Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our first year of being married. Is marriage everything we were told it would be? Yes! And more.
We both value wisdom that comes from experience so we solicited as much advice and counsel as we could before we got married. We got married relatively young. We still are. Maybe that was why the given advice was mostly about the negative things to look out for. We got a lot of “concerned” looks. Maybe the elders took one look at us and got really nervous that our immaturity would magnify all the unseen little cracks in our 5-year relationship’s hull. They were right, there were a lot of nasty cracks.
It’s the little things that get you (that how-to-squeeze-toothpaste-out-of-the-tube issue is very real my friends), and it’s easy to get caught up in them. Despite all the great advice I got beforehand, I still spent too much time during the first few months of my marriage struggling about how to live with a man I had never lived with before. It’s not just living with a man either (my brother and I were roommates before I got married and we got along just fine). It was about living with this man.
My husband and I are known to close friends to be the “opposites-attract” couple. Or more like the ongoing social experiment if such a thing really works in the long-run. My husband is amazing – a people-person, a charmer, an athlete, a hard-worker, a doer. He is all of the things that I am not but wish I could be. On one hand, we compliment each other extremely well. On the other, the stark differences in our personalities made our tiny one-bedroom starter apartment felt like it was going to cave in any minute. All the small things I found to be attractive in this person I had dated for five years became overwhelmingly annoying in the man I had to live with for the rest of my life. It’s not that I suddenly discovered that he has bad traits (though I heard that happens), it’s more like I discovered that he has traits that are very different from my own. The polar differences in our personalities, upbringing, family life and daily routines all came to the harsh light after the wedding night. Being the control-freak that I am, it got to a point were I was crying and pulling my hair out-of-frustration. Once over laundry. Not a pretty sight to see in your young, new wife, I’m sure.
His reaction to it all? Choose to love me anyway. You see, one of the things that really attracted me to this man – and also one of the things that differentiates him from me – is his steadfastness. Sure, his short attention span and jack-of-all-trades vibe means he changes hobbies every couple of months – but when it comes to the big things, he doesn’t give up. I am a chronic giver-upper. When I’m hurt, sick and/or tired of something, it’s easy for me to walk away and not care. But this marriage? I cannot walk away. God gave me a husband who has had to literally hold me tight and pray for me while I throw a tantrum so bad it would put a two-year old’s to shame. It brings me shame, but mostly gratitude and a desire to do better. I thank God everyday. I thank my husband everyday.
Even so, I know even the most patient of people has a limited supply of patience. When you’re married to me, that supply is depleted way more often than it should. For this reason, at one point in the last few months of our first year, we’ve mutually decided to give up – on the attempt to do this by ourselves. We started this a year ago saying that God is the center of our marriage and we got derailed by the little things like toothpaste and laundry schedules. There were a few big things too, very big ones. But you know what? Our God is bigger and greater. There is nothing in us that makes it possible to make this marriage work. If left to ourselves, we’ll unravel this marriage faster than we can build it.
Therefore, we’ve decided NOT be an experiment on whether or not a marriage between opposites can work – but rather BE a testimony that God can make a marriage between two very-flawed, highly-depraved individuals not only survive, but thrive and be a blessing to others. We have many differences, but if there’s one thing we have in common and that we are certain of, it is the sufficiency of God’s grace. There may be cracks in the hull, but our God holds not only the ship, He has the entire ocean in His hands. God is not only our commonality, He is everything – in Him and through Him, everything comes together. He makes all the difference.
Happy Anniversary Miguel. You are the one my soul loves. I have you and I’m not letting you go. I am so proud to be your wife.