Today, my husband and I celebrate 4 years of marriage.
As year 4 has come to an end, I can't believe where we are now and what it took to get us here.
In 4 short years, we've lived in 3 different homes, quit our careers to pursue new ones freelancing in the creative industry, started sharing one car, made it through a long recovery after a major surgery, owned a business together, hired our first employee, made lifelong friendships, traveled to new cities, fought a lot, fought hard for our marriage, and loved each other with all we've got.
"Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun
—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun."
- Ecclesiastes 9:9
Marriage has been and continues to be the most growing and humbling experience of my life.
Here are 4 things I've learned so far.
1. I learned how to enjoy the freedom found in working through conflict.
If you asked me how I enjoyed being married 3 years ago and told me to answer honestly, I would have said I wished we were still dating. We often told other couples who were seriously dating to date for as long as possible in a joking manner. Neither of us were joking and we both knew it. And it hurt.
Being married was rough our first year because there were hurtful accusations of one not loving the other as much, because we both wanted to have it our way, because our expectations for each other were too high. There was also the transition of starting/owning a business together halfway through our first year of marriage and spending all of our time with each other. We were a mess. We were fighting, making up, made up and happy, fighting, and it was a perpetual cycle that seemed to get more and more escalated with each conflict.
Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles,
- 1 Corinthians 7:28
Thinking back on all of the conflict, I don't regret any of it. As hard as all of that was, no other way would have made our marriage what it is today. We may have gotten married because we loved each other, but we certainly did not know how to love each other. We were forced to learn to love each other by pushing through conflict.
2. I learned how to enjoy my time with the Lord.
My time with the Lord is sacred. My husband's time with the Lord is sacred.
Our time together with the Lord is sacred.
Our relationship is the healthiest when we are individually spending time with God in prayer, meditation, and His word. Without Him, it would have been easier for us to get divorced but with Him, divorce is never even an option.
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them
will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock
- Matthew 7:24
3. I learned how to enjoy my husband and how to let him enjoy me.
This is about intimacy and not about intimacy.
When my husband pays me a compliment like, "You look beautiful," I often dismissed it. I would either have the attitude of "He has to say that - he's married to me," or I accused him of having motives driven by his sexual desires. Both responses were unfair of me and due to my own insecurities. Learning to believe the best in my husband has helped me to enjoy him and all aspects of our marriage, from mundane tasks like budgeting to fun memories like traveling, from enjoying a meal at the dinner table to laying with each other on our bed.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
- Ephesians 5:28-30
4. I learned how to enjoy life.
This may sound morbid but I often think about what would happen to the other if one of us were to die. Knowing that nothing on this earth is permanent, I sometimes can't help but consider that as a possibility. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that our lives are fleeting and it has completely changed how I treat my husband and live my life. Knowing that I could lose Hoyoung on any given day makes me think twice about what I say, my tone of voice, and hurting him.
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
- Ephesians 4:2
I certainly am not perfect - I make mistakes, say things I don't mean, and we still fight, but I have learned to say I'm sorry and be more forgiving. I still struggle with anxiety and get stressed out, but I am quicker to rest in the Lord, trusting that He is the good Father and in control. The freedom I have found in the Father I gained over the 4 years I've been married. I am eternally grateful.