Hundreds of long conversations.
Thousands of kisses.
Millions of laughs.
Some things are hard to count.
Dustin and I got married young. He was 23. I was 22, and had graduated college just four months earlier.
I often wonder if we did it the right way. It has become much more common to wait a few years to wed. According to these statistics, the average age for women to get married in the US was 27.4 years in 2017. For men it was 29.5 years. (If this was true for Dustin, he wouldn’t even be married yet.)
Instead, here we are at 28 and 29 celebrating another year where we managed to work through our problems together without killing the other person. And y’all, it ain’t easy.
Getting married so young meant we had to learn how to “adult” together. We had to learn how to manage finances, navigate the job market, and organize a household together.
Learning these skills together was valuable in a sense–we each had a partner by our side to help us through the process. In another way, learning life skills together means everything, everything requires compromise. You don’t get to choose your way on anything because every decision affects the both of you.
For us, getting married young was right. It was also incredibly difficult.
Looking back on the six years we’ve been married, I smile at the many high points Dustin and I have experienced together (like bringing our precious daughter into the world)… and I regret the moments when I have allowed arguments to spin out of control and said hurtful things that I couldn’t take back.
Praise God for grace and forgiveness.
This is the number one lesson I’ve learned in marriage:
Marriage is awesome. You get to spend every day with someone you love and who makes you happy. It’s also hard. Why? Because early on you find out that marriage requires sacrificing a lot.
You cannot be selfish in marriage. A successful marriage requires you to put aside your needs for the needs of the other person. This is not always fun to do. In fact, sometimes it really sucks.
But here is why it works: your spouse will do the same for you.
Remember what Jesus said in Luke 9:23: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.”
In the same way that being a Christian means rejecting your sinful desires and following Christ, being a good husband or wife means denying yourself and focusing on your spouse. When both husband and wife follow this model of putting the other’s needs first, both people feel appreciated, valued, and loved.
And one bonus tip: it’s way easier to follow this method if both spouses are pursuing Christ first and foremost in their lives.
Dustin and I have done this right and we’ve done this wrong over the years. We’ve seen the difference this makes in our marriage and we want to shout it from the rooftops: being equally yoked is a good start but it’s not enough.
We were always equally yoked. We had been Christians for many years before we married, or even met. But Christianity cannot be passive.
When we actively pursue the Lord in our daily lives, we grow closer to one another. It’s a beautiful side effect of our faith, and something that I believe God intended all along when he created marriage.
I am so grateful for the six years that Dustin and I have shared together. We’ve each grown personally and we’ve grown as a couple. And yet, I know that we have a lot of learning to do as the years continue to pass.
If there’s one thing that sums up six years of marriage it’s this: we’ve had our surprises (*cough* Emmanuella *cough*).
The unexpected, both good and bad, has cropped up over the years. It’s been a journey getting this far. But I know for sure that there is no partner I’d rather have by my side through it all than Dustin.
Let’s celebrate all that we’ve shared so far and look to the future.