comments on being married, month 6

i love that today is our six monthiversary. it feels like we've reached our first real milestone. 0.5 years! gotta love the sound of that...

(oh hi mom and dad. this doesn't sound impressive compared to your 35.5? well, we've got to start somewhere...catch you someday.)

question: how long are you married before you no longer qualify as newly weds? are we there yet? in ways we still feel like newly weds, but in ways it's hard to remember what it was like to not be married. the transition seemed so natural. i've heard from other couples that this is normal. 

newly weds or not, i noticed something recently: when i sat down to write the typical "bridal shower advice" card for a friend who is getting married, i discovered that while i had lots of great advice to pass on that we had been given when we got married, i also had some of my own--things i had learned during these past six months of marriage. i felt like i'd gone from a place of "i am married and know nothing about marriage!" to "i might know one or two things about marriage now. maybe not five things. but at least one or two."

here was some of the advice that stuck with us the most when we were getting married:

-"don't have arguments in bed/in your bedroom. if you have to settle it, get out of bed and go into another room and talk it out." (ian robinson) this is good. it's good to keep your room a safe and peaceful place. keep it somewhere for rest...and other things...and not a place of conflict. it makes a big difference when you both crawl into bed at night knowing that you can relax. and snuggle. 

-"put toothpaste on one another's brush each morning/night." (amber porter) it's a little act of service and humility. even if the warm and fuzzy feelings are lacking that day, serving one another (even in this little way) is a reminder of what marriage is suppose to be about.

-"save the romance. keep the bathroom door closed." (lindsay sauer) thank you lindsay. we are strict followers of the closed door policy. superb wisdom.

haha, i'm not sure why all the advice that revolves around the bedroom/bathroom has stuck with us the most. we received lots of other great advice too. kitchen and livingroom advice even. i just can't remember it right now.

ok, now here are one or two things that we have learned so far:

-these two things are important to learn early on: 
1. how to make decisions together 
2. how to quickly and lovingly resolve conflicts

the right way to do this probably looks different for every couple, so i won't say how you should do them. but, i will say, learn how to do them as soon as you can. pray through it together and use each opportunity as a chance to learn rather than an opportunity to fight to the end. sometimes all it takes is an, 

"ad, can we just be sweet now?" 

but usually, it will take a little bit more. just show grace as you figure out what this process looks like for you.

-learn when it is prudent to speak words of correction into one another's lives...and when it is prudent to just keep your mouth shut tightly up. ultimately, God changes hearts. God changes attitudes. God changes people. and He is way better at it than we are. so, if in doubt, shut up, and pray. first, for your own attitude. second, that God will lovingly speak correction into the areas of your spouse's life that He sees fit. save most of your words for building one another up. not for pointing out areas of weakness.

ok, so maybe three

-this is more for women but, if you want your husband to be a strong leader in your family, let him lead. don't say you want him to be a leader and then squelch his every opportunity by inserting your own will and opinion, at the expense of his. this doesn't mean you don't count. it just means, let him learn to lead. and trust that he'll do so with your best interest at heart. remember, he loves you! that's why he married you.

i basically believe all marriage advice can be summed up in this: dying to self. i've said that before, i know. on our third monthiversary i wrote this poem for adam and something in it rings truer and truer everyday--loving someone means stripping off our nature, putting on Christ's, and carrying our cross. and following him together. 

so, that's what i've got.

what has God been teaching you about marriage lately?

(photos by eric kelley photography)

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