Marriage Year 2: 5 Lessons I Learned

9:40 AM

I can't believe that this year has FLOWN by. WOW! What happen in year two of marriage? We bought a house, I quit my job to follow my dreams, Bryan started his career, settled a little more into life and are starting to really feel like a family unit.

I will be upfront and honest with you, year two was wayyyyy better than year one. Why? well because we truly fought to work on the things we learned in year one and were just more in the groove of our relationship. I also think that age, experience, maturity and LOTS of God's grace played a big role in it all (thankfully). Check out Year 1 Blog HERE.

Was it perfect? Uh no. Roses all the time? Ya, nope. In fact we may have had an overall consistently better and more fulfilled year in year two BUT I would say we hit even harder and lower points in year two together.

So i am going to be very open and upfront and honest with you about our struggles because that's just who I am and I know that someone out there may be encountering similar struggles and needs to hear an encouraging word.

So here it goes, 5 lessons I learned in year two and what the Lord is continually teaching me...

#1 He Needs Me to Need Him. 

In this world it can be easy to fall into the role of the "independant women". I myself can figure things out and pretty much find my way. I actually love a challenge of not knowing what I am doing and figuring it out for myself. But in my marriage it doesn't quite work that way. 

Year two brought some new challenges and roles into our relationship. I started my own business and was pretty head strong in creating freedom for our family both in time and finances. That left Bryan feeling like I didn't need him as much. In year one, I NEVER wanted to be a part and wanted nothing but to be by his side. Year two some things started to change and I wanted to go for some BIG goals with him by my side but that required some sacrifice of time together. Unfortunately, I didn't quite communicate that to him though and that left him in the dark.

This still continues to be a challenge for us but I am learning that if I am truly working towards something for our family, then I need to make TIME for them. I need to show him that I NEED him because truly I do. I need to prioritize his need to feel needed and to be aware of that. This requires communication and constant reevaluation. This is OUR life not mine or his seperately, we became one two years ago.

#2 Praise Him More Than You Cut Him Down

I mean this is a BIG fat DUH, right? But oh how easily it can be to belittle our partner without even knowing it. Bryan and I attended a webcast with our friends in the beginning of the year called The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler, it was really great. He walks through Song of Solomon and talks about all aspects that are covered in that book on relationships from the pursuit, marriage, sex and even conflict.

In chapter 5 there is a conflict that arises between the husband and wife. As he walks through this chapter he shows us what this wife did in the presence of conflict. He proceeds to show us and encourage us to:

"Become an expert in your spouse's strengths. You become an expert in all that is good and right."
"Be mindful and prayerful as to compare our strengths to our spouses weaknesses."

So so good. I am learning to be an EXPERT in Bryan's strengths and to constantly remember why I love, need and appreciate him and to not compare what I am good at and what he is not.

Lastly, I was at a Beachbody conference last week and Chalene Johnson (one of the celebrity trainers) got up and spoke about marriage and business. It was truly GREAT but my favorite thing she mentioned was to have the 5:1 rule. That means say 5 positives againsts 1 negative. For example: Positives...1: "Today went really well." 2: "I really enjoyed coffee with so-so." 3: "My lunch was really great that you packed." 4: "Thanks for taking the trash out." 5: "Maybe we can go out on a fun date night this week." Negative..."Can you please close the cabinet doors when you get something out of them?"

I am on a passionate pursuit to uplift and encourage my husband and to become an expert in his strengths.

#3 Grace Upon Grace

Have grace for one another. I know this seems so simple BUT life isn't easy, marriage isn't easy and that means that grace needs to be evident. When grace appeared more and more in our marriage in the last year, it was so much more joyous. Let go of grudges and just give your spouse the benefit of the doubt.

Most times we are not intentionally trying to screw up or hurt one another. Don't hold on so tightly to the wrongdoings that your spouse has done if they are minor and not worth the energy to hold onto.

#4 Fight For Intimacy 

So this is a hard one. I say that because intimacy has been the biggest issue in our marriage since day 1. I would have talked about this in my year one blog but I wasn't ready and still dealing with what it all meant. Bryan and I waited to have sex with one another till we were married. I think that is so beautiful and I am so glad that we did!

With that comes A LOT of expectations. "All frustration in marriage is based on missed expectations."-Matt Chandler. 

In year one I struggled with feeling like my husband didn't want me sexually or intimately in any way. I felt a lot of shame in that and like there was something wrong with me. Almost daily there would be a conversation around sex and when and why we weren't having it. I valued physical touch much more than my husband who just wanted my time from me. He didn't quite understand my need for physical love and neither did I really. 

We worked through this and pushed really hard to get through the hurt, bitterness and frustration of that. We both had sin in our hearts and weren't dealing with some past hurt that was getting in the way of our physical relationship.

When year one came to an end, we were in a MUCH better place, hashing out a lot of issues and forgiveness for one another. Thankfully God had worked in our marriage, sex life and in our hearts a lot.

Still intimacy is one of the biggest things we have to fight for together. Whether it's in romance and acting not like roommates but like lovers, which means closing the door and leaving a little to imagination when changing or um when you're on the toilet ;) To paying attention to your spouse,  holding hands, kissing and cuddling. It all come down to intimacy not just sex. It's so important to keep logs on that fire and FIGHT for intimacy.

Thank you for letting me really transparent there.

#5 Must Connect Spiritually

The most important thing in Bryan's and my life, is our relationship with the Lord. If we aren't connecting with God on our own then we will have a hard time connecting with one another spiritually or on any other levels. 

Something that I am so grateful for that my husband asks me often are "What is God teaching you?" or "What have you been reading?". There is accountability there spiritually and I am so thankful for that. Of course there are days where I have nothing to say because I am lacking discipline in spending time and he sweetly encourages me with words and usually what he is learning.

I will be honest that this isn't ALWAYS something we practice but when we are sharing with each other what we are learning privately, our marriage is so much more rich.

In no way am I confident that I have mastered ANY of the things I learned and am learning in year 1 or 2 but I am confident that God is teaching me new things little by little. He is growing me in areas and allowing me to come face to face with sin in my life and marriage. I am really grateful for that.

I am really excited about what year three will bring and what I will learn from it. I am so looking forward to growing more in being eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14) in my marriage and in this life on earth. 

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Thank you for reading! Feel free to comment:)