Lessons from Our First Year of Marriage

Nearly 365 days have passed since we became Mr. and Mrs. Hanni.
The year has flown by, and yet it feels like we’ve been married for years already (in a good way!) I thought I would share some favorite moments and lessons learned over our first year of marriage.

Lesson 1: A dish is not a “meal” unless it has meat.

Unless the dish is being served past 9:00 p.m., lighter fares are then accepted as a “meal.” This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is BIG DEAL to someone-ahem Kurtis-who shall remain nameless.

Grocery shopping and dishwashing can get old, so I try to not focus too much on the “un-fun” aspects of the job, but instead on the giddy grin of my husband when he and I try a new dish or sit down to a favorite. That never gets old!

Lesson #2: “The greatest barrier to communication is assuming that it took place.”

What?! He can’t read my mind?!  Earth-shattering, right? But so true. This isn’t late-breaking news or anything, but sometimes we make things so complicated!

Keeping healthy communication lines open truly helps to solve a majority of problems. Just because you love someone and live under the same roof doesn’t mean you can read each other’s minds.  I have to constantly remind myself that if something bothers me, I have to be a grown-up and use appropriate words to communicate that.  If I appreciate something that someone has done, I also have to use appropriate words to communicate that.
It’s a constant process…a constant refining of how we communicate with each other and those around us- nothing wrong with that!

Guess what…I can’t read his mind either…

Lesson #3: Assume the best about each other.

I read this in one of our marriage books shortly before the wedding and it’s a powerful guideline to live by. This seems to solve the other five percent of problems! Truly, in the majority of circumstances, your spouse isn’t out to “get you.” It’s a subtle knee-jerk reaction to assume the worst when there has been a misunderstanding, but isn’t it tiring to live like that?

Especially for Christian couples: if you married your spouse in good conscience that this was who God had for you, why would you assume the worst about them?

We are still flawed human beings. That isn’t going to change this side of heaven. But our life follows our words (and thoughts!), so what if our first reaction when something negative happens is to tell ourselves “Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting to happen, but I trust their heart toward me,” how might our relationships improve?

Communication (ahhhh there it is again!) and working through a misunderstanding may still need to happen, but how much healthier would our attitudes be toward our spouses?

Lesson #4: Don’t speak ill of your spouse, especially in front of other people.

This was one of the most surprising things I discovered in our first year of marriage. It saddens me to see spouses bash each other in front of their friends. Not only is it more common than I would’ve thought, it is accepted…no almost expected to bash the “stupid” husbands or demean the “ball-and-chain” wives.

Frankly, that is dumb.

Maybe I’m still a starry-eyed newlywed, but that’s not a healthy pattern, nor is it biblical. If you keep complaining about your spouse, that makes you part of the problem. C’mon peeps! Words have consequences and we know the Bible spares no expense on instructing us on the power of our words…

One of Clark Whitten’s podcasts I heard even before we got engaged talked about the danger of “uncovering” your spouse in public, that is tearing them down in front of other people.

Choose to not do that. Choose to paint a different picture of marriage to a painfully confused society. Dovetailing off the previous point, maybe better words about your spouse have to start with better thoughts about your spouse?

Lesson #5: It takes more effort to stay mad, than to actually resolve the issue.

This one is easier said than done because sometimes you feel like you have a such darn good tootin’ reason to be fired up. Maybe so, but it takes a lot of effort to be offended and to stay offended. With everything else life has to offer, I’m learning that maybe I don’t want to waste time on being offended. That mindset doesn’t help anyone and it sure doesn’t benefit you.
It is a choice, but make the choice to not stay angry and offended.

Life’s too short for that.