Next Tuesday, on November 6th, Ben and I celebrate our one year anniversary. A year ago, my life was in a frantic state of packing and moving, planning and prepping for a wedding, a honeymoon, and well, a new life shared with my soon-to-be-husband. Will the caterers show up on time with enough servers? Did we order enough candles? Will it rain? How will the photos turn out? Will we be able to merge our closets and have enough room for all our shoes? (We sadly discovered the answer to that last one was NO.)
A year later, I’m still asking questions: Did I remember to get the French onion dip Ben likes at the grocery store? Did we pay rent yet? When do we both have a night in and should we Netflix and chill or go out? Are we ready to be parents? When will we be able to afford a larger place here in the city? Should we send out Christmas cards this year… or any year, really?
Sometimes, I look at Ben, and it feels like just yesterday we were sitting across from each other on our first date. Other times I look at him, and I can’t remember a time he wasn’t in my life.
He’s my person.
He’s the one that makes me laugh harder than any other. He’s the one who infuriates me like no one else. He’s the one who sees me with no makeup, messy hair, bad breath, and an exposed pimple, and tells me, “You’re so beautiful, babe.” He’s the one who listens to me vent after a long day. He’s the one who tells me to snap out of it when I’m in a funk. He’s the one who makes popcorn and watches with me Netflix specials of my choosing. He’s the one who dreams, prays, and runs with me. He’s the one who has my back no matter what. He’s my husband, and my life is so much sweeter and wonderful with him.
We are still rookies in the marriage gang, but we are wildly grateful for each other and learning more and more about the art of loving like Jesus. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d share a few things marriage has taught me over the last 365 days:
Dream bigger and hustle harder.
There’s a common belief that when you get married you are settling down in life. I’ve never been a big fan of the word “settle” and all its connotations. It sounds limiting and, well, boring. I mean, no child with endless imagination dreams of one day settling down! They dream of adventure and action and romance and fun. Sadly, marriage is usually not accredited with the same adjectives.
I can honestly say that being married to Ben has made my life larger, not smaller. I am having more fun than ever, taking more risks than ever, pushing myself harder than ever, and achieving more than ever. Ben is an ambitious man with an adventurous soul and generous spirit. His passion for life is contagious, and, together, we are pursuing our purpose with more joy and grit than I ever imagined possible. When you marry well and love wisely, you don’t slow down in life; you speed up.
It’s not all about me.
I’m an independent person who enjoys my personal freedom. I’m also stubborn and hate admitting I’m wrong or acknowledging that someone (aka my husband) might have a better idea or solution than me. These qualities have made me a good fighter and achiever in life. These same traits don’t always make me the greatest lover though. I’ve had to learn to prefer Ben in little and big ways- from folding laundry a certain way to holding my tongue when wanting to sarcastically speak my mind to asking for forgiveness quickly and humbly in the middle of a disagreement. I’m not sure I will ever master selfless love, but at least marriage has exposed my selfish tendencies and continues to provide plenty of opportunities for me to practice servanthood.
You can soar with the right person in your corner.
We all have bad days. When you love someone, you give them the space to be unguarded and honest. Ben is one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met. He sees opportunity when others see challenges and he’s doesn’t quit. But even he gets occasionally discouraged, disappointed and frustrated.
Most of the time, he doesn’t need my opinions or solutions, he just needs me to listen to him, hug and kiss him, and tell him that he is extraordinary. When you love someone, you don’t kick them when they are down, add stress to their anxiety, or demand strength in a moment of vulnerability. Marriage is about letting your spouse feel safe and believed in- on both the good days and the bad days.
Marry your best friend.
Ben is my best friend. We laugh together and cry together. We don’t just love each other. We like each other and genuinely enjoy spending time together. We are complete goofballs together and can tell each other anything (and do).
I’ve always been very attracted to Ben, and we’ve always shared a great chemistry. But I got more in Ben than just a hottie who gives me butterflies. I got my companion, my best friend, and the person I can’t wait to grow old with. Nora Ephron put it best when she said, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” When you find that person (like I found in Ben) marriage isn’t a burden; it’s an adventure.