Previous installments were 3 Months Into Marriage: Finding Our Rhythm as a Couple, 6 Months Into Marriage: Creating Overlap, 9 Months Into Marriage: Cultivating Laughter, and 1 Year Into Marriage: Messy But Beautiful.
On January 31st, we celebrated one and a half years of marriage. By celebrated I mean that on February 1st I thought, “Wow! We’ve been married for 18 months as of yesterday,” reminded Riley, and we kissed. The more I thought about it, though, I realized that actually the past six months have been full of change–both emotionally and spiritually and in our day-to-day lives.
For the last four years since I graduated from college, life has been nothing short of a wild up-and-down roller coaster ride. Those of you who have been following along all this time are nodding fervently. In quick summation, since May 2013 my journey has included, in order: a cross-country move, a new job, getting laid off from said job, raising a puppy, breaking up with a longtime boyfriend, starting a new job in a new field, meeting Riley, dating Riley long distance, falling in love with Riley, moving again, getting engaged to Riley, planning a wedding long distance, moving again, getting married, starting a totally new career path, house hunting, moving again…and here we are.
It’s been A Time.
As I was wrapping up my senior year of college, I often prayed for an adventure. I was given one, that’s for sure. Until present day, there hasn’t been a period of time longer than a few months where I haven’t experienced a massive life-altering change. Certainly I don’t think my journey has been completely unique; this time of life between college graduation and “settling down” seems to be quite a winding road for many of my peers too.
This is a profoundly awkward stage of life. Unexpectedly so, but definitely awkward. I feel like some adult half-breed–I know how to run our household, I’m growing my business, our marriage is healthy and strong, and we’re financially stable, but taxes continue to elude me, my emotions are everywhere, our future feels totally unknown, I’m trying to find “my people,” and I still get panicky and stressed when I have to call a stranger on the phone. It’s a weird time.
Naturally, Riley and I find ourselves in conversation about our future a lot. Basically every one of our future chats end up with shoulder shrugs and “I don’t know, let’s pray about it and see what happens.” Despite our uncertainty, somehow the coming years feel safe and secure. What a gift.
I am enjoying this season of slow-paced living. I feel settled for the first time in years. “Settling down” has such a negative, boring connotation. But for me, finally feeling settled, safe, and secure in my home and marriage has allowed me to dream bigger, pray bigger, be more productive, and more eagerly anticipate the coming chapters in our story.
I have a strong sense that our adventure is only just beginning. I believe we’re in a season of planting, getting rooted, and building our foundation so that we’ll be able to grow and bloom in the years to come. Have you ever felt that way?
Having a partner and confidant in Riley through this transition is golden. I feel like we’re two figures in the middle of a snow globe that’s finally been set down after years of swirling glitter. Together, we’re driving our roots deep and relishing in this season of preparation. We’re finally talking seriously about paint colors in our house, about how we want to invest to make these four walls our own. We’re getting more involved at church, we’re planting a garden this spring, we’re discussing hosting a party this summer to get to know our neighbors better.
At this point in our marriage, it feels like we’ve been together forever, though in reality it’s only been three years since our first date. (The way time works never ceases to amaze me.) What’s strange is that as we’ve become more solidified as a couple, more rooted as a family, we’ve also further embraced our individuality.
It’s such a good thing that we have unique interests, friendships, and hobbies. I love that we can part ways after dinner or on the weekends for a few hours and each “do our own thing.” Somehow relational intimacy feels stronger when two people can be together in the same place but not interact for a period of time–comfortable silence is rare but special. We’ve all but given up on trying to change each other and have decided that celebrating our differences is much easier and more loving anyway.
The past six months have been challenging at times, but they’ve been refining and important. Marriage is not, not, not easy, but it is, is, is worth it. With that, we’ll stick together and adventure forward.
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