This is the 5th post in the series, Women of God, and it’s been such a beautiful opportunity to invite women to share their hearts and their journey with the Lord over here on the blog. My prayer is that these posts touch your own heart and inspire you to live for Him with renewed passion & love! Rachel is awesome and the person that I am so grateful to for sharing her heart with me about being newly married before my own wedding over hot cups of coffee. She is an incredible woman of the Lord and I am so inspired by her faith, her joy & her love! Rachel’s friendship is a gift and I am so grateful for the opportunities we have to get together to share and talk about our faith, marriage and the beauty of being a woman. Her post is awesome and a glimpse into the joys of being newly married (and she included a list – I’m such a fan)! May her words bless you and inspire you.
My husband and I got married almost a year ago to date. Beforehand, I had heard over and over again that, the first year is the hardest! I feel guilty in saying this… but our first year of marriage has not been that difficult… at least, not yet anyway. I don’t mean this in a pretentious way, but rather, that every relationship is different. We are in the pre-baby stage, we don’t have a house yet, and no one has lost a job. I’m sure those things will come, but my prayer is that we continue to build on this strong foundation we have begun.
Ryan and I met as FOCUS missionaries and, as I usually say, we ‘fell in like’ while leading a mission trip together in India. Less than two years later we were married. Considering I’ve only been married for a year we can all agree that I am not an expert in marriage. However, whether blatantly or in the subtleties of daily life, God has been showing me a lot over the past year…so, here you have it.
- Waiting was worth it. We are both practicing Catholics, so it was a no-brainer for us to abstain from sex, living together, etc. before we got married. Frankly, it was absolutely worth it. When I say that, I do not mean that it wasn’t annoying to wait or that everything went perfectly once we got married. But, what waiting allowed me to see was a very clear beginning to our married life together, and to plainly recognize that this vocation is a big deal. It is unlike anything that I have tackled before! God is very wise in asking us to make marriage distinct from other relationships. For myself, I felt that I could enter in more completely and joyfully because of our decision to wait.
- Commitment is a great thing. When people ask me what my favorite thing about marriage is so far, believe it or not, I always say the commitment. First off, I feel that way because I feel so safe. When commitment is a given there is a great sense of rest! We may fight or have off days but I can still be confident that Ryan is not going anywhere. Whether it’s a day that we feel stuck with each other or gifted with one another, we literally have our entire lives to get really good at this thing that is marriage. Secondly, I am not afraid to commit because I know I married well with Ryan. I married a man who is always trying to grow, and working to better himself and our relationship. I can safely put my trust in him. Basically, I married a really good man who I am thrilled to build a life with.
- God desires to renew. Once, when I was in prayer, I felt as though God gave me the secret to a great marriage. Unfortunately, this secret formula didn’t involve never fighting or having a lifetime of butterflies in my stomach. What I received instead was, Constantly pray for the grace of forgiveness and renewal. Forgiveness is an obvious one; hurts come and go in marriage and it has been necessary to seek that reconciliation with my spouse. Renewal was that next step that I didn’t think of. Even if we forgive, we can still remain wounded. God showed me that in praying for constant renewal in our relationship we can avoid building walls that separate us. Most importantly, we can love from a place of true freedom instead of acting out of our wounds.
- God is still our #1, but it looks different than before. Both Ryan and I had the privilege of being missionaries. During that time it was asked of us that, at minimum, we would pray a holy hour every day and go to daily Mass. Frankly, we loved it! But now, it is sometimes a temptation to think we’re not growing as much because we’re not doing as many ‘Jesus-y things.’ We each still take time for daily prayer, but our primary path to holiness is now each other. At times, it’s hard to accept this because it doesn’t feel like we’re pursing God as much. But in loving Ryan, God has shown me that I, in fact, love Him because I am being faithful to my primary vocation.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and it definitely highlights some of the wonderful things about marriage. But know that when I said in the beginning that I didn’t think marriage was that hard, I don’t mean that there haven’t been hardships. However, I can honestly say that there have been way more joys than sorrows. Again, this is our experience and every couple is different. In all this one thing is certain, beginning to build my life around this new vocation (which is now my life’s mission) has been such a blessing.
My prayer for all of us is that in being faithful to the commitments God brings to us, we can know His love in new and abiding ways. God bless you all!
Rachel is a proud Illinois native, Catholic convert, and full-time Youth Minister in the Twin Cities. She loves coffee dates, cooking for people, and hanging out with her favorite person, her husband.