This post is written by Matthew. You can read Olivia’s post from last year, “The Gift of Marriage | Year One” by clicking here.
Google is a very handy tool.
Having instant access to any and all sorts of information simultaneously makes you smarter and dumber. Doing a google search of “the second year of marriage” is like navigating a minefield: You may make it out alive but the experience changes you. It’s all so negative. It basically boils down to “if you can make it past the second year together in-tact, then you’re good to go.” As if the other possible 50-60 years together are inconsequential.
If the first year of marriage is the honeymoon, then the second year of marriage is the daily struggle – or so they say. I admit, it’s daunting at times. The warm, fuzzy feelings for each other are still strong, but now there are things like finances, keeping the house clean, and working late hours with limited leisure that can wear on any couple. You start to come off that first-year-high and settle in for the long haul. Daily routine and habit are not bad, per se, but they’re often the enemy of spontaneity and creativity. And yes, it’s true single people, keeping things fresh and exciting is hard but important in a marriage.
Year two of marriage is full of quotes like these:
“Why do you slurp when you eat your cereal?”
“Really? Another episode of Real Housewives?”
“Are you picking your nose?”
“Babe, do you think we can get another episode of Friends in before we fall asleep?”
Basically, it’s a mix of the banal with the annoying.
And yes, arguments do become more frequent. The “exciting” and “new” feeling of marriage wears off. You find yourself actually having to put forth effort to keep the relationship strong. Then you get nervous because you’ve heard all your life that “if it’s the right person, it shouldn’t feel like you have to work for it.” I think Olivia and I are starting to realize that love is just a piece of the marriage puzzle. Other important pieces are friendship, trust, communication, honesty, and playfulness. Make no mistake about it, though. God is pulling my wife and I closer together just as he is pulling us closer to Himself.
God created marriage as a way to reflect his Gospel, His love for His bride – the church. In biblical marriage, the spouses are equal but different, and find joy in serving one another. This reflects the triumvirate God: Father, Son & Holy Spirit – separate but equal parts of God, loving and serving one another. The husband sacrifices himself for his wife, and the wife submits to her husband. I remember washing each other’s feet during our wedding ceremony and the impact that still has on me. It reminds me of God’s true intention for us.
What God has shown me in our second year of marriage is perfectly summarized in Ecclesiastes 4:9:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
You know the part I mentioned above, about sacrificing and submitting? Yeah, I suck at that a lot. Olivia will admit she does, too. I am constantly failing, but she is there to pick me back up. Y’all, I can be stubborn. Let me tell you something about Liv. She is getting really good at knowing when to scold me and when to be patient with me. Men, if you’re like me, you have tunnel-vision with life sometimes. I think men tend to be task-oriented and can get sucked into accomplishing things, without stopping to appreciate, cultivate and nourish what they have.
The beauty of having a wife that loves the Lord with all her heart, mind and soul means she has your best interests in mind because she wants you maturing in Christ alongside her. In fact, she wants you leading her to Christ daily. If I’m painfully honest, I fail at this the most. I rarely lead devotion with her, and we don’t pray together as much as we should. Men, how often do we just pray for our wives when we talk to Jesus? How often do we ask God to keep her safe, to pray for her witness, to pray for her relationship with Him to be strengthened? It’s not nearly enough in my household. What’s great, though, is she loves me the same. She knows all this about me, knows that I struggle in leading her and still loves me the same. A great wife forgives and believes in equal measure.
I am made better daily because my wife exhibits Proverbs 3:3-4 in her life.
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
Year two of marriage has taught me that love alone won’t make a marriage last. However, it’s also reminded me that love is the reason for everything. God created Adam and Eve out of love. Jesus went to the cross because of love. Paul writes in the New Testament that he can have all the greatest attributes one can have, but if he doesn’t have love it’s all crap (literally).
To quote the great theologian, Huey Lewis, in “The Power of Love”:
“Don’t need money, don’t take fame / Don’t need no credit card to ride this train / It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes / But it might just save your life”
To my best friend, my bride, and the person I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with:
Our second year married is even better than the first. It’s so easy to be with you, even when it’s hard. Yes, it requires effort and yes, we struggle together. But you will forever be the person that I admire, the person that reminds me to care and sacrifice my time for others like you do. You are a mother for the way you care for and love children. You are a caregiver for putting down everything at the drop of a pin to be there for someone when they desperately need it.
You are the person that weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice, the person that acts goofy to cheer me up. Most importantly, you are an example to me and those closest to you because you lead a life that points to Jesus.
Here’s to two years together (and hopefully at least two more *wink face*).
Happy Anniversary, darling. I love you.