Today is our first anniversary. I really can’t believe that a year ago, I stood on an altar in front of over 500 virtual attendees and said “I do”. It was interesting to get married during a pandemic, but even more so, it was interesting to stay married during a pandemic lol.
When we got married, we had been together for almost 7 years and engaged for a year and a half. We’ve known each other since high school, went to prom together, and have had such a dynamic and loving relationship. We’re not perfect AT ALL. Our relationship while dating had its hard moments – relationships do. Sometimes, it hurt and I questioned God a few times about what I felt in my heart and what I saw in front of me when times were tough. I also knew that Aaron was going to be my husband so dating also taught me what it meant to fight. To fight for truth and love. And for people that know us, they know I’m obsessed with my husband lol. No matter what, I know Aaron will forever be my first and only choice and I actively fight and choose to keep him in that position in my heart and life. In the words of Jay-Z:
She do anything necessary for him
And I do anything necessary for her
So don’t let the necessary occur, yep (PERIODT, ok?).
But seriously, from being married for one year, I’ve learned ALOT. According to more seasoned couples, the beauty of marriage is that you never stopped learning. I’ve heard that numerous times before getting married and assumed that I would be always learning more about Aaron – and that is true in many ways. But the best and hardest part of marriage has been the amount of work I’ve had to do on myself. Things I didn’t know where there in my heart have started to be exposed. Ways of destructive thinking about myself and my husband that would pop up were also a thing. Questioning if I was good enough to be Aaron’s wife also came by from time to time to which Aaron as a true provider, protector, and priest of our household would disable all the while disarming me from fighting both internal self and our external bond. Aaron, by nature is a nurturer and sometimes in order to be a protector, you have to be able to know what you’re protecting and the value of it – Aaron reminds me of how valuable I am to him, to our family, and to God every day. I had to be vulnerable enough to admit I needed that reminder. In the learning about yourself and your partner, you must be willing to be vulnerable to admit when you are weak in an area or admitting when you need them for something. Growing up, I’ve always been independent so having to relearn that vulnerability and trust are not weak things was and can still be difficult. However, the moments that I’ve let Aaron in and gave him space to be what he was created to be for me, we’ve flourished and my anxiety has definitely decreased. Marriage takes active work.
I am learning that communication is SUPER SUPER SUPER important. It sounds cliche when talking to couples – particularly engaged couples – about this but nah. Besides prayer, it is one of the other tools that really make and break moments, discussions, and growth. Since Aaron and I have been together for so long, I assumed (don’t do this y’all) that I automatically understood how he thought, not realizing that for the majority of the time I was just assuming that is how he thought. The danger of assumption is that you respond to the imagined source instead of the reality of what is happening. That is dangerous because I could assume that because Aaron made a decision or said something, that it was coming from a particular line of thinking which wasn’t true. It caused me to become reactive and my reactive was not always gentle or quiet as the Word advises wives to be. I could be curt, rude, or silent since passive aggression is a thing for me (I’m always going to keep it honest over here ahkaaay?). We are learning to believe the best in each other and to do that we must be willing to do one simple thing – ASK. So if Aaron says something or does something, I’m more willing to ask why (not annoyingly but inquisitively) to believe the best about my husband. And sometimes, I don’t ask but I trust the best about my husband. Trusting and believing both go together.
Another thing that I learned maybe half way into our first year was the importance of maintaining my joy. When we got married, I came in with the thought that Aaron’s sole purpose was to pay attention to me and make me happy. Nah sis. And in all actuality, I have way too much going on to be begging for attention (although I would do it lol I’m an only child!). In this area, I would question if Aaron was attracted to me because he wasn’t doing things the way I thought he should be. Again, my encouragement here is not only to believe the best about your partner but in some things you have to release your expectations of them because then you’ll try to manage them according to the expectation you’ve set. Since I’m married, this idea of “standards” is not the same. This is not the trial and error period sis. Once you’re married, YOU’RE MARRIED. And you’re married to a GROWN ADULT MAN lol. Marriage does not change people, it exposes who they are truthfully. So, just because Aaron got married to me doesn’t mean he’s now going to become a morning person because I’m a morning person or he’s going to want to go and do things JUST BECAUSE I want to do them. That’s where communication comes in and compromise. Most importantly, that’s when knowing yourself comes in too.
I had to learn that the things that bring me joy or are part of my routine may enhance our household but they do not run it. So, if I find joy in waking up at crack of dawn, going to the gym, eating a small breakfast, and getting to work all before 9 am – it doesn’t mean Aaron has to enjoy these things as well and that’s okay. Who I am and who Aaron may not be does not make him less than. Those things may bring me joy and I can thrive in them while also allowing myself to relax in the expectations department so Aaron and I can discover what brings us joy together. When my therapist gathered me on this, I was like SIS! And I believe that I managed Aaron or at least tried to because I deal with issues with control and not wanting to be left or abandoned. But again, admitting that to Aaron also helped him to disarm the lie that he would ever leave me because this is a forever thing but also helped him to understand why quality time was so important too.
One of the final things I’ve learned (among so many more ) is the power of prayer. I don’t know how wives who don’t pray do it but sis!? This is another thing married folks tell you about but until you’re in it you don’t realize how VITAL it is. I admit I came in a bit stubborn and determined to talk my way into Aaron doing what I wanted him to do. I soon realized that a nagging wife is an annoying one and no one wants that. NO ONE. Again, I had to confront my desire to manage him. When I started praying about things, God would hear and move on my behalf. I remember one time I prayed that God would structure Aaron’s day so that he had more time for devotion and reading His Bible. I could’ve gone the nagging route but chose to not do it and pray instead. Imagine my surprise when we’re in the kitchen a few days later and Aaron turns to me and literally says “God has been convicting me on my limited prayer and devotion time. I need to carve out more time.” I literally was taken back! We hadn’t talked about this, but God and I have!! I was like God, you’re hearing me and you’re advocating for me! I didn’t have to nag my husband, but instead I could pray for him.
I want to encourage you to pray to God for all things hubby. God truly knows him 10000000x more than you do because He created him. Because he created him, he knows exactly how to communicate things to him that you may not know how to do and He can do it in a truly loving way because God is unconditional love. God wants to go to work for you and for your husband because He loves both of you and loves marriage. He wants you both to seek Him and be in harmony with each other. I still have some times when I take things in my own hands and things don’t go well. But when I pray, I see things change (not in my time which can be annoying tbh) but in God’s perfect time which always works (seriously).
So happy anniversary to us! I can’t wait to see how God moves in our marriage during year number 2. I’m so grateful to God that I’m married to my best friend, my love, my partner. Aaron is everything that I needed but didn’t know I needed. He’s caring, loving, supportive, wise, and petty > all the things that are important to me. He builds my confidence, he’s honest to me, and he’s the calm to my chaos lol. I’m so proud to be his wife, to have his last name, and to do life with him. I love you babe! God truly knows what we need!