I don't pretend to be an expert on marriage. This past week Brandon and I celebrated our 4th anniversary and gasp(!) our 7th year together. It's the longest relationship - by far - that either of us has been a part of and we continue to learn what does, and doesn't, make it work for us.
During the first couple of years of our marriage, I looked on at other couples that were saying their vows with bittersweet feelings for them. It's no secret to Brandon that in the beginning, I struggled with the responsibilities and emotions of marriage. Even though we lived together prior to our marriage, marriage changed our relationship. I realized that the things we had once bickered about needed to get resolved once we were married because we were now bound to each other for life. I struggled with trying to be a super-wife - keeping a perfect house, cooking, baking, always entertaining and going out - all while starting my career. I'm not going to lie - those first couple of years were very hard. Hence, the bittersweet feelings in watching couples say "I do!"
However, my perspective has changed drastically in these past two years of marriage. Brandon and I have been through some really tough challenges in our 4 years of marriage. Challenges that I never dreamed we would face when I put on that white dress and walked down the aisle. Challenges that have made us stronger and better people. Challenges that have helped us to understand one another more. Challenges that have made us love and appreciate one another in a way we could never have imagined. In these 4 years, Brandon has helped and loved me through my 20s, years full of changes. He has given me room to blossom into the person I am today - a person that I like to be. He had loved me through Clomid rages, through hysterics when pregnancy test after pregnancy test revealed one line instead of two, through countless make-myself-feel-better shopping sprees, through fad diets and vegetarianism, through nights (and mornings after) of a few too many vodka red bulls, a house renovation (no small feat for those who have lived - and stayed married - through one) and a long, long, long wait for our baby.
So although not an expert by any means, here are my reflections on marriage thus far:
There will be hard times. They are not the same for any couple, but as a couple you will go through hardships that seem insurmountable at times. Be honest with one another about what you need to get through those hard times (space to breath, time to cry or just to be held). Find ways to quietly love each other through the hardships and you will likely be amazed at the couple you become on the other side. Yes, marriage takes work and can be hard, however, the person you fall asleep with each night will also be there each morning, ready to face the day with you and love you through that day - no matter what it holds.