Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

~Philippians 4:4-8

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Advice to My Younger Self

Dineen and Lynn just started a new endeavor over at SUM called the Intentional Marriage.  I was fortunate to be able to watch their first live broadcast and it was amazing.  I'm so excited for this new project.  I believe God's fingerprints are all over this and it will bring hope and inspiration to many women and help to bring healing to many marriages.

Each month we viewers will have a chance to participate by doing a meme challenge.  This month's challenge was to look back to our wedding day and give our younger selves advice about what we've learned over the past years.  It can be humorous, practical or just a positive bit of wisdom that we wished we had known back then.

I just celebrated 15 years of marriage last month to my high school sweetheart.  As I look back to my younger self (and I was young - only 20!) I know there are so many many things that I have learned, but the last few days I've found it hard to put these things into words.  I wish I could say I've got it all figured out now and that if I had the opportunity to step into a time machine I could tell my younger self everything I need to know to ensure I live happily ever after.  But alas, we live in reality, not a fairy tale.  And even 15 years later I don't have it all figured out yet.   I imagine in 15 more years I may only be slighthly less lost than I am now.

However, as I sit here a few things do come to mind.  Things I've learned that I wish I had discovered earlier in order to avoid some pain and heartache - both mine and my husband's.

First, I probably would have waited a bit longer.  Heather over at Behind the Scenes gave this advice and I could not agree with her more.  I'm not sure that I would not have married my beloved if I had waited a while longer - although I think I still may have.  However, more time to get to know each other better would probably have helped us to avoid many obstacles we've dealt with over the years.  We were both very young and really did not yet know what we wanted for our lives.  We were high school sweethearts and suddenly found ourselves in a long distance relationship when my beloved went to Arizona for school, while I stayed behind in Washington State.  I had alot of insecurities back then that I've just started to work through recently.  Those same insecurities I believe caused me to rush into a marriage that most likely would have benefited from knowing one another a bit better before we started trying to share a small 480 sq ft university housing apartment.  Don't get me wrong, I don't regret marrying my husband and I still love him dearly.  However, I think we both would have avoided alot of misunderstandings and pain if we had taken the time to really get to know one another before we were married. 

Second, I would remind myself that we do not live in a fairy tale.  Love is not just an emotion, it is a choice we make daily.  It is a putting aside of ourselves to understand the needs of the other person.  Marriage is not 50/50 like I thought back then.  We both need to give 100% or more to make it work, even if the other person is not giving or putting forth their fair share.  Marriage is not about holding grudges and it is not about keeping score.  It is about trying to look past our own insecurities and offenses to understand the person with whom we have chosen to share our lives.

I often look back to that first couple years we were married and I'm amazed we survived.  We went from seeing each other every 6 - 9 months to living in a very very small apartment.  We fought over everything, including whose toothbrush went in which hole in the holder.  People would ask how long we'd been married and when we told them they would smile and make a remark about the "honeymoon" stage.  I remember looking at my husband thinking if this was the honeymoon stage, we were in trouble!  I think part of the problem is that we did not communicate much before we were married.  Neither of us had realistic expectations and neither of us knew or understood the other's expectations.  I joke now that when we first married my reaction was "We are married!  Now we will spend every minute together!" while my husband's reaction was "We are married!  Now I can spend more time with my friends without feeling like I'm neglecting her."  Needless to say, that did not get us off to a good start.

I'm learning more and more every day how important honest and open communication is in a marriage.  We can't expect the other person to read our minds or even read between the lines.  And in addition, to communication we need to work on not getting offended.  We need to try to look past our hurt feelings to understand what is driving our spouse.

As part of this month's challenge, Lynn also encouraged us to post pictures from our wedding day.  So here are a few of my favorites.  I had to take pictures of my pictures with my phone so please look past the weird color and fuzziness.

Our 1st Dance as Husband & Wife


Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting on, and linking to my blog! I have always wanted to get stated, but just never have. Perhaps this challenge will help me do that.

I can relate whole-heartedly to fighting over everything. Our honeymoon period was not that great either. I like what you said about 50-50 versus 100%. I think I thought that too going in, but it's taken me awhile to learn that one!

You look gorgeous in your photos!

NanaNor's said...

Hi Ang, I can't believe we've been out of contact and our prayer group-so very sorry! Loved this post and I'm going to visit your friend too. I so agree that if I had waited longer I probably wouldn't have married my man but so thankful that with the Lord nothing is wasted but everything is redeemed. Hugs to you today-email me with any prayer needs o.k.

Lynn said...

Oh Ang,

You are absolutely beautiful in every way.

The words you share here are full of wisdom and I pray, pray, younger women will read them and take the kind wisdom you are sharing.

You know I adore you and I hold you and your family before the Lord often.

Thank you for sharing your heart, your life and your photos. Love you a ton. Hugs. Lynn

Dineen A. Miller said...

So precious! Thank you for sharing these, Ang! :-)