In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing ten things I’ve learned in my first three years of marriage. These are not all the things I’ve learned — I learn more every day. And some are more serious than others. Here goes…
1) I need alone time.
Not “alone together” time, but alone, by myself time. I have always been that way, but when I lived at home or with roommates at college, it never really occurred to me. I have interests that are solo acts.
My first few months of marriage I almost felt guilty if we weren’t hanging out together every free minute we had. But without alone time, there’s no intimate time with the Lord, there’s no pursuing things that interest me and not TJ. It’s important.
2) We both need time with friends and siblings.
We’ve actually been pretty good about this even when we were dating, but now that we’re married, I see the benefit even more. I once heard a friend who was (newly) married say “I’m married now” to decline an invitation to play a game of pick-up basketball or hang out to watch a movie. Huh? Marriage isn’t an excuse to cut everyone else out of your life. If you use it that way, you’ll grow to resent each other in the future.
3) Dinner doesn’t have to be mind-blowing every night.
Maybe that should’ve been obvious? Anyways, I got over my cooking skills rather quickly. I’m a pretty decent cook, but I’ve only become pretty decent by fighting perfectionism. Take the pressure off. (This point applies to another aspect of marriage, as well. I’ll let you guess. I’ve only been married almost three years. Not ready to discuss it 🙂
4) I am an abnormally productive human being.
TJ says I’m addicted to productivity. I blame my dad! I relax by doing things I enjoy. TJ relaxes by not doing things. We are different, and that’s ok. He’s not lazy, and I’m not a workaholic; and we’re learning to adapt to each other’s ways so we can relax together sometimes.
5) Living below your means pays off.
And it has paid off more quickly than I could’ve expected.
6) Merging two lives is more complicated than it seemed on the surface.
I had SO many things I was doing before I got married that I just stopped doing after we got married because I couldn’t figure out where they fit. We were terrible about exercising for the first year and a half we were married. Both of us had been in great shape and worked out regularly, but he liked to workout at night, and I liked to in the morning.
I was used to having my quiet time with God right after work; now I was starting dinner then. I used to crochet and make jewelry; after we were married, I didn’t seem to have the time.
We’re figuring it out. We’ve had to find rhythms that work for both of us. Life is so much better together, but defining how that life ticks takes a little time.
7) My bed time is 10:30 p.m., and that’s ok.
TJ likes to stay up. When we first got married, it bugged me. I thought he should go to bed when I went to bed. But he wasn’t tired then, so he’d just lie awake, which wasn’t fair to him. If I stayed up, I’d feel awful in the morning. So, now I don’t, and we’re both better off. Though he still tries to convince me to stay up late to watch movies…
8) Vision planning is incredible!
I’d explain, but this video does a better job:
It may be awkward at first, but TJ and I have had a vision retreat the past three years and they’re one of our favorite things we do. As Jimmy Evans says, how do you know if you’re being successful if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish?
9) Watching TV is not quality time.
Maybe it was when we were dating. (Maybe?) It certainly doesn’t feel like it now. And I’m a quality-time junkie!
10) My husband gets so many things right.
I really couldn’t ask for more. I love you, baby! Happy Valentine’s Day!