Our 4-year Anniversary

19 May

Today is our 4-year wedding anniversary. Every year, it seems hard to believe that we’ve been married for as long as we have. Time goes by so fast! And every year, I am once again amazed at God’s grace. He alone is the reason why our marriage is a blessing, why we still are in love with each other, and why we have weathered all the trials and storms of life intact and together.

They say that a good marriage isn’t about marrying the right person; it’s about being the right person. I have seen the truth of that so much over the past year. Just looking back on who I was a year ago, and what tenderness God has amazingly developed in my heart since then, I am struck by what a difference there is. In that year, I have realized how much my actions and words influence Travis. My being angry about something, even when not directed at Travis, makes him angry and is the beginning of a vicious cycle. When I don’t voice my emotions by telling Travis I love him and miss him, he is hurt. If I try to encourage Travis to look to God for hope and meaning but say it in a scolding tone, he gets discouraged.

On the positive side, I have learned to praise and thank Travis for all of the wonderful things he does to serve me. I have learned to appreciate the little things – how he mows our lawn, fixes our cars, cleans out our gutters. I have developed an admiration for his work ethic (instead of being annoyed at helping him with house projects), grown to be thankful for his hunting habits and truck purchase (they’ve come in handy), and been amazed at his thoughtfulness (getting up early with the dogs on a Saturday so that I can sleep in).

God has certainly done a work in my heart and head regarding marriage, and though I definitely still have a LONG way to go, I feel so incredibly blessed by the work God has done in my life. Not only that, but I’m extremely blessed by my wonderful husband. He has watched what feels like hundreds of Bones episodes with me (after House, The Office and Desperate Housewives), supported my expensive triathlon hobby, and allowed me to get two great dogs (both of which he had been determined to not get… but who can resist puppy dog eyes?). Even though he disagreed, he supported my decisions when I wanted to write my book instead of get a job, when I made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty for my job last year, and when I decided to chop my hair off in January (though he ended up liking my haircut).

I have learned that marriage is about growing with the other person. It’s about learning to readjust your expectations, priorities, and desires to embrace what the other person values. I don’t like house projects and would almost never choose to do them out of my own free will. My husband, on the other hand, loves house projects and seemingly can’t get enough of them. On more than one occasion in the past year, I have actually volunteered my services to him, which he has eagerly taken me up on. Not only am I supporting Travis in his endeavors, I’m also taking a vested interest in the condition and quality of our home and yard. There is a certain satisfaction inherent in hard work.

I have also learned that a loving spouse encourages their counterpart pursue their passions, vision, and interests. So often, I hear about men whose wives “won’t let them” do certain things, or who are uptight and mistrusting about their husbands going out with friends, or buying a certain thing, or doing something without them. That is one thing God has abundantly blessed us with in our marriage — trust. While we don’t give one another the green light for everything without exception (godly accountability is necessary!), our decisions are always based on mutual trust. Our goal in all decisions is to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s easier said than done, and we often jump to judgments before we realize we’ve done so, but that’s what we’re working toward.

Lastly, I have decided that there is no formula for marriage. What works and is good for one couple may not work for another couple. While it is helpful to hear advice and suggestions from older, more experienced couples, you can’t turn those into the exact picture of what your marriage should be like. I think that as long as both people are satisfied and happy with the way things are, there’s no reason to change them, even if they aren’t what other people do (one qualifier: I’m talking about amoral things — immoral things are a different story). For example, Travis and I will often eat dinner in front of the TV. Much of the time we spend together in the evening is spent watching TV. If we’re both satisfied, does that behavior really merit changing? I don’t think so. I will admit, however, that I have asked Travis that we have one night a week where we do something that involves talking instead of watching TV. The biggest hindrance to us doing other things, I think, is that we get into a rut of working and then relaxing. Watching TV takes no effort and is something we can do together. Ergo, our addiction.

I realize that having only 4 years of marriage under my belt still qualifies me as a newlywed in many eyes but the wiser, older married couples only got wiser and older through the passing years, learning lesson by lesson, trial by trial, error by error. We can’t learn how to do the thing called marriage without actually doing it. It’s the ultimate hands-on experience.

Praise God for His grace!

One Response to “Our 4-year Anniversary”

  1. B. in the Know May 20, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Congratualtions you two! It is so crazy to think it has already been four year since that day! It is even sweeter to see where you are today. Miss you both!
    Much love,
    B

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