Two Years of Marriage

It feels like a couple months and like years and years, all at the same time. I simply cannot believe that today we're celebrating two years of marriage! Two years ago yesterday, I was an excited and nervous bride-to-be. I was feeling nervous about the next day's events, so my groom-to-be came into my room and prayed with me. Immediately I felt peace. I was ready! Then, two years ago TODAY, I became a wife. I made a whole bunch of promises to my favorite man in the world; most of which I had no idea of their weight or meaning or how tough, joyful and sanctifying all those promises would be. 

Not that we are experts on marriage (not even a little bit!), but we did think it would be fun to share a couple really important things we've learned in our two years. We hope you enjoy them!

- Communication is key: What a cliche, I know! I don't just mean communicating about problems (though certainly talk about those!) but I think another key to marriage is communicating throughout your days or if your jobs don't allow for that, at least have an idea of your schedules and what the other will be doing throughout the day. I love to know when my husband is leaving work to come home (helps me know when to start dinner!) and I also love getting fun messages from him throughout the day on G-Chat. This helps me feel connected and like he's thinking about me and vice versa.

In communicating about issues, we've learned that it's best to do this when you're not in the heat of the moment if possible. I like to talk things out right away, but often this isn't a good idea if I'm still really upset. My husband would rather wait two days, then talk about it, which also isn't a good idea because it could go unsolved. We learned in pre-marriage counseling that it's okay to take a breather and step back for a couple of hours, as long as you decide you will come together to talk about the issue soon. That way we can both collect our thoughts and hopefully come together with a more clear mind. 

Then there's communicating about needs, desires, expectations, likes, dislikes, your faith, your know the everyday stuff! I think it's just really important to never stop dating and getting to know each other. It's SO easy (believe us, we struggle with this!) to veg out on the couch and watch a show together. But when that becomes the norm, you eventually stop having real conversations and that's not okay or life-giving to a relationship! We try to be intentional about asking each other the following questions at least once a month:

1. How can I be praying for you? (This helps us get at the heart of things. What is really going on in our minds and souls?)
2. What is God teaching you? (This helps us understand each other's faith, what God's doing in their lives and it's immensely encouraging to hear your spouse share about the work the Lord is doing.)
3. How can I serve you better next week? (This helps bring out anything we can work on in ourselves for the other spouse and reminds us that we are supposed to serve the other before thinking of our own needs.)

- Create your own family: This was taught to us in pre-marriage counseling and I think it's one of the most important things we've learned. Leave and cleave to your spouse! This doesn't mean cutting your family off but it does mean that you and your spouse are now each other's main priority, making decisions together that are best for the two of you. This has been tough for us because we love our families and want everyone to be happy all the time. My husband is a peacemaker (Enneagram #9) and I'm an Achiever (#3) who often looks to others for approval and worth. We want our families to be okay with where we live, what we do, what church we go to, what kind of doctors we see, how we'll raise our future kids, but the truth is they might not always approve and that's okay. We have learned that we need to first follow what God wants for us as a couple. As long as we are like-minded and making good decisions for us, that's all that matters.

- Laughter: the more we laugh, the more connected we feel and the more we grow in love. It really IS the best medicine!

- Marriage is 100/100: This is probably controversial. In fact, I know it is because I watched The Bachelorette and Becca said she was looking for someone to do life with 50/50 about a million times. I'm sure she has tons of girls listening to her and agreeing with her sentiments, but friends, can I just share this with you: marriage was never meant to be 50/50. This implies that if each person puts in 50% of themselves, they will equal 100% together. 

We learned that you put 100% of yourself into marriage because as Christians, marriage emulates the relationship of God with His Church. When Christ died for our sins on the cross, giving us hope through eternal life with Him as our savior, he gave EVERYTHING he had. He didn't just go 50% in. As a wife, I am to be mirroring what Christ did for me in my marriage, which means I put in 100% of myself. 

A 50/50 mindset will keep score. You'll try to do things equally, but you'll find out it's not possible and it's tiring to keep track. It will harvest bitterness when your partner doesn't do "their fair share". What happens when your spouse can't lift their load? Do you call it quits? The vows we took weren't "if you do your part, I'll do mine" they were "I promise to love and serve you for all the days of my life" matter what. 

In a 100/100 relationship, we don't wait for the other person to act or serve or do in order for the other to reciprocate. We do it out of our love and because that's what we promised. Just like Jesus didn't wait for us to get our acts together before he died for our sins-- no, he died for our sins and promised us new life with Him while KNOWING we would still sin and make mistakes. The 100/100 marriage is (hopefully) a picture of grace and servanthood that the gospel presents. 

And on a personal note, I have a tendency to keep score on things. I like to be the best I can be and I like to think I have "right" ways of doing things. But you guys, the second I start doing this is the second I stop serving my husband and instead do things to prove I can do them better or faster. Then I get bitter. It's a downward spiral. The more I tell myself marriage is about giving everything I have regardless of reciprocation, the better my relationship is with my husband and the Lord.

- Create traditions: This one is mostly from me :) I just love creating traditions with my hubby that one day we'll do with our kids. For example, we get a Starbucks then go pick out Christmas tree. On Valentine's Day I get up early and make us oven-pancakes. On what would be McCann's dad's birthday (he passed away over two years ago now), we have milkshakes and talk about favorite memories because his dad made the best shakes. On our anniversary, we watch our full ceremony and speech videos from our wedding. I cry and he laughs at me while I cry ;) It's just all so sweet. 

- Community: Don't ditch your friends when you get married! I've seen this happen with some of my own friends and I think it can be really dangerous. This is a time in your life when you'll need them more than ever. We've been SO blessed by such sweet friends and we're so thankful for their influence in our marriage. We are in a small group with two other couples from our church and it's been great to walk through marriage together, keeping each other accountable, pointing each other to God, and sharing experiences. It's also important to hang out with your girlfriends and guyfriends separately so you still feel like "you" :) We were never meant to do life alone, even in marriage/relationships! Having a supportive community of people around us these last few years has been such a gift.
- My spouse doesn't complete me: Also a wildly popular idea ;) I used to have a list of character traits I wanted in a husband and while I think it's good and important to know some things you think you want in a husband and know what you're worth as a woman, I think it can be dangerous to make a list of traits because you think those things, in the form of a husband, will complete you or make you happy. Being married has brought me tons of joy, yes!! But being married hasn't made all my problems go away or made me feel complete.

If you go into marriage with the thought that being married will finally fill a void or complete your missing part, then you are setting your spouse up for epic failure and yourself for some serious disappointment. If your happiness and sense of completion ride on your spouse and their performance, then they will fail you I'm not ragging on my husband (because I'm not, he's amazing!), I'm just saying that if my hope is in him, a human who can make mistakes, I'm setting up way too high of expectations for him and myself. He feels pressured and I will never get that hole filled if I'm looking for it in him. 

The ONLY person who can complete and satisfy me (and you!) is Jesus. My husband and I have to remind ourselves all the time that Jesus is who satisfies, He's who completes us and He's where our eternal joy and hope comes from. People will always fail us in one way or another, but we will never be left thirsty by Jesus, I can promise you that.

- Being in the Word: As Christ followers, the Bible is our wellspring. If we're not reading it and soaking in God's truth, then we won't interact with each other in an honoring way. I get a lot of questions about how this looks for us and usually, it's us doing our separate reading time, but then sharing what we're reading or learning at dinner. We've also just started in the last few months reading through a book of the Bible at or right after dinner time together. We read it out loud and then talk about it. It's been really good!

- Get out and do things together: AMEN! In order to nurture a relationship, you have to continue making memories and sharing in experiences. Some of our most favorite times together are trips we've taken, random drives to look at neighborhoods, going bowling or mini golfing, or going to a restaurant. 

- Marriage is hard: There, I said it. It's not always rainbows. It's hard and it takes work, just like growing a garden. You can't expect the flowers to bloom if you're not tending to them and giving them what they need. The same thing is true in a relationship. We have learned it takes tending to, it takes time and effort and understanding. It takes failure sometimes to learn important lessons in how to work better together. In two years, we've had our share of "hard". Don't let Instagram fool ya ;) Hard things and slow things are often the best, most rewarding things, though!
Photos: The Poffs 

- Marriage is a gift: It truly is. Having someone see all your flaws (and let me tell you, I have many) but loving you even so...that is humbling. What a picture of God's love for us! There's no greater joy in my life than being my husband's wife. 

If you made it through the post, bless you ;) Thank you for reading and being a part of our journey! I'd love to hear from you about some things you've learned in marriage over the years. 
Happy Tuesday! We'll be celebrating by going to dinner at one of our favorite spots. I'll be wearing my rehearsal dinner dress (something I'll do each year until I outgrow it...ha!) 

If you want to see more of our wedding, click here!

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  1. I love that you shared this. I am hitting 15 years of marriage with my fabulous husband next month. I think you hit the nail on the head with all of these. However, one thing that struck me most was your comment that marriage is 100/100. I haven't actually heard that before. And the way you described it is absolutely true! 50/50 does sort of imply that there is a way to keep score. And I do notice that when I start to think I am shouldering more of this or that chore/burden/task/parenting, it's when I get bitter and resentful. It's not at all how I would want my husband to feel toward me. Why would I want to feel that way toward him? That's when communication is even more important. They all really tie together, don't they?

    You are wise beyond your two years of marriage. You and McCann must have some amazing marital role models around you. Keep sharing these nuggets. They are appreciated. Happy anniversary!!

    1. Hi Nicole!

      WOW! Congrats on your almost 15 years :) So amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. I know it was long...ha!! YES, I love what you said about not wanting our husbands to feel that way about us and using that to propel us into serving them instead of being resentful. And yes, they totally all tie together.

      THANK YOU so much for the encouraging words and well wishes!

  2. All of those shots are gorgeous! Happy anniversary!

    1. Thank you! We love our wedding pictures so much. That was #1 priority to me and I'm so glad it was!


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