One year down… one entire year of being married… one year of having a new last name… one year of living together…one year of sharing a bed… one year of being ONE.
This Sunday, April 23, I honestly cannot believe we are celebrating our one year wedding anniversary! This milestone seems totally unfathomable to me. Didn’t we JUST get married? I know that one year is not very long in the grand scheme but that fact that our first year has already come and gone is beyond me.
This first year has been one of the best years of my life in certain ways & in others, it was another hard year. Honestly, I can say every day that I have woken up this year I’ve felt like the luckiest girl in the world to be married to Mr. Tyler Jenkins.
Below are 12 thoughts/lessons from 12 months of married life:
1. Marriage is F U N.
In today’s world marriage gets such a bad rap. Marriage is now associated with a boring, stale, restricted, rigid relationship. On TV & in movies, people make it seem as though the moment you say “I Do” you have to hand over your freedom, happiness, & joy… In reality, getting married is just the opposite!! The moment we joined our lives as one was the moment the world opened up to us, a new world full of fun, excitement, sparks, & freedom. Sadly, much of our modern day world does not value marriage & many couples do things that are reserved exclusively for marriage which ends up ruining relationships & takes away from the special entity of marriage.
2. God’s design for marriage makes sense.
When you’re in the dating phase, head over heels in love & hormones raging, it can be hard to understand why God commands us to stay pure. And the word pure goes way beyond whether or not you have pre-marital sex. In college/when you live on your own it’s so easy to spend the night together & to justify that by saying, “We are literally just cuddling.” Emotionally- especially us girls- we treat our boyfriends like husbands before the appropriate time. It has become acceptable, even for Christians, to live together before marriage. All of these things are sinful, they are not holy or Godly. Sometimes it feels like the Lord has laid out impossible standards that suck the fun out of dating. But truthfully, everything made sense the day we got married. That night we actually talked about the way that God’s design for marriage finally made sense & we knew that those boundaries which seemed daunting, were truly for our own protection & ultimately for our joy.
**IF you are dating/engaged & are already acting like you’re married, I encourage you to re-evaluate. It’s never too late to change & I PROMISE the difficulties will be worth it when you enter into a marriage with less baggage & more joy.
3. I am not Tyler’s mom.
I am not Tyler’s mom, I am his wife. Ladies, there is a huge difference in this role. I’ve found myself many times talking to him as though he is my child because I think I know what is best for him. Absolutely we should push our spouses to be the best they can be, but your role as a spouse is to be a partner, best friend, lover…not to be their boss.
4. Space is good.
Tyler & I are the type of couple who can spend days on end together & not get annoyed with each other. We have such an easy dynamic that literally we could & we WANT to spend all of our time together. But space is healthy; absence does make the heart grow fonder. I believe we should all encourage our spouses to have hobbies, to be intentional with alone time, to hang out with their friends, & to do things on their own. You must maintain separate identities even though marriage joins you together as one. You do not have to do everything together & sometimes, you shouldn’t!
5. Dates are important.
This is an area we struggle with. Not because we have kids or are too busy or don’t want to, but because with my health it’s quite difficult to get ready, then go out, actually enjoy eating or watching a movie when I’m in a great deal of pain/terribly fatigued. We’ve had months where we get out of the house to do something fun every weekend & we’ve had times where we literally did not go out to do anything together for 6 weeks. That’s just life. BUT we never stop trying & planning for dates. Yes, we have to cancel sometimes… so what? At least we are making dating a priority. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to stop falling in love over & over again!
6. We are actual adults.
Weird, right? I have struggled to feel like a true adult because of limited independence due to my health (although I am quite the independent woman at the moment!) & since I never graduated college or entered the career/work force. Ty-ing the knot, however, is a great way to feel like an actual adult. Being 100% financially independent (pet peeve of mine– you should not be getting married if you can’t pay your bills) can be hard but it’s actually quite freeing. Doing life as a team, without help, creates such a sense of pride & accomplishment.
7. The honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever.
We’ve all heard of/experienced the honeymoon phase whether that’s in a new dating relationship, in marriage, after starting a new job you love, after you get a new car/house/pet, etc. Honeymoon phases are simply the phase when something is shiny & new & SOOOOO exciting. The honeymoon phase of marriage is wonderful but does not last forever. That being said, I still feel like I am in total BLISS being married. Just because the honeymoon phase ended does not mean the excitement went away or our love changed for the bad! We are extremely happy but it is not realistic to expect that initial excitement to last forever.
8. Physical touch is a priority.
Take your minds out of the gutter, I don’t mean physical touch in only a sexual way. I’m talking about HUGS, CUDDLING, HAND HOLDING, KISSING. Physical touch is a definite priority in our relationship. I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t want to be touched… I feel bad & I want to be left alone. But, when Tyler hugs me or holds me or pulls me close to him I always feel better because I instantly feel loved, cared for, protected, & connected. I pray we never let a day go by without showing each other that important physical affection.
After my surgery in December, we had very limited physical contact. We spent literally weeks on end together in the living room of our apartment, sharing a couch but with space in between. One of my favorite routines from that time was counting kisses. I know, gag me with a spoon! But, keeping track of how many times you kiss in a day is a fun & great way to be intentional with showing your love. Try it! 🙂
9. God answers when you pray for your spouse
I believe it is vital to be a prayer warrior for your partner. If you aren’t praying for them, who is?! I try to be intentional each day in praying over Tyler for his work day, to stay productive & encouraged, to shine Jesus to everyone he comes in contact with, to love God more than He loves me, to grow in Christ, to be protected & healthy, & for his heart to stay pure & genuine. The more specifically I pray for Ty, the more I see evidence of God working in his life. The Lord has answered some big prayers & He will continue!
10. We are loved
We have been blessed with an amazing support system from our family, friends, churches, & co-workers. We have been shown amazing love this last year from our wedding, to hospitalizations, my surgery, the holiday’s, Tyler’s back injury, tax season & much, more more. If you are reading this right now– thank you for loving us!! Truly, we feel blessed beyond belief by the continued generosity, graciousness, & love we feel from countless people in our lives.
11. The future looks bright
There are big things up ahead for the Jenkins! This summer we will be moving (more on that when the time comes–not leaving town!), attending weddings of our closest friends, doing a little traveling, getting healthier & stronger TOGETHER. I’m still hoping/wishing/waiting on some big healing to come but truly I am doing so much more than I was one year ago & am thankful for a new outlook on life. Tyler is the most supportive husband who encourages me to follow my dreams– ALL of them! I can’t wait for another summer as Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins.
12. Marriage is still easy.
In my post 6 lessons from 6 six months of matrimony, I shared that being married felt so easy. And truthfully, it still does. Yes I know that all marriages are different & I know that through the years there will be more hard times. BUT, the life that Tyler & I have is completely different from other twenty-something newlywed couples. Before we got married, Tyler lived out “in sickness & in health” so beautifully as he continues to do every day. We face challenges that we don’t speak about & our future life is especially uncertain in many ways. Still, being married is easy, fun, light, life-giving, joy-bringing, & hopefully, God glorifying! In the midst of life’s struggles, marriage continues to be the least stressful aspect of life.
Tyler, I love you more today than I did on April 23, 2016. I cannot imagine going through life with anyone else by my side. Thank you for being the kindest, gentlest, most genuine, joyful, loving, & giving husband. God truly blessed me when He molded our hearts together. You are forever my angel, best friend, & true love. Being your wife is my favorite thing! I love you.