Marriage is nothing and everything I thought it would be...I promise that made sense. When you're engaged, or even dating, you imagine what your life would be like after saying "I do." You imagine the walls that will form your home, the vacations that will build memories and the holidays spent making traditions.
You typically don't think of the struggles, trials and fights that you'll have, but you know they will happen. You don't imagine getting so frustrated that you can't even stand being in the same room with the love of your life, but those moments will come.
When you think of marrying your best friend, you think of the good and just accept that the bad will be in the mix.
The funny thing with marriage is that even though there are years of experience within the world, there is no one that can tell you how to do it well or give you a "how-to" guide. Sure, lots (and lots) of people will give you their opinions, but ultimately marriage is a lot of trial and error. I realize that sounds harsh and negative, and please trust me when I say, I don't mean it that way. I simply mean that there is no "right way" to be married; you'll both do it the "wrong way" before figuring it out. When you're a wife, forgiveness and trust become your closest allies. Husbands will inevitably do something in a way that we're not fond of or didn't want done in the first place. And as wives, we will inevitably do something in a way that they're not fond of or didn't want done in the first place.
I think something that gets forgotten after the sweet, magical words of "I do" is that they were said to another human being. By nature, we mess up and make mistakes and by all accounts, are far from perfect. Life is messy and I have come to learn that marriage is about being with someone you enjoy cleaning with.
When we were engaged, one bit of advice that I got a lot was "pick your battles" and I can say with confidence, it's good advice. If you nitpick every, tiny thing, your days and weeks will be filled with arguments or, worse, silence. And there are some battles that I've learned I may never win. And honestly, that's okay.
I have learned to stop looking for perfection and to start giving the same patience and grace God has given me time and time again. I have learned that laughter is not optional, but essential. Having a sense of humor can prevent a lot of headaches and possible harsh words. I have learned moments of just sitting quietly can speak volumes. I have learned to embrace the times that stretch us because that's when we lean more on one another and on God. And lastly, I have learned that I will never stop learning.
Now, we will be celebrating 4 years of marriage in June, so I most certainly do not consider myself a cornucopia of knowledge when it comes to marriage. What I do know is this is a journey and an ever-changing, unpredictable process. To accept that, I feel, is half the battle.