepen my learning so it becomes a natural part of me. My ultimate goal is to be love. For myself, my sweet husband, my happy kids, and the world. One of my personal prayers for years has always been, “God I wanna see what you do with a fully surrendered life” and I know that to truly love is to lay down your life. Jesus, the wisest man who ever lived said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” and He demonstrated this by “loving the world so much that He gave” Himself (His life), right?
Now I know that’s a little deep but here’s my thing. If I really love you, I’m going to do my best to make sure that you’re taken care of, know that I love you and that you know no matter what I’m on your side. I want to get to a point in my life where I feel and behave this way towards everyone. Without expecting anything in return or looking to gain something out of it. I wanna be love in action in people’s lives.
SO there you have it. The 3 things I wish I understood 7 years ago before I got married. I hope you found it helpful. Share it with a friend and as always, reach out on the gram and let me know which one resonated the most! Love you and i mean i! See you on the gram!