Apr 13, 2016

Looking Back At Our First 6 Months of Marriage

"Marriage is one of the most humbling, sanctifying journeys you will ever be a part of. It forces us to wrestle with out selfishness and pride. But it also gives us a platform to display love and commitment". 
(Francis Chan in You and Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity)

This weekend, we are celebrating six months of marriage! We had a dreamy wedding day last October and were ready to start our lives together (see wedding photos HERE). The fairy tales and chick-flicks usually roll to the credits before the newlyweds experience their first argument or realize how different they are from each other. It's just not fun to show those parts so viewers are often left to think life after the wedding is just as dreamy. But that's not reality, or atleast, not ours.  Our marriage is a beautiful mess, and we love it this way.

Marriage is beautiful: I feel so safe, loved, treasured, respected, and pursued by Greg. I think my heart doubled in size once  we got married because I feel like there is so much more love for this man every day. We are extremely happy to be over and done with long-distance and to be able to see each other every single day. What?! Sometimes I still can't believe it and I get giddy as it sets in! 2,000 miles apart from one another is a distant memory (hallelujah!).  I get to live with and go through life with my best friend. The one who knows me more than any other person on this earth. The first person I go to whenever I have happy or heartbreaking news. The one who holds me when when I am anxious. The one who does silly stuff in the apartment when we are goofy. The one who looks at me with heart emoji eyes. We have a lot of fun and we are doing it without FaceTime of our long-distance days. How cool is that? 

Marriage is also messy. We are both sinners daily in need of God's grace and we each came together in marriage with our own baggage (just like any other married couple do). When we choose to be humble and learn from our own mistakes and blunders, we grow and benefit from the whole messy part of being married. We can look back and see that our "messy" marriage has allowed us to dig deep and work through different areas that help us love, respect, and trust each other more. 

We are learning to love each other in ways we each receive best, even if that is a different way than we ourselves receive love (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman helped us immensely with this!!).  
I am learning that it is ok to be vulnerable and let my walls down because I can trust Greg and feel safe in knowing that he won't run away once he sees some of those hard parts of my heart. Only when we allow each other to step into those hard parts of us do we see the depth of their love for us. I saw that while we were dating, but now that he knows and sees all of me, it is sometimes initially scary to open up and talk about hard things. But it is always worth it and I am always in awe of how great it feels to lay down any masks or walls that can prevent me from being authentic, raw, honest, and real in our marriage.
We are learning to communicate in healthier ways even through hard conversations, which for me is super difficult because I tend to avoid confrontation and conflict like the plague. I am definitely learning that not all conflict is bad. Conflict can be healthy and draw us closer if done in healthy, loving ways rather than practicing unhealthy habits like assuming he worst, avoiding issues, and blaming (uh, guilty x 3).  
I am learning to be humble and set my own needs or "rights" aside, which for me has been most difficult during conversations where I want to defend myself or blurt out excuses for my hurtful words or behaviors rather than validating Greg in the times I hurt him (War of Words by Paul David Tripp taught me a lot about what has been at the heart of my communication struggles)

Marriage is revealing. I see my own sin and inability to be a "perfect" wife that I sometimes try to expect myself to be. I am realizing pride, selfishness, defensiveness, and a need to be right all the time. I am seeing myself being insensitive and sarcastic at times. I am seeing perfectionism in me that threatens to do more harm than good. It's an ugly thing to see, but it also is very humbling because I see a few things through this. Rather than only focusing on the brokenness, I want to shift my focus and place my eyes on some pretty amazing things I have been seeing in the past 6 months of marriage.

I see God's love for me in spite of all of this ugliness in me. It's no surprise to Him because He's seen these tendencies in me all along.  
I see His Holy Spirit tenderly but effectively convicting my heart of times I hurt Greg and teaching me to shut up so I can listen to Greg rather than trying to excuse my behavior. 
 I see God's grace for me even in my worst. I see His forgiveness and His ability to bring me to repentance to Him and to my husband. 
I see a God who has not given up on me and will not give up on me. He won't fail me. He won't leave me. And He certainly is not through with me.  
 I see a husband who mirrors these same things in a beautiful way that reminds me of God's love. Greg has been so loving, forgiving, and reflects God's grace so well in our marriage. He doesn't shy away from tough conversations or letting me know when I have done something hurtful or mean. But he does it in a way that lets me know his love is still deeper than that hurt. I am learning the very practical wisdom of Proverbs 27:17 ("As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend"). Greg sharpens me. Though the process is never easy or enjoyable (think of the grating noise that comes from sharpening your knives), it ends up blessing us both. We have been growing more deeply in our love as we work through different issues and feel more respected and validated in those times too. I still have plenty to learn and grow from, but I am in awe of how loved I am by God and by Greg. 
I also see that I need to give myself some grace and self-kindness. I think it is vital that we allow ourselves to be imperfect and even to fail. I can't expect perfection for myself because it is impossible, so I will only end up feeling defeated. But the times I allow myself to grow from mistakes, to laugh at myself rather than being horrified that I said or did something wrong in front of someone else, and to be ok with not having it all together, I can breathe deeper and see myself more clearly. I can see my worth as a child of an almighty and loving Father God rather than someone trying to earn her own identity or worth.
These first six months of marriage have been beautiful and they've been messy. But through it all, I have been so incredibly blessed with a man who loves me so well and a God who loves us both so perfectly. We do not have a perfect marriage, but to be honest, who does?! We have things we are working through and rather than trying to appear like we having it all together, we want to be honest and show that it is not about us and our attempts to make this marriage work. It is God's work in us, two sinners in desperate need of God each and every day to show us how to love and forgive like He does. I hope our marriage, in all of its imperfectness, can be a platform to display love and commitment that  our perfect God has so graciously given us.  I am excited to see where the next six months takes us. Though the road ahead is uncertain, I can stand firm in knowing that God is faithful and will continue to lead Greg and I through whatever lessons and hard things ahead and that we fill continue to find joy in the every day.

(wedding photos by Vio Regus Photography)


  1. Well said, sis! Happy 6 months!! It gets even more beautiful with every anniversary! (It's amazing how that's possible!!) -Monica Haj

  2. This is such a beautiful post! And SO ACCURATE. Isn't it crazy how much marriage can take a magnifying glass to our lives in such profound, beautiful, wild, ugly, lovely ways? I love this post! Also HOLLAH to The Five Love Languages!!! <3 haha so good!


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Elle Alice