February 13, 2014

5 Things Marriage is Teaching Me


kirawhitneyphotography
There are absolutely no heart shaped cut outs to be found within a 25 mile radius of me right now (commercialism has yet to overcome Belize), and I'm not bundled up in red and pink, drinking hot coco and writing love notes. Rather, our priorities are in order and the Winter Olympics are definitely getting more airtime then any chick flick will ever have the chance to get on our TV. I'm actually not 100% convinced that Blake knows tomorrow is Valentine's Day tomorrow. 

We've been married for 9 months now and I have learned so much even in such a short frame of time. Hindsight offers so much perspective, highlighting the things you know you got wrong and offering hope that you still have lots of wiggle room to grow. Here is my humble two cents about the lessons I have learned and I am learning as a newlywed. 



5 Things Marriage is Teaching Me

#1 - Love looks a lot like dirty dishes

I hate doing the dishes with a lifelong passion. Ironically, so does Blake. In our nine months of marriage, there have been quite a few times when the source of frustration was a dirty kitchen that neither one of use wanted to clean. Love often becomes tangible when our hands get soapy and we decide to work together to get the job done. Love looks even sparklier when I come home to a clean kitchen. Mother Teresa said, "Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put in that action." That'll preach.

#2 - Love doesn't need emotions to display itself. 

There's this misconception in our society that you know it's love when you get butterflies in your stomach, you can't sleep at night, and you can't help but listen to Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" over and over again. I think that's just silly. Love has been more magnified in our relationship when it's been hard, when we've dealt with situations that don't make sense, and when we've had to vocalize what we wanted and how that should look...that's when it's gotten really good. The fluffy stuff is fun and wonderful, but it's emotive. The real things, the beautiful parts of our relationship, have come from choosing to love instead of relying on emotions. 

#3 - Your strengths and weaknesses can compliment each other instead of causing tension.

I like to think that I remember every single detail of every day we've been together. When I have told Blake important details like, "Today is the first day we ever ate tacos together!" and he didn't remember these details, I would get upset. Obviously, the poor guy had no idea what he was getting into when he married me. My point is, I have a mind for little details and I place a lot of significance in them...but that doesn't mean I love Blake more then he loves me. I've often found myself letting my pride get in this way of my graciousness, pretending that somehow I must love Blake more if I can remember the details better (or do whatever). Absolutely rubbish. We both have strengths and weaknesses, and with humility, they will compliment each other.

#4 - Healthy people attract healthy people. 

I've grown up with this phrase getting tossed around all of the time, and I am finding that it has transferred over to marriage very nicely. Before we were husband and wife, we were just Blake and Mandy. Some people forget this, but it's important. Because behind our new labels, there are two individuals working on a relationship. We have to be individually healthy before we can lift each other up. For me, this comes in the form of alone time, quiet devotions, and running to have time to talk to God...things like that. For Blake, it looks differently. But at the end of the day, if we are healthy (spiritually, mentally, emotionally), we are so much better together. 

#5 - Love is more then saying the words.

(Surprise! Guest contributor Blake pitched in for this one.) As cliche as it may sound, we are learning and re-learning what it means to believe that love is a verb. Love is so much more then just saying, "I love you." It is selfless, patient, kind. Love is being generous with time, availability, and resources. Love is striving to become the best possible person you can be in order to love as purely as possible. Love is a all a part of being holy. 



"...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:18