On January 21, 2017, Joseph and I got married at Saint Isidore's Catholic Student Center in Manhattan Kansas. It was an incredible day. Despite the warnings of wedding stress, our wedding day was one of the most stress-free, joy-filled days of my life.
It was a wedding that was us - and a day that is full of so many good memories. Joseph and I were able to spend the morning together for our last adoration hour as an engaged couple. The friends surrounding us in our wedding party had been through thick and thin with us. The wedding party picked me up a coffee on their way to the reception. The reception was full of laughter, heart-to-hearts, good food, and lots of dancing.
Six months later, we've moved to an apartment in a new city, met amazing friends, experienced a miscarriage, traveled across the United States, adopted a rabbit, built blanket forts, adventured out and explored Kansas City, and have made a daily choice to grow deeper in love with each other.
It goes without saying that life is a little crazier than it was six months ago, but marriage has been an amazing adventure so far. . . we've definitely found our vocation.
During marriage prep, there were so many times in our sessions that we looked at each other after our counselors asked us a question and said "Well, I guess we'll find out when we're married!" Now that we've made it six months into marriage, I feel like we know a little bit more about marriage than we did back in January. Here are six lessons that I've learned in the six short, joyous months that we've been married.
01. Love is a Daily Choice
On our wedding day, I couldn't stop smiling when I thought about what Joseph and I were vowing to each other that day. But, after six months of marriage, I've learned that love isn't a feeling that just comes and goes. Instead, love is a daily choice to will each other's good.
Don't get me wrong - my heart still races when I hear Joseph's car pull into the parking lot after a long day at work. Dear readers, I love this man. But on the days where I'd rather be a selfish brat and make a decision for myself, I have to choose to love and put Joseph's needs before my own.
02. Suffering Together Can Make Your Marriage Stronger
It would have been easy to let the grief we both experienced after losing Marion tear us apart. But because we consciously worked through the grief together, I've loved more than I thought was possible for a human heart.
In a blog, Kevin Thompson writes: "Few people consider sickness and suffering when picking a mate. They consider how the other person might look in the morning or what bad habits they might have. They consider what offspring they could produce or what extended family they might bring to the reunion.
Yet few people ever consider what is a vital question—can I suffer with this person?
It sounds like the beginning of another marriage joke, but it’s not. It’s a real question and one which should be explored by every dating couple. Suffering is a part of life. And the older a person gets, the more we realize that suffering is not a rare occurrence, but is a common aspect of our lives. Sorrow comes in many forms, yet it is guaranteed to come. BEWARE: Not everyone suffers well.
Some live in denial—unable to confront the deep realities of life. Some live in despair—unable to recognize the convergence of laughter and tears. Few have the grace to suffer well. Those who do suffer well are a well-spring of life and faith."
I would never have picked losing our sweet honeymoon baby as a way to grow closer to my husband. But God brings beauty from ashes and that is exactly what He did with the loss of Marion. Our marriage is stronger than ever - and we have a little intercessor in Heaven who we can't wait to meet when we get up there.
03. Laundry is More Fun if You Fold it Together
It's common knowledge that I hate laundry. I hated it when I was single and shamelessly let the clothing pile up in my room before I absolutely had to wash them. But when chores came up in conversation when Joseph and I were dating, I found out that Joseph was a huge fan of laundry either.
We laughed when we realized that our mutual hatred of laundry could spell trouble in the form of piles of neglected, stinky clothes.
But I'm proud to say that, in this first six months, the laundry basket has yet to overflow. And it's not because my wedding vows magically made the smell of laundry detergent exhilarating and the thought of folding clothes mesmerizing. Ha, I wish.
Instead, it's recognizing that sometimes things (like household chores) aren't the most fun . . . but they are amazing opportunities to choose to love. St. Teresa of Avila wrote, "God walks among the pots and pans." I'm pretty sure he also strolls among folded laundry and organized closets.
Chores are also more enjoyable if you do them as a team. Laundry isn't the only area in marriage where it's great to work as a team, though. Whether it's organizing the calendar or making decisions together for our monthly budget, team work makes a huge difference in those tasks that aren't the most fun.
04. You Can Always Learn Something New About Each Other
Joseph and I have known each other for over two years, which in comparison to the rest of our lives, isn't that much time at all. It has been incredible over the past six months of our marriage to continue to learn about each other. Whether it is what our favorite foods are, or how we handle stress, there is always something to find out and cherish about the other person. I can't wait to learn more about Joseph Langr as our marriage continues for years to come, God willing.
05. Don't forget the importance of community.
I love spending time with Joseph. I look forward to nights that we both are at home after work, chatting about our day and digging into subjects we both are passionate about. But with all of Joseph's great qualities. . . he's not a woman. And while I'm glad that he isn't, I also realized very quickly that I would have to tap into friendships with other women to fulfill that need for femininity in my life.
Similarly, I'm not a guy. Which means that although I love chatting over a beer, I cannot fulfill the masculinity that Joseph needs in his life.
Finding men and women's small groups was a huge benefit for our marriage. Having men and women to open up to and discuss things that need a feminine or masculine perspective has helped our marriage thrive . . . and we have had the chance to make amazing friends in a new city.
So even though I consider Joseph my best friend, we also realize that we need time with other men and women to grow in our faith lives and live out the masculine and feminine genius in our new, married vocation.
06. Christ Has to Stay at the Center
When Joseph and I were dating, we intentionally focused on a Christ-centered relationship. We wrote a prayer for our relationship together, chose Saint Pope John Paul II as the patron saint of our relationship, and spent time together in Mass and adoration.
Now that we're married, our spiritual relationship is still growing deeper. We still petition Saint Pope John Paul II at the end of our prayers. We have an adoration hour together weekly, and we still pray that relationship prayer that we wrote almost two years ago.
During Lent, we decided to pray together every night before we went to bed. We pray for each other's intentions, bring concerns and stresses to the Lord, and remember those who have asked us for our prayers. I'll be honest, sometimes we're so wiped out at the end of the night that our prayer consists of a simple Hail Mary for our intentions. Other times, our prayers are a little sleepy. But regardless of how droopy our eyes are, or how sleepy our sentences sound, we make time to end the night in prayer.
Our prayer life together is just beginning - and keeping Christ at the center of our marriage has been one of the best choices we've ever made for our marriage.
Here's to an incredible first six months of marriage, and like a good cast iron skillet, getting stronger and better with time.