Friday, July 31, 2015

Spouse Interviews - Part of the What I Wish I Knew Before I Got MarriedSeries

Hello dear readers! 
Today is the final day in What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married: Reflections and Advice Celebrating Marriage. I don't like to pose questions I am unwilling to answer myself, so today's post comes to you from us two newlyweds. B and I sat down and came up with some questions and answers to see what wisdom we could offer after just over a month of wedded bliss. 
I hope you enjoy reading our thoughts as much as we did writing this. 

Without further ado, I give you our Spouse Interviews. 

1. How would you introduce me on Twitter aka in 140 characters or less?
C: Computer scientist, board game fan, fun-loving nerd with a heart of gold. 
B: Beautiful, caring, sensitive, short, cute, passionate, astute, planner.

2. What is the best marriage wisdom you have received?
C: When we announced our engagement my grandfather said, "And now you really get to know each other." So very true for engagement and marriage.
B: Some things are not worth fighting for- you choose your arguments.

3. What do you wish you had known before marriage?
C: Praying together is hard. It's hard to make time and it can be challenging and awkward at first. I'm still learning how we each pray best and ways of joining it together. But the effort is worth it.
B: How much my priorities would change.

4. What were you thinking when you/I walked down the aisle?
C: I was feeling overwhelmed with emotion so I told myself to just look and walk to you 
and then I was just so full of joy.
B: Wow. 

5. What were you thinking when we cut the cake?
C: Should I shove it? Will he shove it? I told him not to. He won't, but if I do, will he? I'm going to do it!
B: I knew you were going to shove it in my face and I wasn't allowed to retaliate.

6. What was the biggest surprise of the wedding day?
C: When our bridal party spontaneously serenaded us to "Just the Way You Are" while they danced around us in a circle- hand motions and all. 
B: I had no idea there was such a thing as a Groom's cake. That was neat.

7. What did you learn on the honeymoon?
C: How to bodysurf. You still can't read my mind.
B: Always double check your flight times.

8. What have you learned about yourself this past month?
C: A lot! I'm learning how to share every day life with some one, especially allowing some one else to help carry your burdens.
B: How selfish and independent I was before.

9. What has been the funniest thing to happen so far?
C: Your reaction to my organizing the closet by color.
B: When I dusted the bathroom with the shirt off my back and you shouted, "I'm living with a boy!"

10. What is your favorite part of marriage?
C: Everything ;) I especially love lazy weekend mornings when we can have a nice breakfast, sit around and talk.
B: Not having to drive home to two different houses. 

11. Anything else?
B: Having 11 questions bothers you doesn't it? You want to make it an even number don't you?
C: Yes.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Marriage Has Taught Me - Part of the What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Series

When I ran a similar series on my blog several years ago, I was thrilled to get guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers. But one blogger's response stopped me in my tracks. When I wrote asking for a guest post from this particular lady, who'd only been married a few years at the time, she wrote back that she couldn't contribute a post because she honestly couldn't think of anything that she wished she'd known before she got married.

I was surprised and a part of me didn't believe her… until Christina asked me to write a post on this same topic for her fantastic continuation of this series. Suddenly I understood what she'd meant. I have learned so much, changed so much, and grown so much since I got married—even though I've only been married for two short years.Yet I'm not sure that I would have wanted to know in advance what marriage would be like since I don't think my former self would have understood. 

Don't worry, I still managed to answer the question. :) I thought for a long time about it and gradually managed to distill what I've learned so far about marriage into a few simple truths.

First, I've learned that marriage holds up a mirror to your truest self—and you won't always like what you see.

I thought I was a relatively "together" person until I married a very organized and orderly husband. In our first year of marriage we clashed frequently over little areas of organization; he couldn't understand why I let messes grow, while I couldn't understand why it mattered. For the longest time I thought it was all his fault for being impatient about the house being clean, but gradually I came to see that he had good reasons for his tidy ways. I needed to change and improve. Now I make a much greater effort to clean up little messes as I make them rather than letting them build up to a giant breaking point—and he is working on being more patient when I can't get to them right away.

I wish I knew before I got married that any personal growth I could do (whether in orderliness, patience, fitness, financial responsibility, or anything else) before getting married would result in a happier and more peaceful life after I got married.

Second, I've learned that marriage will lead to great growth in maturity.

It's really crazy to look back on the past two years and see how much my husband and I have grown and changed. I don't think we were THAT immature as newlyweds, but we were still pretty unfamiliar with the lived, day-to-day reality of learning to put another person's needs before your own. Of course we are still working on it (and always will be!) but I can see real evidence of tangible growth in both of us, and that makes me really happy and excited for what the future will hold. I had heard that being married for many decades is like being married to various different people at different times because each of you will change so much, and that thought used to scare me—until I realized that actually, we were both changing for the better.

I wish I knew before I got married that I was a lot less mature than I thought I was and that both my husband and I still had plenty of growing up to do—but that marriage was the perfect place for us to grow in maturity together.

Third, I've learned to trust in second chances.

Forgiveness is a huge part of marriage—no matter how much you love each other, you will inevitably hurt each other; the sooner you learn to forgive and give each other another chance, the happier you both will be. (The Sacrament of Confession is a great help here!) But more than that, I've learned that you don't have to put too much weight on doing things "perfectly" right off the bat, because you will have other chances to handle situations differently.

I wish I knew before I got married that it's ok if you don't get things right the first time. That's the beauty of this relationship: you are committed to each other for the rest of your lives. You have time to grow, and change, and mess up, and make mistakes—and come back stronger for them. You can try again.


For good measure, I asked a few of my friends if they would share their responses to "What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married". They had so many great things to say that I couldn't narrow it down, and had to share them all with you!

"Marriage is a vocation, not a vacation. It takes work and constantly making the choice to put someone else before yourself."

"Learn to discern together whether you need to use NFP to avoid pregnancy, and if you do, how to connect in those times of abstinence."

"I wish I knew that it was possible to love someone so much that you feel like your heart could just burst on a regular basis."

"Foster shared hobbies and activities you can do together at home. Find new ways to keep that spark and fun alive in the free time you have after the kids go to bed and before you go to bed."

"Striving for holiness as a single person helps you be a better spouse once you are married. I wish I knew how selfish decisions I made as a single person now affect my marriage and spouse."

"Maintain an attitude of gratitude! Take time every day to consciously do at least one kind thing for the other (there will most likely be lots of kind things, but I mean one you have to go out of your way to do) and at the end of the day, think of at least one thing your spouse did that day that made you feel loved/appreciated. Then THANK YOUR SPOUSE for whatever it was they did. 'Honey, thank you so much for noticing and taking out the trash.' Or maybe he didn't notice and you had to ask him. 'Honey, thank you so much for being gracious about taking out the trash.' Please and thank you are magic words."

"This is kind of crass, but... Sex is messy!"

"One of the most important realizations for me was that after the honeymoon stage fades over time, my husband is a human who falls short just like I do and will hurt my feeling sometimes. And when it happens, the only thing to do is take that pain and disappointment to the foot of Jesus and tell him how it feels so he can heal those hurts and they don't cause any enmity between you and your spouse."

"I always hear how hard marriage is but honestly, other than little things (like putting laundry in the hamper), it hasn't been all that difficult! (Thankfully!) I never knew how much more I could love my husband! I love seeing him go to work everyday to provide for us, I love taking care of him in ways like- laundry, making his lunch, getting him his favorite cookie when I see them on sale... It seems like every year brings more love for each other. I never knew that would happen."

"Never stop dating."

Tess is a textbook editor living in Chicago with the two loves of her life, Frank and Frankie.
You can read about their adventures and ideas for living life the "Little House way" in the big city at her blog, Little House in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sweet Beginnings - Part of the What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Series

Stasia here… I blog over at Our Life on a Budget. I am wife to Andrew, mama to two year old Bailey Drew and two week old Jameson! 
 I am excited for the opportunity to share a little bit of what I wish I knew before I got married!

Here we are… Andrew and Stasia 6.5 years ago… wedded marital bliss right???

And what is the one thing we heard over and over and OVER again as we entered our first year of marriage…
"The first year of marriage is the hardest!"
I mean, who has not heard that, or at least one form or another of that statement.  We even read a book in our premarital counseling called something to the extent of The Most Important Year of Your Life (the book itself was really good… just the idea behind the title).

But I am here to clear the air a bit, while the first year is important, and new, and different, that does not mean it will be the hardest.  When we got married, I had just graduated college, moved to a new city and started my first teaching job.  Talk about a lot of life change.  And it was over that year, as our relationship grew through being married that we had some of the sweetest times.  Don't read me wrong here, there were difficulties, but they had more to do with outside stressors while we chose to use our relationship to grow and get through the stressors.  

I think in most cases, when you choose to, the first year of marriage does not have to be the hardest year, but a sweet time of growth!!! And guess what?  The first year is just the first year.  God willing you have MANY years to come.  I remember getting to the end of the first year and saying… "Oh no!  First year, most important year is over and we don't have everything figured out!"  Then Andrew… my good old voice of reason... said we had time, a lot more time.  So here we are approaching 7 years of marriage- each year better, each year we learn more, each year good and hard AND important.

So when you enter that first year, pursue Christ, pursue each other and serve together.  Keep the attitude that this will be a great year through the good and the bad, because you are doing it together!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Talk: What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Reader Appreciation

Happy Tuesday!

As July comes to a close and the end of our month celebrating marriage draws nearer, 
I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for reading and sharing this series.
It really means the world to me to have you join me each day.
Thank you.

To celebrate you today, I am sharing some of the advice you have shared with me 
in your comments and posts in our Tuesday Talk link up this month.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

 “Marriage is hard work. 
Choosing the right man and choosing to be the right woman is not easy.”   
~ Kara at A Spirit of Simplicity

 "I think the most important thing I learned about marriage is that love is a choice."
~ Sarah of  Foxy's Domestic Side

I have to say the biggest piece of advice I would give: Forgiveness, a must! 
When there is forgiveness, there is no room for resentment and bitterness, the two components of an unhappy marriage, even when two people are living under the same roof.  
~ Michelle of Grammie Time

by Lauren at Sobremesa Stories 

“When we finish a hard conversation or walk away from an argument and feel frustrated, we often need to be reminded that our marriage is about more than whatever just unfolded in the living room or kitchen or car ride.  Our marriages are more than the sum total of our good days and our bad days, of our sweet, joyful moments and our all-out arguments.”

by Ruthie at Ruthie's Kozi Kitchen

"Marriage is: fun - yet exhausting; conventional - yet atypical; comforting - yet frightening;
 joyful - yet miserable; palatable - yet bitter; sublime - yet ridiculous...
You get the picture. Marriage is a Kaleidoscope of adjectives run amok."

by Diane at Fearless Fruitful Faith

“I think the reason why God waited to create Eve is because He wanted Adam to feel the need for a helper; He wanted Adam to realize God’s perfect plan but by doing so, Adam needed to feel alone first. Only then, when Adam truly felt he needed someone did God create Eve.”

by Sarah at The Life of This Mother

“I was not the joy waiting for him when he got home, as much as I tried to be the "perfect" wife, it wasn't what he needed. He needed me - secure in the Lord, secure in my soul, secure as the woman God had made me to be. He needed a companion, a helpmeet, a lover - not a tearful, overwrought and needy wife.”

by Alexis at Chemistry Cachet

“Deep down, I figured a good looking marine wouldn’t want a long distance relationship, so I kept a nonchalant attitude. We continued to text and talk especially on the weekends. It was amazing how long we could talk on the phone…6 hours was not unusual for us. We had so much in common and never ran out of conversation.”  

 Thank you, sweet ladies!

Now for the Link Up!

Please make sure you link back to at least one of the hosts in your post, sidebar, or party page for the opportunity to be selected for our feature posts or pinned to our board.
Your blog is being shared on our 13 blogs and we would love it if you would return the favor and link back to us (you can grab the button below)! Thanks so much!

Waltzing In Beauty

 Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here
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What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Series - for

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I cannot wait to read your post!
Thanks for stopping by! 

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