Someone told me once that they thought the second year of marriage was the hardest because any infatuation is gone and any traces of the honeymoon phase have vanished. By the second year you’re left with who you are and you’re stuck with each other.
A little over a week ago we celebrated our second anniversary together! I cannot believe it has already been two years since we said “I do.”
In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday. Yet in some ways it feels like we’ve been married forever and I can’t remember what it was like before we were together. Both in the best way.
It has been two full, crazy, busy years, but they have been wonderful. We have moved several times, including across the world and back.
We have lived for extended periods of time with both sets of parents.
We lived in two apartments in Romania and a house in Mississippi.
We have traveled to five different countries and a host of states.
We have gone through pregnancy, childbirth, and many sleepless nights.
We have been together in sorrow and in joy; we have laughed together and cried together.
Two Things I’ve Learned
I’m pretty sure I’ve learned about two hundred things since getting married, but I’ll just stick to two for now. I have learned that marriage is hard but worth it, and communication is so important.
Marriage is Hard…
Sam and I were apart for nine months while we were engaged. He was in Romania living, learning, and spreading the Gospel, and I was in Florida completing my second year of college to get my AA. When we FaceTimed every morning (or afternoon for Sam—there was a 7 hour time difference!) we would read books on marriage and discuss them together. I remember one book in particular seemed to focus on conflict management. We finished it just for the sake of finishing, but we really didn’t think we needed it. Sure, we had our disagreements here and there, but they were all just miscommunication. It is hard to communicate perfectly when you’re separated by thousands of miles and a huge time change. When we got married and were together everything would be perfect, we thought.
Marriage IS wonderful and we love it, but it is not the perfect picture we had painted in our heads. Getting used to living with another person is hard. Discovering all your selfishness and faults, revealed by close living quarters is painful. Some level of conflict is inevitable.
Communication is Key
I recently told someone who was going into a long-distance relationship that communication is so important and I think having a long distance relationship teaches you that lesson very well. But I stopped myself. Did I really think mine and Sam’s long-distance relationship taught us how to communicate? Because sometimes communication is still a struggle.
I do think our time apart bolstered our communication skills. But it did not perfect them. Communication was difficult while we were apart and we thought everything would be better once we could just be together, but focusing on communication is still so important.
Just like we cannot build our relationship with God without intentional communication through Bible study and prayer, we continue to learn that building our marriage takes continual, intentional attention to communication.
…And it is all Worth it
We really have not gone through anything majorly difficult in our marriage, but what hardships we have endured have been worth it. Every hard time has taught us more about ourselves and each other and brought us closer together. Every difficult season has made us stronger.
It is all worth it.
Our Second Anniversary
Our second anniversary was simple, but it was lovely and one of my favorite days. Sam went to work and I took Mae to VBS (her first VBS!) that morning, and we were still unsure of our plans for the evening; we weren’t sure if we wanted to do something that night or another night.
Mama offered to babysit Mae, so we decided to go out for dinner that night. Then Sam called and said we needed to be home between 6 and 7, but he wouldn’t tell me why. So we ended up staying home and cooking supper together while Mae played on the floor. Then we lit candles and sat in our “big room” to eat supper.
Sam still wouldn’t tell me what his plans were, but right as we got ready to leave he asked me if I liked live music. Then I knew we were going to walk to the coffee shop downtown that has live music once a week, and it must be on Monday.
“That’s strange, no one is here,” he said when we reached the coffee shop. “I just thought we could hang out and relax together.”
The thought was still sweet, so I didn’t mind too much. We still talked to the owner and got coffee, and then Sam was ready to go.
“I thought we could go to Blue August and take a picture.” Blue August is the venue where we got married. When we got married two years ago I never would have imagined that someday we would live just half a mile away!
We were getting ready to take a picture outside when Sam told me to hold on a minute, went up to the door, opened it, and walked in!
“Sam! We can’t do this!” I exclaimed in horror, but he just laughed.
He had contacted the owner and she allowed us to go in and walk around between 6 and 7.
It was so sweet and so special to go back and see all the places from that wonderful day.
“This is where I got ready,” “This is where we waited to walk out.” “This is where we stood.” “This is where we had our first kiss!”
We walked back home and put Mae to bed, then we ate some of our frozen wedding cake and watched a movie (we were in Romania for our first anniversary so our cake was still frozen at home!).
It was all just about perfect.
Two years down, forever to go.