My husband and I celebrated our third anniversary this month. I know we haven’t been married long, but it’s becoming hard to remember life without him. These past three years have been a crazy, wonderful, and sometimes challenging ride. We’ve lived in three states, completed our master’s degrees, have a beautiful one-year-old child, and are currently planting a church in our nation’s capitol. There have been a lot of stress-filled, tear-shed, knocked-down kind of days, but there have also been many joy-filled, triumphant days.
Along with the celebration of our anniversary, we have created a tradition to go back and watch our wedding video. As I watched our younger selves on that video, I thought about what I would tell that love-struck, giddy girl who was about to walk down the isle three years ago. I was so naive to know the love I would experience, the lessons I would learn, the battles I would fight, or the refining that was in store.
So here are three lessons I wish I could go back and share with myself:
1) Love God first.
I know that this sounds simple, but I underestimated how easily this truth can be forgotten. In our first year of marriage, I made the mistake of putting my husband before God. It was so easy to want to spend all my time and attention on my husband, that I allowed my relationship with God to be put on the sideline. I was so focused on trying to make sure that I was loving my husband well, that I didn’t realize I was hindering my marriage by not loving God more. I had forgotten the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind.” I needed to make sure God was the priority in my time and attention, not just my husband. When I did start putting God first I ended up growing closer to my husband and loving him better than I could have on my own.
2) Marriage is not a fixer upper.
When we got married I came with a bag of insecurities, things I had not overcome in my singleness. I thought marriage would be the perfect solution to my problems, but I was wrong. It only made them worse. Satan used these insecurities to feed me lies like I wasn’t good enough, and my husband deserved someone better. I had to learn to fight against the lies by not depending on my husband to cure them, but by feeding myself Scripture and overcoming them through God’s power. A passage I clung to was Ephesians 6:12-18, reminding me that Satan will try to tear me down, so I must armor myself with Gods truth.
3) Marriage doesn’t mean you will never feel lonely.
Though I married my best friend and we get to do life together, it doesn’t mean that we are immune to loneliness. Loneliness has crept into our marriage these last three years when we’ve had disagreements, when we’ve become too busy to focus on the other, or when we’ve not been honest or open. Because we are two imperfect people, if we do not work at our marriage or communicate well, we can grow distant. Date nights, evening prayer time before bed, and continually working on communication with the other are just some of the ways we’ve found to help us avoid growing distant. Marriage is not something that simply comes easy; it takes a lot of time and work to continue to build a healthy relationship.
As I look back and remember that young girl three years ago, I am so thankful for the growth God has brought in my life and in our marriage. I love my husband more now than I could have ever imagined. So here is to year four, may God continue to teach and refine me through my marriage and deepen my love for Him and my husband.