Earlier this month, my husband and I celebrated our third anniversary. Every year on November 2nd, we take time to reflect on how far we've come since the previous year and discuss our dreams, desires, and goals for the next year. During these reflections we are able to notice more clearly how much we've grown in our relationship, what we've accomplished, the hardships we overcame, and our many blessings.
Marriage itself has been a huge blessing to us. It has enriched our relationship, given us focus and direction in our personal and professional endeavors, helped us to fight for (and discover) our beliefs, and has provided ample opportunities for forgiveness and love.
We are thankful for the gift of marriage for these reasons too—
Growth as spouses
Through the rituals of daily life and through hardships, we are able to mature and bond. Communication is an essential aspect to growth. While it is sometimes difficult, we know it's necessary to share our feelings in certain situations. The simple act of acknowledging how we feel helps us learn about ourselves and why we say or do certain things. This opens the door to positive change. It's also a way to share parts of ourselves no one else knows.
Focus on being selfless
In addition to one another, the focus in our marriage is also on God. Whatever your vision of God might be, for us, relying on God throughout our marriage has made us less selfish and forces us to ask for help and guidance while also leaning on each other in times of difficulty. Allowing God to be a part of our lives, to enter into it, to know that through each other God touches us—this is what our faith has taught us about life.
Outward sign of our love
Marriage has given us the wonderful opportunity to be co-creators and produce children. Parenthood has been one of the great fruits of our marriage. Our love for each other as individuals has bloomed into a whole new love as we witness each other in our roles as mother and father. This overflow of love has trickled down to our daughter and it is the best example of how marriage has helped us to mature and extend our love outward.
Perhaps more importantly are the ways in which we show our thankfulness—
So much of our marriage is pure gift. And so we often start our prayers with “thank you, God." It reminds us that there is something―someone, we believe―guiding us more than we realize. We cannot be good spouses if we do not ask for guidance and strength to love well. Our marriage cannot thrive if we do not seek help during times of difficulty. While we might not have a “perfect prayer life," we have seen time and again that prayer works within our lives. We create a deeper relationship between ourselves and with God when we put prayer into practice. We show our daughter the importance of this relationship when we invite her to pray with us at mealtimes, bedtime, or at church.
Asking my husband to pray for me or for a certain intention makes me feel vulnerable. At the same time, that vulnerability allows for honesty, connection, and intimacy between us. Being vulnerable is something that I will always struggle with, but my husband has always made me feel safe and secure so I don't have to be afraid to express myself openly. I have done the same for him, and in doing so, we are able to work through our trials and tribulations together.
Lending a helping and supportive hand
Perhaps the most obvious way we express thankfulness in our marriage is through lending a helping and supportive hand. Simple gestures can put us in a place of immense gratitude. These include offering to do dishes or change the baby's diaper, small love notes, giving unexpected gifts at unexpected times, saying 'thanks for being you,' or supporting a job change or new creative endeavor.
Being married to my best friend is truly an honor. I am so lucky to be able to face the joys and obstacles of life with someone I love so much. I am confident that if we continue to pray, talk openly with one another, forgive quickly and love hard, that our marriage will continue to get better and better. Happy Anniversary to my love ?