Marriage is a beautiful word. Its meaning is so magnificent. When people think of marriage, scenes of flower pedals, a beautiful white dress, incredibly hot dress clothes, and lots of smiles come to mind. These are wonderful images that should continue to resonate with us. Unfortunately (well, fortunately), there is no “How-To” manual to marriage; and that is perfectly fine! I am actually really glad there is no manual because then all the fun would be taken out of it, all of the intimacy of working through a crisis or argument, or the joy of starting a family; all gone. In the first 3 (almost 4!) months of marriage, I have learned a lot about myself and about my wife, Shelby. Let me indulge you.
First, cleanliness is not as overrated as I once thought (or, at lest hoped). Shelby is wonderful at keeping our perfect-sized apartment clean. She vacuums (thanks to our furry creatures who enjoy shedding) and cleans, does the laundry and cooks. In all of those things, somehow, the house stays clean. Maybe it is because she is some super-hero, or maybe it is because she loves a clean house (I am going to say both). I, however, am not the cleanest. Well, I am, maybe just not as organized as she is. I also do not mind a little “mess” (believe me, our definitions of “mess” are quite different). She does not enjoy even little messes. I do not mind them. What has that taught me? Her cleanliness is kind of a challenge to me. It has challenged old habits which my mom has tirlessly fought to change (sorry, mom). The only thing is, when these two team up on me, I wave the white flag. So, I learned clean, or cleaning, is not my enemy. In fact, it is a key to running a smooth home.
Second, I learned that marriage is all about sharing. My mom always taught me to share with others, and whether I succeeded or not remains to be seen. We share meals together, money, chores around the house (although I must admit that she is predominantly the cleaner in the house), bills, time, and space. Some of those things can cause great rifts or anxiousness within a marriage. Rightfully so. You forget bills, your lights go out. That would not be good because then that means no more Prison Break or Blue Bloods (which is another thing we share, Netflix). However, the latter two are the most important. You can have all the money (or not a lot) and be completely unhappy. That is not new news. I would like to propose that even without a lot of money, without the “best apartment” or housing, that marriage is so much more-it is built on time. You share this time in a space (most call it a home!) where you will laugh, cry, mourn, experience joy, and welcome family. That is so much more than money. I have learned to appreciate Shelby in new ways because we share this space, and because I get to be with her. Sharing is not always easy, but, then again, neither are a lot of things in life.
Finally, I learned that my best friend is my best friend for a reason. Journeying through life is tough. We all do it. I am surrounded by great people at Truett Seminary. It is amazing to watch them grow and learn, but it is also an honor to be with them and experience the trials of life (or class; sometimes they seem one in the same). Friends are amazing gifts from God who knows what we need when we need it (I will be making another post about my time at Truett soon). Same thing with marriage. You are at your best and worst with this person. Love roots, grows, and manifests itself in this time together. Shelby and I have only been married 3.5 months, but we have been together almost four years (Nov. 13 will be four!). We have experienced many things: trials, joys (as many know, we welcomed two dogs into our home!), sadness and adventure (marriage and moving to Waco have been quite adventurous). But you see, she has been the perfect person to have alongside.
So what have I learned? A lot. Sometimes the things I learn do not make sense until after I have learned them (kind of how I feel in Intro to Theology at the moment, but that is a different story). I would not trade one moment of being married to my best friend for anything in this world.