Married Life: Beauty in the Transition
I can?t believe Jason and I are about to celebrate our one year anniversary! Isn?t it almost scary how fast time flies? Because of the occasion on the horizon, I thought it was fitting to re-post this article from the lovely blog, The Refined Woman, started by my dear friend Kat Harris. Their blog has such beautiful influence.
Even if there is a longing to get married or date or have a family, can we all admit that single hood is truly one of the best stages in life? Yes, the contentment in that time can be a struggle because an internal longing for the future may allow the disintegration of the joyful present. But this time of beautiful aloneness ignites a sweet desire to discover who you are as a woman, and it offers the time to identify your identity: the quirks, the love languages, the passions. Think about it?it is the only season of complete freedom. you can take a Pilates class at 8am. you can loudly unload the dishwasher at midnight. you can take a nap at 5pm without a care. your girlfriends can sleepover whenever you please. you can blast Britney Spears when you are getting ready. It is such a time to cherish and use to better yourself through laughter, reading, and the allowance of any stretch of adventure.
Obviously, I am a major fan of singleness, and it seems that the majority who have entered the beauty of married-life look back on that time with more recognized gratitude. It prepares you. It stretches you in solitude. It seasons you with some of the sweetest, craziest, and most unforgettable memories and challenges. To digress, I must say first that being a wife is the best gift I have ever received. My abs have improved due to my consistent belly laughs, my character has strengthened from being lovingly challenged, my walls have slowly been knocked down due to feeling safe to communicate the good, the embarrassing, and the hard. In a brief conclusion: marriage makes everything better.
Yes, that?s a pretty extreme statement, but I stand behind it with full confidence, and I don?t believe I am speaking out of a ?newlywed? mouth. The depth of our relationship cannot be shifted by circumstance; the foundation of our love is built on something so solid and unchanging; the grace we have learned to give comes from something greater.
So, now I live with a boy (yikes!). I kid. Honestly, the biggest transition has come in the form of being purposefully bothered by someone special, being tackled over and over on the bed as if I were his sibling (his excuse: he never had brothers!), and being surrounded by loud melodies and random acting scenes. I must admit I love all of the above.
A little tidbit into the life of Jase and Lo: we have identical OCD. True stories: we have collided while picking up the same crumb off the floor; a dirty shirt on the dresser is utterly offensive; water drops or fingerprints on the counter are distracting. Oh, and when we arrive home at midnight from a vacation, we open all the mail, unpack, and make sure everything is in its place. We. Have. Problems. + what are we going to do when we have kids? Pray for us.
The point of sharing these silly quirks is to fully exclaim how easy it has been transitioning to living with a guy! I must brag on my husband for a second: he is the most helpful person I know, he is so aware of me emotionally even without me speaking, and he takes care of all of the man-jobs such as replacing light bulbs, cleaning the gutters, etc, etc. My eyes don?t even see those things. Sadly I know the stereotype of marriage is often distasteful, but it doesn?t have to be. I have realized that marriage is truly shaped around who you are as individuals and most importantly the foundation in which your marriage stands on.? Do. Not. Settle. Open communication is key. Fair expectations are a game changer. Owning your faults is the path to healthiness.
I must admit, marriage is such a learning process. We have been married six months, and it has taken about that long to truly get each other on the most internal level and get on a rhythm as a couple.? It took fights and misunderstandings and vulnerability to get there, but man is it worth it. I know we still have so much learning ahead of us, but it has been the most enriching journey to experience thus far. Yes, we are both who we are individually, pursuing our own passions with freedom and support, but we will never allow too much distance.? Our priority is creating intentional time together to talk deeply, to not talk deeply, to crush, to flirt, to be adventurous and random, to lay in bed all day. We were both saying last night that we have never enjoyed spending time together as much as we do now!
A lot of what has brought us where we are is from not pushing conflict under the rug, fighting well (oh crap, we don?t always do that), but in the end, the struggle, the slamming of doors, and the crazy emotions all end in this appreciation for each other that could have never stemmed from a la-dee-dah day. A little tiff or frustration is always rooted in something bigger. If you get to the root, you will always find sweetness and a greater grace.
To wrap it all up in one final thought: you are in this specific time and place for a brilliant purpose. Use it to prepare for what may lie ahead. A marriage is so much ?easier? when you know yourself and see beauty in who God made you. When you know who you are as a woman, there is a sweet co-existence with your husband rather than a dangerous co-dependence. Yes, every story and transition is different, but marriage is so deeply satisfying when it isn?t rooted on yourselves. See the bigger picture. Be on each other?s team. Intentionally keep your relationship deep and exciting. Oh, and laugh. a lot.
Questions Asked by The Refined Woman
When you were single, what did you think marriage would be like? I felt like I could only grasp a vision of marriage from what I saw in marriages around me. I knew it required work and intentional communication from watching my parents and from being the mediator in some of my sister and her husband?s productive arguments. I knew it was such a joy to have someone to live life and create a home with. I knew it would be infused with lots of laughter and sweet memories. Even after seeing these things played out in front of me, I realized all that I had envisioned was a distance from experiencing marriage in reality. It is so much more cultivating, life-giving, and deepening than what I imagined.
What has been better than you expected? Living with a boy. Traveling together is my favorite. Lazy days with him are too good. I feel more loved the more vulnerable I am (he?s an angel). Creating a home together. Just being together. Going on dates. Hanging with friends. Marriage honestly makes everything so much better.
What transition are you looking forward to, in your marriage? Every transition! Kids, changes in career, retirement ha!
Photos by: Kat Harris, Lindsey Brittain, and Sarah Shreves