4 Things I’ve Learned in my Fourth Year of Marriage

Obligatory marriage reflection post coming your way! Riley and I will be celebrating our FOURTH wedding anniversary on September 5, and here I find myself really excited about writing this post with absolutely no idea what I’m going to say. Here goes nothing!

1. Self-knowledge benefits everyone

Okay, I’m just going to say it, I heart the Enneagram. Before all you haters stop reading, don’t worry. I’m not going to geek-out during this post. I have way too much to say for a single blog post anyways. BUT – it’s true. The Enneagram has proved to be an incredibly helpful tool in my marriage this year. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ennegram, I’d first like to know if you’ve been living under a rock. Secondly, I’m just kidding. But really, it’s all the rage in the circles that I live in and follow right now and I am here. for. it. In short, the Enneagram is a personality typing system that helps you gain a better understanding of how you see the world. Without getting into too much detail, the Enneagram is different from other personality type indicators because it is based on motive, not behavior. For instance, when Riley and I decide where to eat for dinner, we could both pick Chic-fil-A, but could come to that decision by way of entirely different motives. That’s what makes us different and that’s what makes marriage hard sometimes. With a tool like the Enneagram, I have been able to grow in my own self-knowledge. This probably benefits Riley even more than it benefits me. To be honest, it definitely does. Because I am more self-aware of my tendency to be unreasonably stubborn, I think twice before I throw a fit when Riley asks me to take a check (that’s made out to me) to the bank, just because I don’t like being told what to do. I still might not actually do it, but at least I don’t throw a fit. Progress.

Just in case you are reading this and you are also super into the Enneagram, HMU. I clearly love talking about it.

2. Car buying is a team sport

Recently, I was driving from Manhattan to Lawrence on  I-70 when my worst nightmare became reality. My precious Toyota Camry left me stranded just outside of Topeka in 90+ degree heat. All things considered, it could have been A LOT worse. I was quickly greeted by a kind state trooper who called a tow truck for me and I was rescued by my grandpa and on of my best friends shortly after my breakdown. However, there was no saving my car. It was time for a new one. I lost my car on I-70 on Saturday afternoon, and because I have literally no chill, we were westbound on I-70 on Monday afternoon to go look at a car that I had found online. I had scoured the reviews. I had taken to Facebook to ask for recommendations. I had read the articles about cloth vs. leather interior. I had done the research. I needed a new car and I had my sights set on a 2016 Nissan Rouge. While I was researching cars, Riley was researching car negotiation strategies. Classic. On our way to the dealership, Riley coached me, “Okay. Don’t act too excited about this car. We don’t want them to think we aren’t willing to walk away.” Let’s be real. I wanted this car. I would not have been happy if we had to drive all the way back home to Manhattan without it. But, I listened to my coach and I acted very uninterested in the car. Melissa, our sales representative, was very confused. I was scared to say one good thing about the car for fear of looking weak. I’m literally chuckling to myself thinking about that experience. How awkward. Needless to say, with my research and Riley’s negotiating, we got a good deal and came home with the car. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to do that again for many, many years.

3. Transition is hard every time

In our short four years of marriage, Riley and I have moved from Manhattan, to Kansas City, back to Manhattan again. While I usually welcome change and get excited about the possibilities that come with it, I have to admit, it’s hard. Life is full of seasons and many times when you look over an extended period of time, you can see a sort of cycle that life tends to follow. For me, I feel like I’m back at the same stage in life nearly two years ago when we were finally finding our footing in Kansas City. Transition is tough and no matter how many times we go through it, it doesn’t seem to be getting easier. There is a certain kind of mourning that has to happen during a season of transition. Finding community, settling in, creating routine – it all takes so much more time than you expect it to. The good news is that we’re currently living in a house that has a fenced backyard. I will never go back to apartment living with dogs. Seriously, it’s been a game changer.

4. You can ebb and I will flow

For as long as I can remember I’ve fought a feeling of discontentment. When I was in elementary school I couldn’t wait for middle school so that I could have a locker, play volleyball, and change classrooms. When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait for the freedom that college would bring. When I was college, I couldn’t wait to get married, graduate, and get a puppy. I think this feeling of wanting what’s next is a pretty human desire. Patience has never been my strongest virtue. However, I’m finding a really beautiful space in marriage these days where I can just settle. We’re four years in at this point and while that’s still pretty fresh in the grand scheme of things, it feels comfortable. Sure, maybe comfortable in some negative ways, but also comfortable in some really great ways. Riley and I were so young when we got married. I’m honestly shocked we didn’t have people trying to convince us to wait a few more years. I’m not much older than I was then, but I’m old enough to know that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. In the same breathe, I am so grateful that we did. Our marriage is a testament to God’s goodness and grace. Because of our choice to get married so young, we are getting the opportunity to grow up together. There have been seasons when I have struggled and seasons when Riley has. We’re in this thing for the long haul, and that means that in some stretches Riley will lead, and in some stretches I will lead. This a partnership. I have a dear friend that shared the song Grow As We Go by Ben Platt with me. In this song, Ben talks about the beauty of growing through life with someone. I dare you to listen to it without crying. He paints a beautiful picture of doing the hard work of choosing to stay through highs and lows. I don’t really even mean choosing to physically stay. I mean to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stay when things get tough. There are seasons of leading and seasons of following; seasons when I need the encouragement and seasons when I become the one who encourages.

“When you’re high, I’ll take the low

You can ebb and I will flow”

I really feel like we found our stride in year four. We faced challenges, decisions, and a lot of change. Looking back, I see growth and it makes it all worth it. It was a good year. Year five, we’re ready for you!


In case you’re looking for a rabbit trail, here are all my previous marriage posts:

4 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

4 Things I’ve Learned in my Second Year of Marriage

4 things I’ve Learned in my Third Year of Marriage





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