I truly can’t believe it has already been a year and 4 months since our wedding day, Chase. A lot can happen in a year. This past year for us was filled to the max with one word: CHANGE. I am so graciously learning though that with change comes growth. Being pushed out of your comfort zone, having to be led where our trust is without borders, is exactly where the Lord wanted us. To think about all the things God can accomplish in one year is mind blowing. So this is me slowing down and reflecting on everything God has taught me about change, myself, marriage, and Him.
Since May 2014, here is a brief snapshot of the major events in our lives:
I graduated from Clemson University with a marketing degree.
We got married in Beaufort, SC on June 21, 2014.
Moved to Tampa knowing only one sweet family the day after our honeymoon (1 week after we were married)
Started a sales job
Chase got a promotion
We found a great church
Chase’s grandmother passed away
We gained a new nephew named Fowler (who is one out of our 6 nieces and nephews that we adore)
Took the Financial Peace University Class by Dave Ramsey (GAME CHANGER)
We started getting involved in the High School Student Ministry
Have met/ invested in some incredible students and families
I started working on staff for our church doing High School Ministry
My photography business dream has started to become a reality
Planned and went on mission trips to the D.R. and Alabama
Chase’s grandfather passed away
Preached a sermon….. (like I ever saw that one coming!!)
Learning what it looks like to be married, to put Chase before me
And time truly doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As much as there are some moments I wish would slow down, they just don’t. Life constantly changes and is throwing us curve balls. But one thing I am confident in is that the Lord never changes. He is faithful. His love never fails. That is where we need to put our hope.
As I reflect back on what God has taught/and still teaching me, specifically in our marriage, there are 3 key things that come to mind
Communication is the key… to everything. I heard this so much while we were engaged, that this was the number one key to a successful marriage… guess what, they were right! Communicating with the Lord is the most important, which then overflows in how I speak to people. How I communicate to Chase and how he communicates with me makes all the difference in the world. If I am selfish, prideful, or non confrontational, the conversation looks a lot different than if I go into each conversation knowing that we have each others best interest at heart! If I go into a conversation and speak life over him and speak in love then it completely changes his tone and the end goal, which is unity and growth!
Proverbs 16:24 says, “ Kind words are like honey; sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
It is so easy to say something in anger that later you look back on and regret. But this verse is so true, kind words are sweet to the soul. As Chase’s wife I am his number one fan, biggest cheerleader. And I need to remind him of who he is to me and all the things he is doing right. I also have come to realize that I can’t change myself or him. Only God can change a person. I am so glad that he doesn’t leave us in our mess, but desires for us to grow closer to Him, to be holy because he is holy!
The second topic I have learned to most about is finances, and just how deeply it affects our marriage. Financial planning and daily money spending are a huge deal. Honestly more than I ever realized. Chase was already very money conscious before we were married. I, on the other hand, wasn’t. It caused quite a lot of tension in our first few months of marriage. We definitely were not on the same team with the same goal in mind about how to spend/save/budget our money. Chase bribed me to take this class by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace Univeristy at our church, and it was truly like a light bulb went off in my head (thank you Jesus)!! It opened my eyes to see how we can make money work for us and be on the same page. GAME CHANGER. If you haven’t heard of this course I would highly recommend you trying it. If you are single, engaged, married, whatever!!
Check it out here and find the nearest class to you: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu . We followed the baby steps and are officially DEBT FREE after only 3 months into our marriage, which is awesome! God wants us to use our money wisely. Because if you live like no one else now, you will be able to live and give like no one else in the future. That was the part that resonated me, how you can bless your children’s children with they way you live today! Talk about generational blessing.
The last thing that I feel we have learned the most from are expectations, specifically unmet/misunderstood/not clearly communicated expectations. You know, the bad kind. What is an expectation? By definition it is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; assuming instead of communicating. Man, and let me tell you these are not fun. Expectations are literally the worst. How would Chase know that leaving the toilet seat up drives me crazy unless I tell him? Or that it drives him crazy when I say I will be there in 5 mins and show up 15 minutes later (who else is bad at time management, or is it just me?!) Or how would I know that Chase wanted to eat from home almost every night, while I like to eat out more? These are just a few examples of a whole year of figuring out how to communicate our expectations to one another. Always say what you need, and actively talk through what you are expecting, even if it seems obvious. We can't read each others minds yet :) The more we communicated the more we understood each others wants and the less confusion and disappointment came. Does this still happen a lot? Absolutely! But its a process of learning each other. The most beautiful part is that we have a lifetime to figure it out!
One thing I have learned is that Chase isn't perfect, but I'm sure not perfect either. It isn't my job to demand perfection or to be held to a standard of perfection. Instead we should hold ourselves to a standard of grace. Give more grace. Bear with each other. Keep Christ at the center of our relationship. Learn to laugh at ourselves and each other. Enjoy life together. Find joy in the little things. Love each other till there is no more love to give. I have learned that love and marriage is hard work. To lay that foundation of trust and to build your marriage around the cornerstone of Christ is difficult, but so worth it! I can’t even being to imagine what it will look like after being married for 50 years (if God blesses us with that many). All I know is I am crazy thankful for every moment I’ve given in this momentary life and marriage.