This is the last installment of my quarterly first-year-of-marriage updates. Previous installments were 3 Months Into Marriage: Finding Our Rhythm as a Couple, 6 Months Into Marriage: Creating Overlap, and 9 Months Into Marriage: Cultivating Laughter. You can also watch our One Year of Marriage video I published yesterday if you’re interested. From here on out, I will update every 6 months or year–I haven’t decided yet!
This post’s draft has been sitting open on my computer for two days now. I haven’t the slightest idea how to convey all that I’ve learned during my first year of marriage or even how to accurately describe where Riley and I are now in comparison to where we were a year ago. Blog posts beg to be wrapped up into neat packages but real life is raw and messy and there are rarely any bows to tie things up pretty.
Marriage is a compilation of a million technicolor moments. It’s laughing in bed before we fall asleep. It’s sitting in comfortable silence together. It’s working through our budget each month. It’s cooking dinner. It’s long, stubborn arguments. It’s making plans for next year. It’s praying while we hold hands. It’s rolling our eyes at the other’s quirks. It’s tears falling down hot cheeks. It’s playing with Charley. It’s working on our house. It’s dancing in the car. It’s learning to be kind, compassionate, and loving when we feel mean, disengaged, and annoyed.
I am not the same person I was when I walked down the aisle last July.
Refining change is the only constant I see in my relationship with my husband. Both of us have grown significantly since our wedding day. I’ve learned the hard way to be very choosy with my words. I’ve learned how deeply flawed I am, and that’s made me appreciate both the love of Christ and Riley’s love all the more. My confidence has grown–whereas I thought that I could make a living online, Riley has always known that I will. He has pushed and supported me when I’ve been afraid of failure and he has always legitimized my many projects, calling me things like an entrepreneur, a title I wouldn’t so readily give myself.
In many ways, Riley has given me both wings and a safety net. Like, dream your biggest dreams, and then go pursue them. And when you stumble along the way, I’ll be here for you still. I’ve known this kind of unending support and inspiration since I met Jesus in middle school, but my husband is one of the few beating-heart humans to manifest it. This has blessed me like you wouldn’t believe. To all those “ball and chain” naysayers: I’ve never felt so free to soar in my life as I have in the past year, married.
I love my husband more now than I did when I wore a white dress.
I’ve heard it 10,000 times, this “I only love you more as time goes on” sentiment. I now know it’s repeated because it’s true. I loved Riley so wildly on my wedding day that I thought my heart might burst right out of my chest; and yet, my love is even deeper now. I’ve seen the way he so gently cares for me, my finicky emotions, my passionate heart. I’ve watched him love me when I was, let’s say, difficult, if not squarely unloveable.
He has made my blood boil hot with anger a few times, but once I calm down, I love him even more. Because I didn’t marry a doormat, people-pleasing man but an intelligent, independent-thinking one. Everyone I dated before him would back off and back down when I challenged them–Riley doesn’t. My curious mind has the privilege of engaging in vibrant conversation every day with my husband; this is one of my greatest gifts.
I have seen Christ reflected in our marriage.
Riley is steady and faithful, reading many chapters of his Bible each night and often listening to sermons while he works during the day. He seeks God when he makes decisions, and he reflects the Lord in the way he loves me. The many transitions in the past year crashed one and then the other, and there were many times when my faith felt achy and bruised. I serve a God who can handle how I really feel and I married a man who can do the same. God’s grounded and unshakable nature is reflected in Riley. He’s not afraid when the world is chaotic, nor does he make fear-based decisions, something I admire and learn from daily.
I love being married.
Marriage is a prayer I prayed forever; living it now is a gift that I don’t take for granted. I celebrate this anniversary whole-heartedly! In the past year, we’ve grown individually and together, we’ve drawn closer to Jesus, we’ve fallen more in love. This two-becoming-one business is messy, but beautiful and worth the effort. I love you, my Riley. Happy Anniversary!
And now for a photo trip through the past year…
// We’re still learning how to be married every day. What advice would you give us as we enter our second year of marriage?
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