There is a saying about how time flies when you are having fun. Time has flown by and I am truly enjoying my married life. Tomorrow marks 6 months since Jeremy and I said “I do” and started this amazing life journey called marriage. It has been 180 days (tomorrow) of learning, laughing, crying, talking, louder talking, working stuff through and most importantly, creating life long memories.
Marriage is NOT like dating or courting. It doesn’t give you even a tiny glimps of what is to come. Don’t get me wrong, if done right, dating/courting can be of great benefit. Dating masks a lot and doesn’t prepare you for the 24/7 lifestyle. And by ‘dating’ I’m not taking about this ‘trying the shoe on to see if it fits’ culture young people are in to. I’m talking about preparing for marriage and committing to one person. Marriage is good. It requires selflessness and time. If the effort is put in, I have found it to be so energizing. Whenever we lose sight of ‘us’ and we neglect to nurture ourselves and our relationship, that’s when it becomes draining. Marriage is a magnifying glass. It shows you just where you are and who you are as a person. Marriage showcases your strengths and exposes your weaknesses. In 6 months I have learnt that it is my choice, which of the two I will let shine through.
Jeremy is such a gentleman. He still opens the door of the car for me and brings me flowers and chocolates. He has set a high standard for himself😁. Over the past 6 months I have grown to love him more than I could ever imagine. I didn’t think it possible to love him more but I do. I have come to respect him even more as a man, a leader, and my husband. He shelters and protects me – even though he knows I can hold my own. I love being independent, but I love knowing I am safe and that I don’t have to always have it together. I have even said, “My husband doesn’t think I should do that,” when I need to get out of something😜. His leadership and love are my safe place. Jeremy has so much patience…and I recognize that living with me isn’t easy all the time. He has given me the space to find myself in this new place in my life. He takes the time to listen. He takes the time to understand, and even when he doesn’t – he is a wise man and is pretty convincing in saying he does. He takes the time to talk and engage with me. He takes the time to work through things with me, he has never left me to struggle through situations alone. He takes the time to love me in every way, even if it means letting me beat him at ten pin bowling. He holds my hand and walks with me into everything that is new. He speaks vision into my heart and inspires me to go after my dreams especially when I think time for them has passed. He cheers me on with encouragement and celebrates all our moments. He speaks words of peace into my life when I feel like the waves of change are overwhelming. He holds me when I’m afraid and tears are rolling down my cheeks and when all is sunshine and roses, too. He prays and leads by example spiritually. He holds me accountable in areas. He allows himself to be vulnerable and transparent with me, sharing his feelings, thoughts and dreams with me. And he gets lots of brownie points for telling me I’m right😝.
So where are his negatives, you may ask? Well, if there is one thing I have learnt in 6 months, it is not to lose focus of the 90% positive over the 10% negative. Yes, there are things that Jeremy does or says that irritate me, but he never does it out of the intention to hurt me. We talk. A lot. And often. So if we are unhappy, hurt or irritated by something, instead of blasting each other with all snappy comments and frustration, we let each other know (as calmly as is possible) that we need to work something out. More often than not, we have found that the act wasn’t intentional and the person truly didn’t know that what they did or said had caused much hurt or frustration. Now we don’t get it right every time to remain in the place called calm, cool and collected. We have disagreed and raised voices (we really try not to). We don’t let each other bring up past mistakes when we are upset and even in that moment, we still speak respectfully, there is no name calling or abusive/vulgar language used. We have taken a couple of hours to cool off. We have sat silently in the same room and car. But we have worked it out. It isn’t always easy, but forgiving and letting an issue go (not bringing it up continuously) is important to a healthy relationship. We are learning how to deal with confrontation as we both deal with it so differently.
- Jeremy and I have been on 2 road trips. The first took what felt like forever to get to where we were going. We travelled through to Ladysmith (my hometown) to pick up all my things. We slept in the car on the way there and he drove the whole way (awesome man – not that he would have let me drive anyway). The second trip, we went with our good friends, Justin and Melissa, to Cape Town. We walked (a lot), shopped and ate lots of really yummy food.
- Jeremy and I got into this routine when we lived in Summerstrand of going to the Boardwalk on our date night. We would have supper and then go play at the game arcade. This is where we both discovered my competitive side. We played on these machines where you catch things with the claw. Needless to say it became quite fun and a tad expensive. We now have 23 teddy bears!
- Every week we make time to date each other. That means we go out for coffee, lunch or supper. It can mean ten pin or card/board games and simple supper. It also means doing something the other person enjoys. It’s a no interruptions zone. So except for a selfie or two, cellphones are put down. We spend time talking and connecting with each other. We have often had the best conversations and laughs during these moments. We also found that we could share heart to heart things. And because there was no pressure, we often dealt with things that would have otherwise been quite tense to talk about. Side note here: Dates do not have to be expensive Jeremy and I will sometimes just take a walk or play a card game. We have even spent hours laughing over silly YouTube videos. It’s just about spending some uninterrupted time together. We also respect each other’s need for alone time. It’s about balance.
- Being there for each other in moments. Why is this a special memory? Well, when you have been in a long distance relationship, being there in person for someone can prove very challenging. So it has been so special to be there and be able to support, care for and enjoy the moments. I stayed up one night because he wasn’t well. And I loved it! I was able to hug him after a rough day at work. I watched him (with tears in my eyes) as he prayed over his dad and released a blessing over his life. I love watching his eyes light up as he tells a story that made his day.
- Not calling each other or texting to say something. I love being able to walk into his office or our house and know I can see and speak to him face to face. I know it irritates him, but I often stare at him in amazement because for over 6 year so, I only had photos to look at. Sometimes I just stare…which I know can be creepy, but I love just looking at him. He is MINE…all mine!
- This is the most special moment for us up to this point in our marriage – WE OWN A HOUSE!!! It is a miracle and such a testimony of God’s goodness in our lives. I will blog about all the details in a separate blog soon. We feel so grown up now that we have a house. We love the space and the fact that we will make it our home. It was so awesome to pick up the keys and put our stuff inside.
6 LESSONS LEARNED IN 6 MONTHS
- WE ARE DIFFERENT! Yes I put that in all caps for a reason. Jeremy and I agree on so much yet we are poles apart in other areas. We are two people from different backgrounds, different families, different cultures and have we have different communication styles and ways of dealing with issues. It takes time and lots of grace is needed as we both learn about each other and ourselves. Marriage is a life long adjustment and learning process.
- COMMUNICATION – As much as communication is about talking, it is about listening and taking time to ask questions so that understanding can be gained. It is so easy to hear but not actually listen and pay attention. It is about respecting that the person I am married to communicates differently to me. There is no need for me to always have a comeback or the last word. Sometimes I just need to be there and be quiet. I am definitely working on verbalizing exactly what I need to in a way that my husband understands. I struggle to express how I feel in a timely manner. I seem to leave it until I am like a Coke bottle that has been shaken and is about to fizz and spray all over the place. I’m a work in progress. And Jeremy can’t read my mind…so it’s important that I speak. It is totally unfair on him if I am upset about something he has no idea about that is going on in my heart and mind. As I have said earlier, it is important to make the time to talk, to be real and to listen.
- WE GIVE LOVE AND RECEIVE LOVE DIFFERENTLY – This is so real and true. There is no perfect formula to get this right. Speaking about your needs, wants, likes and dislikes about your love language is important. We also are learning to appreciate the way in which we each show love to each other. It might be different to how we are used to. It is important to appreciate the efforts made and be patient as we each learn how to show love in the way in which our spouse needs us to show it. A great book to read is The Five Love Languages.
- IT’S OKAY TO ENJOY ‘ME-TIME’ – Yes, we are married. We are one. But we are also two individuals that make up this team. Marriage isn’t about smothering each other. Jeremy and I love to do many things together. But we also recognize how important it is to let each other enjoy ‘ME-TIME’. Looking after myself is important in order for me to be an effective team player. I have no problem with my hubby going out with the guys just like he doesn’t mind me going out for coffee and blogging. We do massages together and we also enjoy time outs apart. We communicate our plans and needs because we don’t cut each out of our decisions, but we have learned the healthy respect of a person needing some alone time to enjoy an activity or be out with the guys (Jeremy) and the girls (Taryn). And this does not mean Jeremy goes out with other lady friends and I go out with other guy friends. Being friends with people of the opposite sex and being alone with them is a no-go! We spend time TOGETHER with friends never alone with the opposite sex.
- REMEMBER TO DATE – Now that we are married, we don’t want to forget to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. So many things happen in the day to day routine that it is easy to get busy and lose focus of enjoying life. We prioritize time to date and Jeremy is great at finding new things for us to do and experience together. Enjoy the moments. Don’t always rush through the day and it’s okay to take a weekend off to enjoy the company of the person you’re married to. Jeremy always sees the humorous side of things – so he is great at finding things for us to laugh at.
- BE OPEN AND HONEST. Jeremy and I don’t have secret lives! I can pick up his phone and he can pick up mine at any point and go through it (not that we snoop in each other’s stuff). We don’t hide things. We speak openly about finances, family, friends work and ministry. Jeremy protects me from things that I do not need to know about in the business and ministry. But other than that we live lives which are open books. We also have given each other the right to ask about anything. We have worked hard at being open and building a relationship in which we trust each other.
Truth be told marriage is amazing. It does take time and effort but the rewards are worth it. In 6 months so much good has happened and it is exciting to see what else is going to happen on this exciting journey. There were days where I sobbed while I was single because my decision not to be a ‘try on the shoes to see if it fits’ type of dating girl meant I was lonely. People criticized me, ridiculed me and said I was not living life. But God honored my commitment to living right and serving Him like I did. So to all those people out there who said I was wasting my time with my decision – all I can say is…I’m married and loving it!! It was worth the wait!