Last Monday we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Wow! While engaged it seemed like the wedding day would never come, and now it has come and gone, and here we are a year later, hand in hand.
It has been quite a year! When I look at what we did just in 2011, I laugh to think that we had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into, and then I smile at the delightful surprise and precious gift that God has given to me in my dear Clint.
Our first place was a cute, but sometimes cramped, studio apartment in
. It proved to be our testing grounds for this first year, as well as our little abode, our hiding place. In reflection, I think the biggest lessons of this first year for me have been about communication, vulnerability, and trust. Anaheim
I do not naturally say everything that I am thinking, and I think that is healthy, but I have grown in a desire to share more with Clint, to not withhold, and he is persistent in asking me what I am thinking, what I want or prefer, and generally helps me to better know and articulate my thoughts. I have learned how critical it is to communicate our expectations and feelings, so that we are both on the same page, and we can better work together and support each other in each situation. I have discovered that what I mean by a phrase or facial expression is not necessarily what he means, so I need to interpret his actions and words according to who he is, and not who I am. Also, I love his phrase: “Seek to see people through their virtues, and not their vices.”
Clint is a warm person who deeply loves me, and he makes me feel safe and extends grace and forgiveness. This in turn encourages me to be more vulnerable, to not hold so tightly to ideas or identities, but to have an open hand, an open heart. He has lovingly challenged me to call our belongings, our finances, our living space, and everything else, “ours.” He despises those things that would pull us apart, those barriers that would separate. When I so naturally divide and distinguish, he seeks unity.
Despite my “stable” upbringing, trust does not come easy for me. I second guess motives and harshly interpret comments from time to time. Also, I feel more comfortable if I am in charge, in control, yet Clint continually reminds me that we are in this together. We are a team; we have each other’s back. He earnestly desires to support and protect me, so I do not need to feel defensive or self-protective. I do not need to be that fiercely independent pioneer woman that I idealized as a teenager. I can lean on him; I can trust him, as we walk this journey of faith together.
One year down, “the hardest,” I have heard from many, and we are eager to continue to grow in love, in grace, and in truth together!
Reflection: What life lesson have you learned this past year? What areas are you seeing God stretch you and teach you about what it means to love? For you married folk: What is the biggest lesson you learned in your first year of marriage?