7 Years | Real Wedded Bliss
July 13, 2016 , Personal
7 Years | Real Wedded Bliss
Andrew and I celebrated seven years of marriage last month. This has been something I have wanted to blog about since then but I really wanted to think on the words to share. I also knew we had our session coming up with Seth and Beth and knew it would all go well together. It is amazing how things fall together because honestly I just now feel like my heart has the words to share. Anniversaries are an accomplishment right? They are exciting and truthfully they are under celebrated in our society. One of my favorite traditions at a wedding is the anniversary dance. Every time the last couple is dancing on that dance floor and they announced that they have been married 50+ years I get so choked up. I get choked up because I know how hard they have worked. I know just because they are standing there after 50 years of marriage doesn’t mean they have had a perfect marriage. I cry because I know they understood and got the art of letting go in areas and still chose each other. It is an amazing thing to see a couple stand their trials and still choose each other every day.
Andrew and I have not had a “picture” perfect marriage. That pun was not intended. Sometimes it can be so hard with our business because we need professional photos and things can look so happy but that is not how we always feel. We have always strived to be as transparent as we can on our blog, website, and social media. We never want to give a false reality that life is always rainbows and butterflies or that our relationship is always like those big smiles on our cover photo. We have come a long way in seven years and boy do we have so much more to go. Marriages are full of two peoples messes and you some how try make something beautiful out of it. I used to believe lies that we weren’t meant to be together because we would struggle in so many areas. I thought it was a cruel joke that somehow my sensitive areas he some how magically hit and vice-versa. It felt like we were born to offend each other. Neither of us would try we just rubbed each other wrong by being who we were. I used to think how could we really be “meant to be” when we literally can not understand anything we say to each other?
It wasn’t until the last year or so that God started challenging my heart and reminding me of this ONE scripture during one of our biggest challenges in our marriage.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Could it be maybe that God didn’t mess up? That He actually put us together because we are the ones who sharpen each other the most? Is it possible that maybe my husband isn’t trying to hurt me or I am not trying to hurt him but that God is trying to show us where we need to grow? I think so often in marriage when things get tough and that sand paper starts rubbing up and down we think “our marriage is no good, this stinks, I am out!” The truth is though that relationships that are the most beneficial for you actually are not easy. Iron sharpening iron doesn’t necessarily sound like a ball of fun but it is exactly what we need. Our marriage has had its shares of ups and downs, trust issues, heart break, crying nights, angry nights, and even pack my bags I want to leave nights. But the sweetest moments and most rewarding moments have always directly followed those hard nights. As soon as we get over the biggest challenges we always come out on the other side a little sharper. A little more prepared for what is next. I believe this is what God was talking about with iron sharpening iron. In the heat of being sharpened it can be uncomfortable, and even scary. But what waits on the other side of all the pain is the true JOY!
Andrew and I just came through one of our hardest challenges in our time of marriage. We have for the first time in seven years realized the answer to growing a healthier and more stable marriage. Want to know what we have found to be true for us? The key to moving forward for us has been to actually NOT work on our marriage AT ALL. It has been to work on ourselves. Andrew works on Andrew and I work on myself. Over the last 5 months we have taken the time to meet with counselors, encouragers, and take time specifically for ourselves. Andrew has been a part of a mens group and I a ladies group and we have focused LESS on marriage specifically. In the process of this God has been walking us through areas of our lives we still need healing and perspective in. I have been processing things that I have stuffed down from the past and Andrew too. It is funny how many things we have come up against in our marriage that have actually been from unresolved wounds from the past before US and less actually about US. All of a sudden it seems like we are no longer talking through walls and trying so hard to understand each other. I view that unresolved pain and confusion from the past as a really dirty window. It was like we were trying to see each other but because we had all this dirt we hadn’t worked through we just simply couldn’t see clearly. I feel like day by day we wipe a little more dirt away and we start to see each others hearts more and more.
This anniversary session was HUGE for us. For the first time in our marriage I feel like we have found this place of understanding each other, of knowing each others weaknesses more and still choosing each other passionately. We knew we wanted to capture this season of our marriage because though we have come through a recent challenging time, we also know that God has done a work in our hearts and marriage and we want to see that fresh result after that iron sharpened iron. We want to give God the glory that we are standing through the tests of fire and coming out on the other side and still choosing each other. This may not be our 50 year anniversary or that anniversary dance at our granddaughters wedding but it gives me that same feeling. That choked up feeling I was talking about. That despite all of our trials we can still laugh with each other and choose our marriage. We know it is worth fighting for and we want to be that couple one day on the dance floor.
We reached out to Seth and he had the idea of shooting at Mansfield Reformatory Prison and he didn’t think we would go for it AT all. When he said it I instantly thought of our marriage and how something so dark can actually be used for light. I thought of the mess our hearts tend to get in and the challenges we each face. We are a mess inside but together we get to make something beautiful and bring light into our broken areas. I knew the prison was the place for our session. It was symbolic in this season of our marriage. God has went to deep levels to show us how just because it is messy doesn’t mean it is not HIS or that is not beautiful. Isn’t that amazing? There is something so freeing in knowing that our mess, our sin, our stories.. They actually can become light and used for something beautiful. That is exactly what Seth did with the prison. He took us into a messy, dark place and showed us just how beautiful it can really be.
I asked Andrew some questions about marriage and wanted to share those with you!
What is one thing that surprised you the most about marriage?
That it takes a lot of communication and patience to understand each other fully and that you have to constantly work towards the goal of growing together.
What is one area you have focused on to be a better husband?
Realizing that I can’t fix things that go wrong or things you struggle with but letting go of that control. I can’t always fix things by myself and have to do things with you, together.
What is something you would tell others to do practically to help grow their marriage?
Find ways to show you care about the other person. Be intentional to show them love by how they receive it best. Quality time, physical touch, gift giving, etc.
Here are some questions answered by me:
What is one thing you would tell a new wife?
Let your husband mess up, and learn. The hardest lesson for me in the beginning of marriage was learning that even though I could maybe do something better didn’t mean I should necassarily do it. It is important to let your husband take the lead and even mess up sometimes. The act of letting go and submitting takes your marriage so far. Most times I stepped in when I should have submitted actually got us further back. There is a fine line, make sure you still speak up and have a voice, and confidence but at the same time don’t step on things that should be your husbands.
What is a practical way to grow your marriage?
Knowing Andrews love languages has made that easier but outside of affirming him and buying him gifts I have found sometimes confronting him about areas I have been passive about does the most growth. We often think of date nights and more of rainbow and butterflies type stuff to grow your marriage. Sometimes I feel like we are closest and growing the most after bearing our hearts and pains with each other and working through them. I have learned not to push down feelings as long and to try and work through them so that we can get to the other side of it and actually grow past it.
Andrew and I have read a few marriage books and tend to stick to them in our marriage. Our marriage counseling has always stuck in our head and the many nights we met with our pastors our first 2 years of marriage. Outside of reading and using the resources we share here we deeply encourage you to not do your marriage alone. Find another married couple to confide in and to talk to when things get tough! We highly encourage a counselor or third party person that has a neutral perspective. You do not have to do marriage alone and I actually think it is near impossible. Andrew and I stand today because of those who have fought for our marriage with us.
Here is a list of some of our FAVORITE marriage resources:
We pray that by sharing our story and hearts that we have encouraged others along the way! We would love to hear your marriage stories so please comment and share!
Sharing, serving, and celebrating,
Andrew + Chrissy