Saturday, May 17, 2014

Established: May 19, 2013

It's been almost one year since Charles and I committed our lives together in marriage. Cliche but, "It seems like just yesterday we were counting down the days, stressing over small details and anticipating the journey of marriage."

This might be mainly for my own ability to look back but I want to summarize some of our first year full of Firsts - our adventures, challenges, learnings..

We've made our first home together. I wasn't sure we were going to find something that fit our desires (near downtown, character, not a huge complex) within our price range, but we so did! It's tiny but enough. It has taken a while but it's got character now, it's us. It's been so fun to settle in, arrange, rearrange and decorate. It's been fun to get to know our neighbors a little, go on walks and pick out our favorite houses and walk to date night or breakfast. Monday mornings at Rialto are my favorite.

We took our first round of trips together.. Ones where we got to stay in hotels (or airbnb which we loved) together and have home away from home. We did: Vegas (twice), Seattle, Santa Barbara, Arrowhead, Portland and Seattle (again), Escondido, Big Bear, Hume Lake and Lake Isabella. 

We camped! I've been pretty excited for the day I get to take camping trips with my husband. So far we've just done Big Bear twice. Year two needs an expansion in this area. 

We've had our first round of holidays: festivities, traditions, birthdays, parties and family gatherings. 

We've celebrated the marriage, engagement and baby arrival of friends. There's so much life and change that comes with this season and it's so fun to celebrate with my partner. 

Big Decisions: As we got home from our honeymoon Charles got an out of state job opportunity. While we were just beginning to settle into home, we had a lot to process. Was this where God was leading? Was this the right fit? What would leaving our friends and family so soon in our marriage be like? How do we make such a big decision together? We often disagreed and felt opposite in the process. We did a lot of asking for wisdom, talking it to death, fighting and praying. It was such a learning process for how to be united in our decision making. We had been making decisions independently for a long time and navigating how to agree, honor each other and move forward was tough.

Routine: What's alone time like? How do we navigate our own time with God? Routine was now so different and we had to figure out to have our own time with God, not to mention time together with God. We're still trying to figure the together piece out. Yes we both work in ministry but making time that is just about our relationship with God and not just planning or debriefing "work" or sharing updates on our time with other people has been challenging.

Balance: This might be the hardest part of our year. Between our work schedule, ministries we're involved in, late nights, pursuing quality time together, having alone time, time with friends and family, working out, groceries, laundry, and so on... balance has been tough. It's been tricky to navigate and it feels like it's been such a fast paced year. We've had to learn to be aware of our own needs for balance and to communicate them to each other. We've had to learn to make date night a weekly priority. We've had to learn where to say "no" and not feel guilty. Well, we're still learning all of this.

Togetherness: This has been my challenge. When we first started dating it took me a while to let my guard down and for us to be on the same page. There has been a whole new round of that in marriage. My tendency is to be very independent and rely on myself and that habit reared it's head in marriage. So in stress, exhaustion, fighting and frustration and our own different hurts with life this year, coming together has been challenging at many points.

I am loved by my husband: Maybe you are thinking, "well, obviously, he married you.." but it isn't always  easy to receive. In my own brokenness, fears and independence (see above) I would often exclude myself from being loved well by him. I sometimes expect a poor response from him or reject a loving response because I know I can be pretty crappy and don't deserve his grace and love. Or do I? Do I give the same grace in response to his brokenness? I am learning to respond to our challenges and conflict out of love and not withhold grace from him when I'm hurt. All of this is a learning in my ability to be loved and receive grace from my creator. Do I know how truly loved I am? Do I love others the same way? I am learning and trying. Charles has been such a picture of God's love for me and in the moments I experience that love I am overwhelmed.

Some of our FAVORITES in year 1:
Walking to breakfast at Rialto
Dinner at Kentro
Coffee at Green Bliss
Finding new coffee shops
Running together (Ok, I don't love it so much in the moment)
Letting ourselves be lazy: sleeping in, a whole Sunday afternoon of Netflix...
Celebrating ministry, life change, and new opportunities together
Road trips and adventures to visit friends or explore new places
Going to bed and waking up together
Dreaming about what future life holds.

Life wouldn't be the same without all our people. We're so grateful for the community we have and the privilege of sharing life with so many people we love. Thank you for being a part of our journey.

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