Sunday, July 15, 2012

Married Life, Day #366*

*Yep! We got a bonus day! J

One year ago today, I said “I do” and began life with my love.

We have a wall in our home that is filled with wedding pictures. I like to refer to it as my happy wall. Every time I look at those pictures, I think back to our wedding day and it puts a smile on my face. We really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. Not because all the details were perfect; but because we were surrounded by the people we love and who love us. Our ceremony was beautiful. Our reception was a BLAST. I was literally bursting with joy, and the day just felt fun and stress-free. We truly enjoyed all of it, from start to finish.

I just have to say that I really love married life, and I am just so thankful for my sweet husband. I know we have only just begun our journey, but already it has been one that I feel blessed to travel with him daily. As many of you know, we chose the “rip-the-band aid-off-real-fast” method of starting life together: Mike quit his job, we got married, left our church family, moved to McKinney, and started the process of planting a church. As crazy as that sounds, the Lord has been gracious to us in this year of major life change. And I wouldn't change any of it.

Reflecting on the last year, there has been no shortage of things to learn. And I know I have years and years of things to learn. But I want to be mindful of what the Lord has done (and is doing) in our lives, so I want to try to reflect often on the things He is teaching me…

God’s timing is perfect. There have been countless times when the Lord has pointed this out to me. To think how much I struggled with being single in my early twenties, and how much I wanted to be married at the time…God certainly knows what He is doing. Obviously His timing is perfect in simply getting me to DFW to even meet Mike. But more than that, I think of how ridiculous I was and how there is no way I could have handled being married back then haha. I can’t tell you how often I have reflected on how “21-year-old Erin” vs. “27-year-old Erin” would have responded in a particular situation…I certainly see the Lord’s protection [for Mike] in that ;) But seriously, there are so many implications of the timing of when we got married, and more than anything it is a testimony to the Lord’s grace in our lives and how He has worked in my heart over the years.

Always suspect yourself first. Let me preface by saying: I am terrible at this. I like to be right. My sinful little heart is good at pointing the finger and setting up the facts in my brain to favor my side of things. We discussed this idea in our marriage mentoring, and it really hit home and has stuck with me. In a slightly irritating good, godly way. The Lord is using this simple phrase to teach me how to truly die to myself and serve Mike. The premise? When I am frustrated with him or I don’t agree with what he has said or done, my first step should be to suspect myself first. In other words, I need to check my own heart and pinpoint my own sin first. That could mean identifying my own fault in the current situation or merely reminding myself that I too am a hopeless sinner in need of patience, love, and grace. Because on the extremely rare occasion that I carry no portion of the blame in the present situation, I have the perfect opportunity to exhibit grace and love to my husband. Because 100% of the time, the situation will be reversed, and I would want him to be gracious and loving to me. This little thought in the back of my mind has been incredibly humbling, and I know it has saved us from many unnecessary and unwarranted comments/actions/arguments.

Seek out an older wiser couple. I cannot emphasize this enough. I mean it; seek the counsel of a couple who is further down the road from you (by at least 10 years). Your friends are helpful to an extent, but you really need someone who is past the honeymoon phase, someone who has “gotten down into the trenches” of their marriage. They are just smarter and way more savvy. Mike and I have been blessed to have the precious Stonehouses in our lives. It is such an encouragement to meet with them every month, and I always walk away comforted by the fact that I have a couple I can go to for anything related to marriage. Not because they have the perfect marriage; no one does. But because they love Jesus and each other. Because they are transparent and humble. Because they have allowed us the opportunity to peer into their marriage, ask questions, and pray with/for us.

Mike is my Mr. Perfect. Early in our dating relationship, my dad nicknamed Mike “Mr. Perfect.” Even had it programmed into his phone that way haha. Of course, it was born out of my twitter-pated stage of constantly gushing over how wonderful and magnificent and fabulous Mike was. [Insert my dad’s eye roll here] In my defense: I couldn’t help myself- he was and is pretty awesome. On more than one occasion, poor Mike has met a family member or parental friend with the phrase “Oh, so you’re Mr. Perfect!” Haha- sorry Babe. Anyway, I mention the silly nickname, not to enforce the idea that Mike is perfect, because of course he isn’t. But the tables haven’t been turned either, revealing some completely different person. Mike is 100% genuine, and he is my Mr. Perfect. Meaning the Lord gave me not only the husband I wanted, but exactly the husband that I needed. I know I have only scratched the surface of understanding the Lord’s provision in that, but even in this one year I have seen how much he is my compliment. Our individual strengths compliment each other's weaknesses, and Mike is the one who challenges and encourages me in ways that no one else can.

I am so thankful for this first year of marriage, and I look forward to many, many more to come. I love you, Babe! :)


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