Reblog: Millennial & Married: What I’ve Learned Six Months In

My church began a new Bible study today and it is called Married People Connect. As I’m sure you can guess, this study is for married couples and involves small table groups of varying aged couples to offer insight, advice, and encouragement for strong and happy marriages. G and I were both excited for this new step in our marriage and look forward to growing together with fellow members of our congregation.

This new study also brings e-Zines to our emails full of inspirational blog posts, vlogs, and date-night ideas. The most recent e-Zine included the following article written by Forrest Fyre, and I thought it was not only well-written but also on-point for my own marriage. As a millennial, marriage has a different look than it has for any other generation, but it also brings the same difficulties that all marriages face. I loved the honesty this author portrays over his young marriage, and couldn’t have said the words better myself. Enjoy!

In the summer of 2017, I made one of my boldest decisions yet. I committed myself in holy matrimony to the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

My heart was happier than ever before. I couldn’t have been more sure. And yet, the Millennial inside of me was wondering what on earth I was doing.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned six months into marriage as a Millennial. I think they’ll be helpful for others going into marriage as well.

1. I am a 24 year-old guy.

This is just a fact. Marriage hasn’t teleported me to a distant world where I am a wise old sage. And thank God it hasn’t! It’s been only a year since I graduated college. I have no business acting like I know everything now just because I’m married.

But I have learned so much already. I do feel myself maturing. Remembering my age has served both as a way to show myself grace and a reminder of my need to keep learning.

2. Getting married early is not normal for Millennials

It’s been fascinating to look at what other people my age are doing and feel how “against-the-grain” being married has been as a millennial. However, I’d say that I fit the Millennial stereotype pretty closely.

I work at a tech start-up in Boulder, CO. I love traveling, music, social media, and all that other “hipster” stuff. In fact, what I find to be different about being married is not what I’m into, but that I always have my wife to do it with.

Many millennials suffer from the pressure to portray the “best” of their lives on social media. And why? For others to see. I almost feel as if there is this awful mentality that “if you don’t show yourself looking good doing it, it didn’t happen.”

Not every Millennial fits this stereotype. But being married has freed me from this pressure. Everything I do is shared with my wife. There’s no need to prove anything to anyone. If I have the memories of living large with my wife, that’s good enough for me.

3. Marriage doesn’t solve all of your problems.

Don’t look at marriage as a solution to your problems, but as an opportunity to serve and love, despite your problems. I tried my best to refrain from thinking of marriage as a solution, but I still found myself thinking of it that way.

The truth is, I don’t have less problems since being married. I just have different problems. The reality is that I am responsible for the person I bring to my marriage. I cannot expect my wife to be responsible for fixing my flaws.

If you go into marriage thinking it will solve your mistakes, habits and addictions, you are setting your spouse up to be nothing more than a tool for your own, selfish ambitions. The first step for me was to realize what my problems were, and take ownership for them.

Marriage is not the solution to these problems. But it is helpful to have a companion to help reflect what’s hard for me to see in myself and support me in growing in those challenges. It was hard at first to get used to working out my problems in the presence of my wife. But I’ve realized that it helps to have honesty and trust with her in the process.

A helpful perspective we’ve had in our marriage is this—expect the other to bring their junk to the table. Desire always for them to grow from it and be willing to serve and love them despite all of it.

4. I’m selfish in ways I never recognized.

Selfishness is almost always at the root of an argument. The hardest, but most honest question I still trying to ask myself during fights is, “how am I being selfish in this?” Why can’t being humble be as easy as being stubborn?

It’s rare that I find myself not being selfish in some way. And if I’m not, the next question is, “how can I be more patient?” Or “how can I forgive and forget better?” I never knew I was so selfish about little things like home decor, food storage and grocery shopping. Thankfully, we are always learning how to argue more efficiently and with less unnecessary low-blows.

Fun fact I’ve learned: Being the one who gets out more words in an argument doesn’t make you more right.

5. I am 100% free to be myself.

Since getting married, I still go to the skatepark. I still dream big. I still rock climb after work. I still make it to social events and enjoy late-night live concerts. Marriage hasn’t put a pressure on me to change who I naturally am.

The best part is that I have a wife that loves doing most of these things with me. The key is we were honest to each other before we got married. We fell in love with our real selves because we chose to be our real selves.

Marriage has prompted me to constantly better myself—as a husband, listener, encourager, and a provider. That’s nothing different from what I’ve already felt through dating. Neither of us expect to be married and never see any change in the other.

6. Friends are important.

When we got married, we found it was tricky balancing married life with friend time. We try to be as intentional as possible about pursuing time with our mutual friends. It comes down to being OK with not having certain evenings together.

I’ve learned to prioritize my time with my wife first. Then intentionally establish time with my friends. It’s easier to become isolated from people, so having a conversation to set expectations and boundaries around time with friends was really helpful.

7. Work as a team with your finances.

As newlyweds, my wife brought good budgeting and saving skills to the table. I brought survival tactics, which were not very helpful. We came from two very different financial lifestyles. It was rough getting our strategy figured out at first.

Thankfully, we have figured out some ways to be a team. Talking with others we trust and those with experience about handling finances has been super helpful. I recommend starting a budget first and then creating a plan to pay off any debt you may have.

8. Plan your meals.

This one should have been more obvious to me. But after both being single for the last six years, we are both painfully disappointed with how quickly food disappears.

We are still learning our way around meal planning and grocery shopping. Nailing down a meal strategy will help us have more food, consistently and at less expense.

Cook together as much as possible! It’s healthier and good for building patience with each other. Also, the outcomes are usually delicious.

9. Comparison kills.

Comparison is a thief. It robs you of joy while you waste time wishing you had something else. Marriage is a dangerous area to allow comparison.

When it comes to comparison, we’ve had to draw a line in the sand. We are just as capable of comparing ourselves to others as we have ever been. And we are aware of the danger in that.

One night, we talked through some of the areas we felt like we were struggling with comparison. We made mutual decisions on where the two of us stood. We agreed to be content and confident in our personal decisions and have felt much better ever since.

I recommend being intentional about voicing any comparisons you feel so you can battle it out and remove it together. Feeling confident about your decisions as a couple is the best. Be sure these conversations don’t get overlooked early on.

10. Save water, shower together.

Pretty simple. Shower together. It’s fun and saves water.

Written by Forrest Fyre on December 26, 2017. Find the original post here.

For all my married couples out there, what have you learned throughout your days/months/years of marriage? My readers and I would love to hear your advice as well.

With you and for you,

Giving Due Credit to Love and Present

It seems to me that people make a big deal about firsts: first kiss, first date, first love. Don’t get me wrong, a First is great, but it also generally leads to another first: heartbreak. I was relatively naive with my first love; I had no real understanding that all love stories tend to end, and many of them do not end in “death do us part.”

So my first heartbreak caught me completely off guard. I was innocent and pure and, as stated, naive so my heart was (figuratively) ripped out at the hand of someone I had genuinely trusted. Insecurities took hold of my life, but in the grand scheme of all that is good, something better came along. That is why I consider my first love simply that, my First Love, but definitely not my greatest or my last

This post is dedicated to second loves — or theoretically thirds, or fourths, or however many loves it takes to find that one true Last Love. Why should we spend so much time gushing over our first loves, and pining into our elder years at the times lost with them? Seriously! Second loves should be getting the credit on our romantic timelines! Second loves matter more than the first by a long shot, so give due credit where credit is due.

Your second love is the one who came along and picked up the pieces of your broken heart. He or she waited patiently on the sidelines as your innocent self went through the stages of loss and became wise to the perils of love. When those insecurities after your break up left you wondering if you were too imperfect and impossible to ever be whole again, your second love came and pushed those thoughts away. He or she led you to see and to believe how extremely worthy you are to be loved.

Your second love will not be the same as your first. And it’s okay. Every person you meet will have a different effect on you. The notion that we should have similar feelings of affection for every person we become romantic with is false. Romance is not a journey with a set destination and stopping points along the way.

Maybe your first love began as a friendship-turned dating, a lead up to the first kiss, the first time saying “I love you” to one another, certain big anniversary celebrations or date nights, vacations together, all accumulating to the next stage or perhaps moving in together or becoming engaged. If you believe your second love is going to follow the same exact path, you are wrong.

First off, there should be no end game. Do not fear that you are never going to experience love again so you rush through the second time. Sometimes such fears cause us to love two people the same exact way, or project our disappointments from our first love onto our second. Why do we accept that we can only give one kind of love?

Love is not a thing that can be better or worse, and this is why you should never love anyone the way you loved someone else. Love is supposed to grow over the course of a lifetime, it is supposed to breathe and change. Love will never be perfect, but this does not mean you should ever just sink to a faded photocopy of the real thing.

Think of it like this: your first love was a car. You and your ex built this car with parts from both sides, your’s and their’s. You both created something, revved it to life, and drove it for a number of miles. However, over time, a flat tire happened, the windshield cracked, and potholes in your relationship caused the alignment to get out of whack. The car broke and became too obsolete to be useful anymore.

Now you’re beginning a relationship anew. Why would you take parts from the old broken-down car to build a new one? Start fresh! Use the knowledge you gained from your first mechanical endeavor to fashion something new and strong and sturdy.

A second love gives you reason to continue to believe in love. A second love shows you that even when you had love and heartbreak that you can also love after heartbreak. How incredibly important for all those mending hearts!

As humans, we feel stronger when we know that we can weather worse. We cope with comparison. And sure, the ultimate goal of being in a relationship is to feel love and to fall in love. Love is not about winning and losing though, nor is it about being better or worse. The revelation that you fell in and out of love once and survived, and then you found the ability to fall in love again… that is what love is: an ability. And that’s a pretty powerful ability to control.

If you see something that remind you of your first love and you feel something – sadness, anger, longing – remember that you are experiencing pangs of nostalgia. Your first love was good. All of our first loves are good. Until they are not anymore — so let it stay good in the past.

Don’t let that past own you though. If you try to love your second love in the same way, your past will manage your present. Don’t let this happen; love someone in a way you never loved your ex. Your past had it’s moment, allow the present to shine now.