Today we celebrate five years of marriage! Time is flying!! I remember waking up on our wedding day feeling so calm and excited to finally begin our lives together. We started dating sophomore year of high school so after seven years we were ready!
We thought it would be special today to share five lessons we learned in our five years of marriage…
(I also realized we have not taken any photos together since we announced we were having a baby so we set up our self-timer and snapped a few special mom + dad moments!)
The Power of Praying for Each Other
One of the best pieces of advice I remember holding onto during pre-marital counseling was the importance of praying for your spouse. Chas says that daily praying specific things for me, for us, and for our marriage and family, has been a habit that has borne great fruit.
A Short Lag Time
“Lag-time” was a term given during a sermon in our first few months of marriage, which means the time between when a conflict starts and a conflict is resolved. I’m embarrassed to admit that I could stretch out that lag time quite a bit during our first year of marriage. It really resonated with us back then, and it has stuck with us today! We are thankful to The Lord that each year we notice our lag time gets shorter and shorter (which means less silent treatment and more happy times *wink*).
Counseling is Healthy
At the beginning of the year Chas brought up the idea of couples’ counseling, to which I proudly replied, “I don’t need counseling.” Bless my heart. Moving to Chicago has been one of the best things for us in our marriage. We were not going through any serious struggles, and that’s what I previously thought counseling was for. When I switched my perspective and viewed it as an opportunity to grow and to be proactively establishing healthy rhythms so we can be on the same team when baby arrives, that made all the difference (Chas explained that it would be like an oil change, even though the car was running well). And honestly, I think I enjoyed it more than Chas! We found the most wonderful certified Christian couples’ counselor through Moody Bible Institute close to our apartment and gleaned many practical ways that can help equip us to get out of negative communication cycles. We also got to reflect more deeply together on deeper areas of our emotional lives. Five months later, we are more in love and grateful for each other as we celebrate 5 years and eagerly await the arrival of our little fella.
I think it took the first full year of marriage for me to fully realize Chas could not actually read my mind. Sounds silly, but many of our disagreements would stem from a root of unmet expectations. Once I realized this we decided it is always better to over communicate and verbalize our expectations before they happen.
Be Familiar with Each Other’s Love Languages
A genuine word of encouragement or affirmation fills my cup and Chas has always been so good at this. Not a day has gone by these past nine months that he hasn’t told me how beautiful I look or complimented me during this pregnancy. I used to reply with, “You have to say that,” which I discovered wasn’t the best response. I have learned to graciously accept his kind words, and it makes me want to find ways to make him feel loved, helped, and respected. Often times he feels this way when we get to spend quality time together, phones away without any distractions. If you aren’t sure what your love language is you can take a short quiz here!
Marriage is hard work. Holy work. It takes time and intention. We are not perfect and our marriage certainly is not perfect, but we are grateful that we can honestly say each year just keeps getting better and better. There will continue to be mountains and valleys, but the keys for us have been remembering the lifelong, eternal covenant we made to each other five years ago, keeping a lifelong perspective, and allowing The Lord to be at the center of our relationship.