Photos by: Martha Grace Henry
Buffalo check dress | Booties | Earrings | Watch | Gold X ring
March 28, 2014. It was two years ago today that Michael and I said “I do” to each other for the rest of our lives. These past two years of marriage have been filled with so much joy and growing, adventures and laughter, arguments and decisions and disagreements. But despite even the parts of marriage that might not always be fun, I would not trade it for anything in the world, and can honestly tell you marriage is the sweetest, most amazing gift from the Lord I have ever experienced. And I feel so blessed that He has given me Michael, and given us the gift of marriage.
We are by no means marriage experts in any way. But in honor of our two year anniversary, I wanted both of us to share two things we’ve learned in the past 2 years of marriage, in hopes that it will allow you to get to know us better as a couple, help you in your own marriage, or just give you insight/ideas into what marriage might be like for you one day!
There is SO much that I’ve learned about myself, Michael, the Lord, and relationships in these past two years. These are just two of the first things that came to mind!:
- Never underestimate the power of a long hug. As simple as this sounds, there have been times when I’ve felt distant from Michael, or like we just weren’t clicking or connecting. I remember several mornings before Michael would leave for work and he would just come wrap me in his arms and hold me for 30-60 seconds and it made the world of a difference. Those long hugs remind me that we are on the same team, that he loves me, and that we’re so blessed to have each other. There have always been times when we are doing amazing and totally grooving, and those hugs are equally as sweet on those days as well! When in doubt, hug it out.
- Love languages are a real thing – learn yours, learn his. I’m sure you’ve heard of the 5 love languages book already, but if not, I highly recommend you read the book and take the quiz before you get married (or, even if you’re not getting married!). Your “love language” is essentially how you communicate or show love to other people, and also how you receive love, or what “speaks” love to you. For example, one of Michael’s love languages is acts of service. So, he shows me love by serving me – doing things around the house, cleaning the kitchen, carrying my bags, etc. He serves me so well and I am so thankful. He’s had to learn though that one of my love languages is words of affirmation. So, I feel the most loved when he says encouraging words to me, or writes me a letter, or sends me a really sweet and thoughtful text. Words mean the world to me, but that isn’t his natural inclination. So, we’ve both had to learn how to speak love to each other, and how to love each other well. Knowing both of your love languages is extremely helpful!
Try and imagine with me(or if you’ve already been married, go back to your own wedding) the anticipation, the nervousness, and the excitement of those brief moments standing at the alter waiting for the doors to open. And when they finally do, your bride’s beauty suddenly makes everything else in this world disappear. I thought I would never love Lauren more than I did in that magical moment. We’re two years into marriage now and I’m amazed at how wrong I was.
My love for Lauren continues to grow as we journey through life together. It’s not all easy, and we never expected it to be, but what’s amazing is how marriage is making Lauren more radiant with every day. I definitely can’t claim responsibility for that transformation. If Lauren were to put all of her trust in me, I would constantly let her down. Rather, marriage is the beautiful picture of God’s love for us through Jesus. Through marriage, the gospel is revealing itself in a whole new light. As we both continue to pursue and struggle for the Lord, God is faithful and continues to allow our personal marriage to blossom. Lauren asked me to share a couple things that the Lord has revealed to me over our two years of marriage, so here’s what I’ve got!
- Most people have probably already heard this advice, but I cannot reemphasize it enough. Marriage is not the end of pursuing your wife. It’s very evident when I fail at pursuing my wife’s heart. Not because she lets me know in either a verbal or passive aggressive way, but because she was meant to be cherished. If that’s missing, something is missing in her life, she’s not whole. This is so easy, and yet it can be very easily overlooked. Men, love your wife well. Don’t get caught in the pattern of life. Plan fun things for her. Give her gifts. Write her notes… And watch her flourish.
- Our first year of marriage was light on conflict. Year two seemed to be where we stepped out of the honeymoon phase and into real life. Year two introduced us to real conflict. If you’re married, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, no argument outside of marriage can prepare you for what it’s like when you go to bed with the person you’re arguing with. And yet, despite going through our first real arguments this past year, I’m sitting here writing this next to my wife on our vacation and I’ve never loved her more. Conflict can be good in marriage. It shows that you’re both human and have feelings and emotions. It’s how you argue that’s important. Don’t get caught up in having to be right, but truly try and understand where your wife is coming from. Through good conflict, marriages can grow. You can learn more about your wife in these hard times than often in easy times. Most importantly, apologize. Seek humility and forgiveness.
Ephesians 5:25-33 is a beautiful passage on how Christ loves us and how husbands should love their wives. I encourage you to read it and pray for your husband. I definitely appreciate when Lauren prays for me.