September 16, 2013

the best kind of work

as of yesterday, we've been married for 5 weeks - and they have been the best 5 weeks of our life. but, they've also been hard weeks. weeks of learning, growing, and a melt down or two (or three). there are a lot of things we didn't expect to face so quickly, a lot of little issues we had to tackle, and tackle quickly before they festered. and you know what? i didn't expect it to be that way at all. the wedding planning was hard and exhausting, and i had heard from many past brides that "you can really only be engaged for so long before you're totally over being engaged." and i felt that, i got that. but i also thought that after the madness of wedding planning was over, married life would just happen - naturally and easily. at least for the first few months. don't get me wrong, Travis and i knew that marriage is work, lots of work, and we didn't go into it thinking it would be sunshine and rainbows. i just don't think i expected the work to come so quickly. 

and it has always been my heart, our heart, to be authentic, to be real about our lives. i realized earlier this morning that as people see what i put out into the universe about marriage (on instagram, or Facebook, or wherever else), they might think that marriage is perfect, that it's everything and more than you could ever imagine. and it is. it absolutely is. but it is not always picture perfect. but i felt like it should be.

as we started meeting up with friends again and running into people at church after the honeymoon, everyone excitedly asked us about "married life," and we were so excited to share. but i almost felt guilty for sharing the hard stuff. like, "oh yes it's the best thing ever, but we've only been married for 3 weeks, and it's already hard," as if it shouldn't be or something. and i was afraid people would get the wrong idea (because i care a lot about what people think, and i'm working on that, dear reader). but as i've shared the lessons we've learned and the challenges we're facing, i got emphatic nods of agreement from everyone around me (well, almost everyone). so for all of you who are thinking about getting married soon or are fantasizing about marriage and how perfect it will be, or if you're engaged and are getting married soon, i just wanted to share my heart, our lessons, so that maybe, when these things happen to you, you won't feel guilty, or wrong, or embarrassed. 

// taking two lives and making them one just sounds like it will be difficult. and if you think about it, that's what marriage is - taking two people and uniting them into one life. so yes, it's messy. but it isn't the little things like "oh my gosh i can't stand how my husband leaves his clothes piled on the floor" or "it just drives me CRAZY when he does this." we haven't really run up against that (but you might, so don't bank on it). fortunately, we created a lot of time and space before we were married, even before we were engaged, to talk about those things. but sometimes those things do come up, and talking about it right away is the best way to fix it. and then they don't have to become bigger things. 

// see my previous post about organizing and thrifting and cleaning and organizing and emptying boxes and moving. the first few months of marriage are still a transition. and transitions aren't the easiest thing. they test you and force all of the uglies in you out. and you'll get to do that together. keep communicating. 

// prepare for the unexpected. i don't know why it happened, but shortly after we got home from the honeymoon, life started to rain on us. nope, it poured. the car needed to go in the shop, the moped started making funny noises, street sweeping kicked our butts in the form of 3 parking tickets, the heat wave sapped all of our energy (and became a huge barrier between cuddling and canoodling together - sweat is not attractive or romantic, people), and the list goes on. it sounds trivial, but it was work for us. and we had to learn how to face life as a team. how to approach things together when our own separate ways of coping and dealing are sometimes different. 

// put Jesus first. it sounds like a no-brainer, but it's hard to do sometimes, you know? 

// make time for each other. especially husbands - date your wives. ladies, knowing how to cook is a plus. it may sound old-fashioned to you, but the cliche is true: the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. love him with dinner and cookies and pancakes for breakfast. make your house a home, a haven. it's the little things.

// communicate your expectations, about everything. about how you expect the day to go, what you expect to do that night, how you expect to spend your time together. don't share those expectations because "it's my way or the highway, so this is the way it's gonna go down." share them so that you can give and take, and end up on the same page (because that's the best place to be).

// appreciate each other. appreciate how you love each other and show it. girls, it may not be in the form of a bouquet of flowers or a romantic date night. today, he might love you by washing the dishes for you or heating up your lunch or making your coffee in the morning. don't miss those acts of kindness because you wanted something else (something that, let's be honest, might not even be realistic, or maybe you want it because that's how they do it). you're living your own story together, not some idealized version or someone else's "perfect" life. appreciate the things that make your story unique, make it yours.

this is all just my two cents. you can take it or leave it. but know that they honeymoon might just end when the honeymoon ends, and then it's real life. and that's ok. and reality is better than it was before, because you get to do life together now. speak words of encouragement, show thoughtfulness and kindness, be a team. celebrate the lessons you've learned. i'm so grateful that we've had opportunities to build strong foundations early on. don't avoid the tough things or be afraid of them; let them make you better, now. 

and celebrate marriage, because it rocks.

photo by Jillian Zamora Photography


  1. You've already learned SO much in your first 5 weeks and you two are dealing with it incredibly. Marriage is hard work, and I felt it early on in the beginning as well, but felt SO guilty for saying it out loud to someone else. I felt like a horrible wife, but that's LIFE. It's not all rainbows and's REAL.

    love you friend and i am always here with a listening ear :)

    1. aw you're the best - your comments always encourage and uplift me! thanks for being on the same page as me in all those things; we're so lucky to have you and sam! =)