Today marks 4 (FOUR!) years that Joe and I have been married! It’s so crazy to think that this time 4 (FOUR!) years ago I was at the salon getting my hair and makeup on with my momma and bridesmaids and Joe was playing a round of golf with his groomsmen. At 6:30pm on May 3rd 2008 we were announced husband and wife. And our life began together. It still seems surreal. One of the best decisions I made was saying yes to a dirty blonde boy who asked me to marry him. Looking back on those four years of marriage I feel like each year had a specific word that corresponded with our marriage and journey together.
Year 1: Excitement. I was beyond thrilled to know that I was going to be a wife. I prayed for this day. I was excited to have my own house, to be able to decorate how I wanted and plant my own flower garden. I wanted to plan the meals every week, I thought we would have an unlimited amount of time together and would spend our free evenings taking walks and dreaming of things to come. Ha. Oh what funny expectations I had. Having a house was great, but responsibility came along with it. It was a harsh realization that when we didn’t clean the bathroom, no one else did. And why was it so blasted hard to decorate our little house?! We loved IKEA back then. The first year of marriage was an exciting adjustment. We both hadn’t done this before. I remember laying in bed WIDE AWAKE because it felt so weird to share a bed with someone who was *cough, a bed hog. It was exciting to come home to someone at the end of the workday and talk about our jobs. Joe was self employed at the time and I was a nanny so our conversations varied from tough clients to poopy diapers. It was exciting to learn how to be a married couple and compromise and talk out our thoughts. Joe was much better at this then me.
Year 2: Struggle. We had made it through year one and loved it! Our lives were settling into a routine. Or so we thought. Shortly after our 1st anniversary I had an emergency appendectomy and then a few months later we discovered an abnormal lump on my breast. My mom had breast cancer so the doctors were concerned. We were concerned. I had to have a biopsy and wait an excruciating week to get the results. Benign tumor. Praise God, it wasn’t cancer. I ended up having surgery to remove the tumor. 2 surgeries in one year. I HATE surgeries. This was not on the to-do list. After things settled down, I became restless. I wasn’t joyful and started having unrealistic expectations of my husband. I deserved this, I deserved that. I don’t deserve anything! Year 2 we argued a lot more. It wasn’t like call-dr-phil-and-schedule-an-intervention alot. But it was enough. I know part of the arguing was more adjusting to marriage, but a lot of it was just me being a butt. I felt led to start reading (for the 2nd time) this amazing book on marriage. I learned that its not my job to be my husbands conscience, I needed to let go and allow God to work in his life. He does a much better job that I do. I learned to serve my husband more, to be aware of his needs even before he was aware of them. And the biggest thing, I learned to place my expectations on the Lord. Man always disappoints, Christ never does. Once I took my focus off Joe and placed it on the Lord, we didn’t argue as much. While I loved being married, I loved it SO much more!
Year 3: Insane. I think year 2 prepared us both for year 3. I wish I could say Joe and I spent a ton of time together, took evening walks and discussed politics and philosophy over coffee Actually we hardly saw each other. The demands of Joe’s business increased and I was getting really busy with my photography business. It was so exciting that my business was growing, but with that growth came more responsibility. Joe was beginning to question whether or not staying at his current job was the wisest decision. He was a partner of a web firm with 2 other guys and while he really enjoyed the work, it was hard to make money. We struggled. Each month we trusted that God would provide for our needs and He did. We lived in the tension of the tough decision that we might have to make. And it’s funny, we never argued about money or job stuff. Sure I wanted stability and a paycheck every two weeks, but I was never once concerned that the bills wouldn’t get paid. I was willing to stick it out and support Joe staying at his current job or him looking for another one. My husband is a visionary and I knew to just hold on for the ride. We talked about different opportunities and finally God opened the door to a great job. There were many details that needed sorted through, but again, God worked EVERYTHING out.
Year 4. Grace. Last year was still insane, but grace permeated through the insanity. I had the most amazing wedding season, worked crazy hours and still didn’t see my husband as much as I wanted. But we made sure to schedule time together. Joe was busy with his new job and he started taking classes to finish up his bachelors. On the outside it seemed that our life just got busier, which it did. And while we both wished we could have had a slower year, we were side by side through it all. I never felt more apart of a team then I did with Joe last year. We are learning to communicate and OVER-communicate. If it takes staying up till the wee hours of the morning to talk through something, we do it. In the midst of our crazy year we took 2 weeks off and went to Ireland, which was the best decision we have made. We were together, just the two of us! It sorta felt like a reunion. We made it a goal for 2012 to slow down, to simplify, to say no to busyness and yes to being together more. Our schedules are still somewhat crazy, but we are managing it better, by God’s grace. I am so in love with my husband. He challenges me, inspires and sometimes completely pisses me off,but I wouldn’t trade being married to him for anything. I trust him, I respect him and I love the man the Lord is molding him to be.
We both desire more then anything to have a heavenly marriage, to be heirs together of the grace of God. It takes work. Marriage is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. But nothing important is easy. We are both passionate about marriage. I love being a wedding photographer because I see the value, the potential and the importance a good marriage is. Going on year 5 I’m excited to see where God takes us. So far He’s challenging me to trust him even more with circumstances out of my control, to love my husband more each day and to slow down and be thankful.
Happy 4th anniversary Joseph, I cherish you.