My now wife and I were at a poetry event in Cleveland called The PIA Tour, and I planned to ask for her hand in marriage. Everything was already set up, and she didn’t have a clue.
As I sat there in my seat, I felt like I was about to have a panic attack. My palms were sweating, my heart was racing, and my stomach was turning. My now wife and I were at a poetry event in Cleveland called The PIA Tour, and I planned to ask for her hand in marriage. Everything was already set up and she didn’t have a clue. I’d rehearsed over and over the words I was going to say, and once the show came to an end, I was prompted to come to the stage because I had mysteriously “lost” my ID. While standing there, the poet played it off by asking me what I thought of the performances. After sharing a few words, I asked for the woman who was my girlfriend at the time to come to the stage. She had a look of confusion on her face, but it didn’t hit her that I was about to proposeuntil our family and friends appeared out of nowhere. As the crowd cheered, I got on one knee in front of 700+ people, and asked her if she would marry me. As tears flowed down her face, she happily said, “Yes!” It was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives and a memory we’ll always cherish.
Fast forward one year later to our wedding day.
As the music began to play and the choir began to sing, my bride came from around the corner in her ivory dress looking more beautiful than ever. I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m really about to be married.” It felt like a surreal moment. As we faced each other, we shared our vows, washed each other’s feet and were eventually pronounced husband and wife. God blessed me with the greatest gift a man could ask for, and we instantly became newlyweds on the 5th of October.
I share these stories because matrimony is a wonderful thing, but just as much as it can be a blessing, it can also be a challenge. As a matter of fact, it will be a challenge at times, and I quickly learned that newlyweds are not exempt. When I was single, I would say that marriage has to be the ultimate tool for growth. Although I didn’t fully understand what I was saying at the time, during these first three months of marriage, I’ve found that statement to be remarkably true. With that being said, here are three challenging, yet valuable lessons I’ve learned that I think would be beneficial for newlyweds, engaged couples, those in serious relationships and even singles who desire the love keeping covenant that marriage is:
Check yourself first.
I know this doesn’t sound realistic in situations when you feel you haven’t done anything wrong, but in most cases, both are usually wrong in some form or fashion. Instead of quickly pointing the finger, evaluate where you may have played a part in the problem. What this does is show your spouse that you’re more concerned with coming up with solutions than being right. It begins to create a culture of trust within the marriage when neither of you have a problem with being at fault.
Open up to your partner.
Most problems don’t have to be problems if we just open our mouths and effectively express how we’re feeling or what we’re thinking in the first place. Sometimes, it’s nothing serious, and other times it’s very important. Regardless of the level of significance, there’s no such thing as over-communicating. Talk frequently about everything. In addition to that, don’t expect what’s not communicated or assume what’s not confirmed.
Marriage isn’t a part-time or full-time job – it’s a lifetime job. I’ve learned, and am still learning, that it’s okay that we don’t have everything figured out. That’s the point of learning and growing together through life. Furthermore, you can avoid a lot of pressure by not falling into the “comparison trap” and creating unrealistic expectations. Give yourself, and your spouse, room to develop. If there’s a mutual agreement that the both of you are committed to growth, there’s no need to expedite the process.
Bonus: Remember your vows.
One thing that my wife and I have decided to do is to put our vows on one of our bedroom walls. That way, we’re always encouraged and reminded of the commitment we made and have to one another.
All in all, marriage is a wonderful commitment that is full of highs with some lows along the way, but you get out of it what you put into it. My wife and I agree that the quality of our marriage reflects the quality of our effort. This understanding makes loving each other that much easier and is why her love was the greatest gift of 2018.