3 things I learned in our second year of marriage

David and I celebrated our second anniversary back in May, with dinner at Walker’s dessert at Caet, and dancing in the living room. Then we promptly dove deep into the Crazy that has been this last bit of our life. So here I am, thinking and writing about three things I learned in our second year of marriage, three months late.

1. I’m learning to relax. Part of this is because I’m married to the most laid back man on the planet. But a lot of this is because, even just two years later, our marriage feels a lot more solid, more real, more steady. At the beginning of a marriage, everything is brand new and one little injustice feels like a betrayal of enormous proportions. As time goes on, there’s more history. Now, instead of reacting intensely when something goes wrong, I try to ask myself, “Is this a one time thing or part of a bigger story?” I might snap at David sometimes, but the bigger story of our marriage (I hope) is that I’m kind and encouraging. David might show up to things late once and awhile but the bigger story of our marriage is that he is respectful of me and my time. Sometimes we get caught in patterns that we need to talk about, to break. And sometimes even a one-off thing can be so hurtful it needs to be discussed. But I’ve found us dealing with a lot less conflict when we take a breath and look at the big picture.

2. I’m learning that first and foremost, we’re both just people. When you’re married it’s easy to start thinking of your spouse in narrow frames of gender and role (he’s a man, he’s my husband, etc.). That’s how we’ve been cultured to think, through articles like “What Men Really Want You To Know” and “The Seven Things a Woman Needs.” (I made those titles up, but I bet they exist somewhere.) But underneath all those social trappings, David and I are both just people, with our own set of quirks and strengths and insecurities. When I think of David first as a human, as a child of God, as a friend, I tend to be more generous, more understanding, more loving, more forgiving.

3. I’m learning that small choices make a big impact. Playing Taylor Swift in the morning instead of moaning about getting up. Asking an intentional question about your spouse’s day instead of hurrying in and out. Calling just to say hello. Picking up the food you know the other one likes when you’re getting groceries. Sharing funny Facebook videos. Giving compliments. Our days, our marriages, our lives… they’re just one big string of choices, really. I’m learning that a bunch of tiny good choices can make for a really happy marriage.

I said this in last year’s post and I’ll say it again: this is a post about marriage, but really it’s about a lot more. I’m learning to relax in friendships, learning that my coworkers are ultimately just people, and learning to make intentional tiny choices in all areas of my life. Marriage is just one of many things that are deeply good in life… and all good things will be hard and beautiful and messy and joy-filled. (Usually all at the same time.)

p.s. Some good articles on marriage I’ve read lately: Lasting Relationships Come Down to Two Things, The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give, and Why Marriage Is Impossible.

p.p.s. Top photo by Chase Richardson, who didn’t think I was crazy when I said “hey! what if we get a school bus??” and is now a big deal over at followell|fotography.

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