More than a week ago, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. As we reflected on two wonderful years, we got to talking about what we’ve learned in that time. Some were about each other’s traits. Others were life lessons in general.
I thought I’d share a bit of what we learned. Granted, I’m fully aware that two years is nothing compared to the 10, 25, 50, even 70 years of many other couples. But young as we are, I’d wager it important to record the important moments of every stage. Who knows, maybe these lessons need to be reaffirmed in our lives one day in the future.
Hence, here are five nuggets of truth from two years of marriage.
1. It takes a lifetime to know someone
When I married Sailorboy, we’d known each other for some 15 years. But it was only after marriage that I learned how good he is with impersonating accents. ‘Twas a delightful discovery, especially when he’s telling me about his day at work. He also came to learn traits of mine I didn’t even know I had.
I’m not saying that we changed after marriage. We’re still the same people. Character rarely alters. But we’ve learned that thanks to the dynamism of an individual’s makeup, you can never fully know a person in an hour, day even year.
Marriage turns out to be a gift of discovery. Being vulnerable and being together almost 24/7 mean we have the privilege of knowing each other more than anyone else can. Thankfully, our finds are more of the happier kind. So this treasure hunt of learning who my husband is my little adventure.
2. It’s possible to live peaceably together
Neither of us do well with arguments. But we knew that when two personalities come together, there is bound to be conflict. We also knew it’s not healthy to stick to our modus operandi of keeping it all inside. But instead of accepting the inevitability of shouting matches and cold wars, we asked, “Is it possible to work through our disagreements in a peaceable manner?”
It turns out that it is possible. We’ve just celebrated 2 years without fighting. Yes, there were disagreements, sometimes difficult ones. But we learned that the best way is still simply communication. Real communication. The kind where we pause, keep our emotions in check and rationally talk it out.
But it only works if both parties share and listen equally. Using communication as a front for personal agendas is deceit. True resolutions happen only if communication is a two-way street of humility.
3. Life never turns out the way you expect it to, but it’s okay
Surprise, surprise, one cannot foresee the future. When we married, I thought I’d be travelling a lot because of his job. But then we ended up being separated for months. And now we see each other every day, except on his occasional work trips. I also wanted kids by the end of the second year. But because of the career change, we had to push back by a bit.
Initially, I was not very willing to accept change – or rather, change that didn’t follow my plans. When I did accept, it was more like a surrender. But with the wisdom that comes with hindsight, I acknowledge now that the changes that took place happened for a far better reason and goal than my own.
Fact is, the changes pushed the both of us to be better persons. They challenged and stretched us in ways that we had actually prayed – just not how we anticipated. So yes, life never turns out the way you thought it would. But God knows what He’s doing.
4. It’s important to be intentional as a couple
Being intentional affects every area of life. That determining of an action in hopes of a certain result plays a part in our education, career, life partner, home, etc.
Being married makes the importance of intent no different. It actually magnifies it. Now we have to think for two instead of one. And more so than before, because we’re accountable to each other, we have to be intentional in vision, too.
It’s so easy to be taken by the routines and demands of living that we forget where we’re going. So we found it vital to sit down once or twice a year to take stock of our life, be reminded of our purpose, and make changes in response to that.
The couples we look up to all seem to share this life of intention. It’s an encouraging lead to follow. And finding direction is sure a better thing to do when we can do it with someone else.
5. Love is a choice every single day
Because circumstances take the unexpected bend, because people can change, because our flaws and weaknesses can deeply affect each other, it can be easy to not love if it’s based on emotions. Emotions are seriously so volatile.
But it’s in the low seasons, in those moments when you, “Don’t feel like it,” that reveals the depth of your love. It’s those moments when you’re challenged to choose whether to love or not that reveals your character, faith and hope.
Thankfully, Sailorboy makes my decision an easy one. But really, choosing to love, to rise above “I don’t feel like it”, is ultimately makes what everything else in #1-4 a joy to live through instead of a dread.
So that’s it, a bit of what we’ve learned as of January 2016. I bet there’s so much more to learn. These five lessons alone would definitely be stretched and strengthened with time. But we’re not afraid nor anxious.
We look forward to learning more, living more, and loving more.