This blog is a journal of our marriage. I feel so encouraged to be in a church community which values marriage so highly. It has classes and programs set up to support couples at each stage of their relationship in order to encourage and support healthy marriages. Jeremy and I took part in the pre-marriage counseling class for 8 weeks and the individual pre-marriage counseling which were really positive experiences.
Since our wedding we have been excited at the prospect of joining a small group with other newly-weds, another Bethany initiative. This Sunday evening, we went to our first group. My friends Gordon and Deborah are the mentor couple that will lead the group. The other newby's were all married in August too so we are all in the same boat. Experiencing the ups and downs of the first year of marriage.
I have always been a pretty open book. I like to share honestly about my life and the things I struggle with as well as the things that are good. It has felt much harder to know how to share the struggles we have had in our marriage. I am not sure if it is just a pride thing and not wanting to seem like we aren't perfect, or just a feeling that it is no longer just my failings I struggle with it is Jeremy's too. Something about sharing his stuff feels weird. Like I am talking bad about him when I admit our struggles.
At our group there was such a comfort level. Everyone wanted to be there, and came with humility and a desire to grow together. As all the couples began sharing, the romantic stories of proposals and dates we balanced with comments such as, "when we were fighting earlier" or " I hate it when he/she..." or "It's really hard when..." No judgement, just honesty. We all recognised that we love our spouses, but we still have so much to learn about being married, and so many bumps to smooth. We desire to do this in community.
I am SO thankful for this opportunity and the strands that God is already weaving together.
Jeremy and I are preparing for our wedding blessing ceremony in England this February. It will be almost exactly six months since our wedding and it feels like a mile stone to celebrate. I have heard people say the first 2 years of marriage are the hardest. This doesn't surprise me as it is when the two lives are really being melted together. Some things must fall away for new things to grow and it can be a painful process. In marriage you let go of the life you have been building on your own and submit to a life that combines the hopes and dreams of another person too.
Perhaps we should all take time each year to remember the voes we made, reflect on how well we are keeping or commitment and re-make those promises?
The reflection of our true selves can be a hard reality too. In a marriage there is no place to hide anymore, and owning our faults and less than perfect character traits can be really uncomfortable. In marriage we not only have to face these faults but we do it in close quarters and in front of the person we love the most. Uncomfortable.
This is one of the ways God uses marriage to make us more like him, holy. He chooses to refine us, and transform us. In a marriage he takes two lives, and makes them one. He uses our strengths and our weaknesses in this process. We must fight to be a safe place for our spouse to move into this transformation, they are called to be that for us. As we continue in our marriages, we must continue to be that safe place, after all our transformations do not have an end date.
Please continue to pray for Jeremy and I as we navigate this first year of marriage. My desire is to be that safe place for Jeremy's transformation, and to love him fully at every step.