Marriage is sweet. Marriage is fun. Marriage is refining. Marriage is hard.
My husband and I celebrated one year of marriage a few weeks ago, and there’s just so much I could write about these past 365 days. We began reading 1 Peter and 2 Peter together in June, and during the week of our anniversary, God divinely had us read chapter three.
I love this passage, and I think it’s often misinterpreted in our culture. Peter’s call to live with a gentle and quiet spirit doesn’t mean women must never speak or have an opinion. He’s saying beauty is a woman whose heart loves, trusts, and finds full satisfaction in the Lord. True beauty stems from the inside.
Through marriage and now motherhood, I’ve certainly been learning what true beauty looks like—especially on those days (ahem, most days), when I skip the makeup, slip on an old sorority t-shirt, and pull my hair into a top knot.
I’ll be writing another post on beauty and these verses soon, but today I want to focus on marriage.
This past year has been beautiful and sweet and blessed and hard. Before getting married, I remember listening to a sermon from Pastor Matt Chandler in which he said he and his wife Lauren really struggled for the first seven years of their marriage. And I remember reading a book from Jess Connolly, who wrote in detail how she and her husband fought to make ends meet during their early years of marriage, moved in with her parents, and lived a vastly different life than what they had envisioned.
I haughtily thought, That won’t be us. We’ll be married after all that time dating long-distance, and life will be easy.
In fact, Charles and I have also had a year that looked vastly different than what we pictured married life would be. It’s been a year of surprises—both the good and the bad. The year was full of so much change, in our jobs, location, church, and the major transition from newlyweds to new parents. God blessed us in incredible ways. When Charles moved down to Nashville, he got a job within a few weeks, and we were able to move into an apartment in one of our favorite neighborhoods. Shortly after that, we found out we were expecting, and this April, our precious son burst into our lives.
But in the midst of great blessing, we’ve also faced hardship. Over the past year, we’ve had very limited time together because of our job schedules. Quality time is the top love language for both of us, so this lack of togetherness has been extremely difficult. We’ve dealt with unexpected medical issues and surgery, plus the many appointments and bills that come with those. All of this has happened as we’ve been sleep-deprived and physically exhausted, and as I’ve been under the cloud of pregnancy and postpartum hormones.
Our son is 12 weeks old today, and I finally feel like I’m getting a bit more rest and that my hormones are leveling off. I feel more like myself. Charles is doing better, too. We’ve moved from a season of great difficulty to a season of great difficulty but clarity. You see, God has made it abundantly clear to us what He desires for us, both individually and as a family. He’s used this year to strengthen us in ways many couples don’t experience until later in their marriage, if at all.
I remember having a conversation with my dietitian a few months ago, as I sat crying in her office. I was heavily pregnant and feeling overwhelmed, while also missing my husband. She shared with me how she and her husband, now married more than 30 years, faced their own hardship during those early years as young 20-somethings. They got married in college, they didn’t have much financially, and they lived simply. She told me how they’d make date nights special by cooking together and eating a picnic in the living room by candlelight. No television, just a radio to listen to and conversations to have with each other.
She said any difficulties they faced in that season built their marriage early on with a firm foundation in the Lord—and showed them how important it is to simply be together as husband and wife. To talk, to pray, and ultimately to trust in His plan.
And that’s exactly what Charles and I have come to realize. Reading 1 and 2 Peter has helped us see that suffering is not only a normal part of the Christian life, but it’s to be expected. Furthermore, our suffering cannot compare to what Christ suffered. He went through the most horrible death imaginable. Crucifixion was meant to put a person through as much pain as possible while prolonging their death. That’s what Jesus went experienced for us, and He lived His life with eyes focused on the cross—while also knowing He would rise again as our Savior and King. Praise God!
In this year, we’ve seen firsthand God’s grace and mercy. He is the God of restoration, strength, support, and power. (1 Peter 5:10-11) And we know that we shouldn’t be surprised “when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you.”
Our first year of marriage has been an exercise in patience and trusting in the Lord. We’re finally seeing that the difficulties we’re facing right now aren’t out of the ordinary but actually to be expected as we walk through this Christian life. We’re understanding that God’s plan is greater than ours. We’re learning to let Him work and let Him direct our steps.
Peter said it best in his second letter, written just before his death as a charge for believers to beware of idols and sins and to follow Christ wholeheartedly:
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
The Lord does not delay His promise (2 Peter 3:9). Whenever we feel lost or impatient in our waiting, we can trust in God, who is patient with us, giving us exactly what we need in His perfect timing.
That’s the truth I now cling to. Even if there are things about this year that I wish were different, I still wouldn’t change them. My husband and I have grown together through the weeds, and we see how God is gently pruning us so we continue to grow and flourish. No matter what we face, we have the great blessing of each other—something we do not take for granted. We know God has given us everything required for life and godliness through His divine power! And we look forward to the many years ahead.