Last night, our dear friends Zach and Amanda and their kids, Zara and Caden came over for dinner. It was a time to share a meal and open presents because we won't be together this Christmas. It was really special for me to see the way Zara and Caden have embraced Jeremy! It was so nice to have our home full of laughter and conversation, our home is beginning to truly be the place we dreamed and prayed it would be.
Zach and Amanda gave us a book to record Christmas memories for many years to come. I am so looking forward to filling these now empty pages with pictures and stories though the years. As I flicked through the pages of the book, Jeremy and I looked at each other and said, "wow, that's a lot of years".
At the end of a week where things haven't been all moonlight and roses in our house, it was a gentle reminder and reassurance that we are in this marriage together. We are a unit. We can look ahead at what OUR future will hold, and have an expectation and joy about the memories we will make and share.
Our non-perfect week was mostly us still adjusting to being attached to another person and sharing space. Both Jeremy and I being firstborns in our family have strong personalities and also a strong sense of entitlement and are used to getting our own way. This leads to some interesting discussions and for me is a reminder that I am a very imperfect person!
My own selfishness is paralyzing at times and my movie-based expectations of marriage rear their ugly heads and mess with our real life! As we move into this holiday season, Jeremy and I are realising that we missed some important discussions regarding this time of year. Both of us are just used to doing Christmas our own way. Somehow life got away from us for a week or two and suddenly we saw our Christmas plans, preparations and thinking had not been the same at all. It is at times like this I understand why people say the first two years of marriage are the hardest. It feels like you would have to walk through seasons and celebrations together at least a couple of times to get (mostly) on the same page. So many of our expectations and assumptions simply come from our life experience - which have not been exactly the same.
For Jeremy and I, our conflict mostly occurs from the extreme places of our personality differences. He and I are pretty much total opposites, which I believe is one of our relationship strengths as well as a place of conflict. We compliment each other in ways that enable the other to become a better person. However, this means at the most extreme points of some of our personality traits we become more of a challenge for the other person to understand! I guess it is a good thing that this 'hard to reach' thing is felt in equal measure for both of us!! It might be a struggle in some moments but it calls us to have integrity, transparency and honesty in our relationship every day. It takes us to a place of trust in the Lord and the work of transformation he is doing in both our hearts.
It is true that marriage is a gift, but I liken it to being given a pet. In this scenario Jeremy is NOT the pet, instead he and I have both been given the pet. It is a gift that comes with responsibility and a need to be cared for, but in return it can give so much joy!!
Speaking of joy - had many hours (literally) of laughter this past weekend trying to take our 2009 Christmas card picture with the self-timer on the camera. We tried taking the picture in a few different places around our house, but with fading light and challenges in our photogenic-ness amid fits of laughter, we settled on this one!
and I couldn't resist sharing this one too even though it didn't make the final cut! Jeremy thought he loked weird? I guess maybe he does a little bit but I still like it.