Today I was scrolling through my blog, reading some of my old posts, just to get a refresher about what was on my heart as the months have gone by, and I stumbled upon my post from last year titled, 4 things I learned in my first year of marriage. This post caught my attention because Riley and I are quickly approaching our second wedding anniversary at the beginning of September and I just can’t hardly believe it! I have started to reflect on this past year of our lives and think it would be fun to write a follow-up post about the 4 things I’ve learned in my second year of marriage. So, here goes nothing!
1. Two dogs are better than one
Last year at this time we had just gotten KC and moved into our new apartment to start our lives in Kansas City. A lot has changed in the course of one year and one of those changes has been the addition of Ellie to our family. KC and Ellie, together, provide us with enough entertainment to last a lifetime. Sure there are many moments of frustration with all four of us living in a tiny, two bedroom apartment, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not uncommon for Riley and I to bicker about whose turn it is to take the dogs out to go potty. But, now that we have two dogs, that means we both get to take the dogs out to go potty. Also, two dogs means twice the amount of dog hair. That has given Riley the opportunity to ‘love’ me by regularly vacuuming our entire apartment. We are better people because of our two pups. Any and all married people should have not just one dog, but two. That’s my opinion and I’m standing by it.
2. Everything is a competition
Literally, everything. We aren’t allowed to play against each other in any organized sport or activity. I’ve known this was an issue well before we ever got married, however it has reached new heights in our relationship. Recently a co-worker of mine shared an app with me called Happy Couple. If you’re unfamiliar with this app, essentially it gives you series of questions about you and your spouse and the goal is to answer the question truthfully for yourself first, and then answer the same question the way you think your spouse would answer it. If you guess correctly, how your spouse would answer the question, you get a point. I’m making it sound much more complicated than it really is. Anyways, the point of the app is to see how well you know each other and potentially identify areas where conversations need to be had. I told Riley about this app and asked him to download it so that we could play. The first day we had the app, I just so happened to get more points than him. Meaning, I correctly guessed how he would answer his questions more times than he correctly guessed how I would answer my questions. As he was telling me goodnight he whispered in my ear, “I’m going to beat you tomorrow.” SO NOT THE POINT, RILEY JAMES. Everything is a competition.We do, however, make a pretty great team. I’m learning to embrace it.
3. Community is essential
We spent the last three months of our first year of marriage in Kansas City. Riley had just started grad school and I had just started my first job out of college. After being here for just over a year, I can confidently say that we’re finally feeling ‘settled’. Riley and I met, built our friendship, dated, spent most of our engagement and most of our first year of marriage in Manhattan, KS. We have such fond memories of our time in college; the friendships we made and the life we had there. Kansas City has been so good to us, but it has taken some time and a lot of effort to feel connected here. I can’t speak for Riley completely, because our day-to-day experiences are vastly different with him being in grad school, working full-time and having an internship, he’s a busy guy. But, I struggled a lot my first year out of college. I struggled emotionally, spiritually and physically. I expressed to Riley my need for community and he heard me. Instead of complaining about adding one more thing to his plate, he willingly made himself available to come with me to small group, young adult groups, young married groups and random hangouts with some of my friends from high school. Over the last few months my need for community has been satisfied by all of these things and an amazing work environment with some of the best co-workers I’m sure I’ll ever get a chance to do life with. Ultimately, Riley and I love to spend time with each other no matter what that looks like, but we also have a huge need for community, as do most people. I’m so thankful Riley has been willing to walk alongside me in building relationships with other couples and individuals as we continue to make Kansas City, home.
4. Change is inevitable and that’s exciting
One of the benefits of being married to someone going to school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), is that included in the monetary investment you make, you get to learn some really helpful things about your own marriage and relationship in the process. Riley’s schooling has opened the door to many interesting conversations about each of our pasts and how they have shaped our attitudes, tendencies and really, so much of who we are today. Because of this, we have had a great opportunity to learn more about each other than we ever had before. It would make sense that you would continue to learn about someone the longer you’re with them, but I have decided it takes real intentionality to actually do that. You can’t assume that since you’ve lived with someone for a long time, you really know them. You have to put in the effort to know them. It’s a choice. Riley and I got married young and without a doubt, we are still growing as individuals in our careers, faith and as people in general. It’s always been funny to me that people assume there’s ever a time in their life when they will stop growing in some way. The problem marriages run into is not that people ‘change’, because frankly, everyone ‘changes’ and I don’t see that as a negative thing. Spouses who aren’t willing to continuously get to know their ever-changing partners will realize one day that they are living with a stranger, feeling completely unknown and misunderstood. I love Riley and I am not naive enough to believe that he is done growing, changing or developing as a person. I’m excited for the opportunity to get to spend so much of my life as his wife, being intentional about getting to know him as each new season comes and goes.
Two years down, many more to go. This was surprisingly easier to write than my first post and I’m excited to see what year three brings. We’re far from perfect, but I’m constantly thankful for God’s grace as we continue to learn together. God does an amazing thing when two people commit to each other for His glory. If you have any more bits of marriage wisdom, drop a comment below. I’d love to hear how God is shaping, molding and refining you through your marriage relationship.
Be encouraged, friends.
I will now share with you a few pictures from our second year of marriage because, why not?