HELLO from my favorite place on earth: the beach! We are celebrating yet another anniversary with the sand and the ocean right in front of us, and I am just so grateful and happy about it.
And what a blessing it is to say that we are celebrating our second anniversary – TIME. FLIES. I still remember that perfect June Saturday like it was yesterday (and while that’s probably expected at this point, I’m convinced I’ll say the same 50 years from now), when the excitement and anticipation and hope of living our lives as one finally came to fruition in the most beautiful way, alongside our favorite people.
That day was a dream, but the journey since has been even better.
While Year No. 2 has been marked by the life-changing, incredible news of Baby Girl Paschal, as I spent some time reflecting on all that this year has brought, what resonated with me the most was how much growth there is in stillness. I imagine all of us have heard it said that the first year of marriage brings with it a number of challenges, from learning to live together to truly dying to selfishness (…anyone else still working on that one long after the first year?), and all of that is true. But if the first year is the boat trying to stay afloat in the midst of the storms, the second year – in my experience – is hunkering down and determining where exactly the boat is headed. Sometimes it feels easier than the first year and sometimes it feels harder, but it has definitely been just as rewarding.
Honestly, sometimes it isn’t exciting. The thing about those ups and downs in the first year is that you have a lot of resets, a lot of triumphs and challenges that feel much more like a highlight reel than dirty work — but our second year was quieter, in many ways. We had made huge strides in learning how to work together, understanding how to communicate in a way that was encouraging instead of hurtful, and the list goes on. We had laid a lot of hopes and expectations for our second year out on the table, and even now, some of them seem daunting. But in the midst of it all, God has blessed us beyond measure. In the stillness of everyday life, in the waiting and trusting that God is at work, we have grown in unbelievable ways.
While our triumphs in the first year felt a lot more obvious — whether it was learning how to say ‘I’m sorry,’ being willing to try life a little bit differently for one another, or simply stepping back after those first 12 months and realizing we had built a life of our own together — this year has brought calmer, yet arguably much more monumental, triumphs.
Moments of growth have come to pass in the greatest disguises. Sometimes it was in Jordan wiping away my tears when the pregnancy test was negative. It was in the moments when I remembered that my words had the power to break Jordan down, and instead of blurting what was on my mind, I chose to be a little more thoughtful. So much more than in year one, the growth was in the silent sacrifices: choosing not to pick a fight and never boasting in it, being present with one another when the mildest touches of “for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” tested us, and so much more. And I’m here to tell you: it was beautiful. It was hard, but it was beautiful.
We clearly have a lot coming at us for Year 3, but I couldn’t be more excited or expectant for what God will do in our lives as we step into another year of this perfect mess. He has been so faithful to us, answering our prayers beyond what we could have ever imagined. All praise be to Him for the grace that has abounded long before and ever since the exchange of “I do’s” two years ago today.
Whether you are newlyweds, soon-to-be married or have been married for years and years, I don’t want to close out this post without encouraging you to read a book that my friend pointed me to right around this time last year – it’s called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Without a doubt, this has been so instrumental in changing how I approach my marriage and the way I treat Jordan. If you give it a chance and really devote time to reading it all the way through, I am so confident it will encourage you as the hurdles of marriage present themselves time and time again.
I love that so many of you reading this are in different stages of life from one another, and I’ve prayed a lot about how this post – and this blog overall – feels like something that speaks to you regardless of where you are in your life. As I’ve thought about this, what I feel led to say here is that I hope more than the pretty pictures and the joyful smiles and the “highlight reel” that I’ve chosen to show here, you see so clearly that God’s grace has by far been the shining star here. His grace is not isolated to me or our marriage – He extends that to you as well, and I hope you grab hold of it and allow it to take you wherever He may lead you.
We’re ready for ya, Year 3. All THREE of us. :)
…and a few more from our wedding day, because we sure do have a lot of amazing photos from Brookelyn Riley Photography:
All wedding photos in this post are courtesy of Brookelyn Riley Photography.