October 6, 2014

the first year

my dear friend joy got married last weekend. i somewhat randomly joined a bible study she was in over ten years ago and we are still studying together today. since she was the first friend to get married after me, i started thinking about what i wanted to share with her as she begins her marriage.  

i thought back to the cards and advice that were given to us and remembered that the ones that stuck out in my mind the most were the handful that warned us not to be surprised if our first year of marriage was hard. at the time i wasn't sure if that would apply to us or not, but i suppose it was kind of freeing to know that if things started feeling hard, that was okay.  

as we went through that year i remember thinking from time to time, this is really good, but this is hard. i couldn't quite make sense of how it could be both at the same time, and i couldn't figure out how to articulate the ways it was hard. we didn't really have any rough patches that first year [though donald may argue that my back injury was on the rough side], but there were definitely times that it was hard.

it was hard to always be trying to figure out 'our' new way of doing everything. money was different. groceries were different. sleeping schedules were different. every. thing. was. different. one day, probably about six months in, i actually sat down to make a list of the things in my life that were the same and/or different from the same time the previous year. the different list seemed to never end. i had a new marital status, a new home, new furniture, a new neighborhood, a new cell phone company, a new roommate, a new dog, a new grocery store, a new bank, a new budget and a new job. the same list was short. it was my car. i had the same car. it was the only thing that hadn't changed.

now i obviously still had the same friends and family [though i had new additions to the latter] and all these changes weren't bad, they were just numerous. but now we've settled in. everything doesn't feel new and different all the time. we've figured out our new normal.

i'm thankful i was able to celebrate joy's joyous day with her and for the chance to pass a little encouragement onto her as she and steve begin their first year as husband and wife.

shelly . joy . beth

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