“The first year is always the hardest…”
“Just you wait until…”
Rumors that caught my attention before my husband and I were married in 2020 were that the joys of marriage don’t last too long after “I do”. I wondered if by the time we cut our anniversary cake our honeymoon phase would be long gone, or if I’d still feel the same way I did on our cold, rainy, October wedding day.
When our anniversary came just a few weeks ago, I’m happy to report that the only thing that was stale was the anniversary cake (just one bite was enough for me!). While I don’t know much about marriage after only a year and we have had some tough moments, I do know that overall this first year is one I’ll look back on joyfully.
Here are three things my husband and I did together that I think made it memorable for us. Whether you’ve been married for a week or 50 years, I hope these can be tools for you to consider for your marriage. If you’re not in a season of marriage, I hope these ideas are ones you can pass along to others who are, and this list inspires you to pray for and support the married couples in your life.
The Marriage Journal and Creative Love by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff
My husband’s Best Man bought us a copy of The Marriage Journal for our wedding and it’s been a great tool for us to connect and communicate! Every week, we sit down to fill it out together. There’s a devotional, a place for us to map out our week to avoid confusion in our plans, and six weekly check-in questions like, “What brought you joy this week?” and “How can I pray for you?”
This couple has another book called Creative Love that shares practical ways to love your spouse well. This has led to me leaving notes in dry erase marker on the mirror for my husband, planning a trip to Door County, and being much more intentional about our time together.
Walks/ Connection Time
I love taking walks with my husband, so much so that my vows centered around these walks. I appreciate having a time of connection (most days) with him where we both feel listened to and listen. Our walks have been crucial to me learning more about my husband and feeling understood in return. At the end of our long days, it also gets us up and reminds us that we only need to watch one episode of Survivor rather than flying through the whole series in a sitting.
Looking for a place to explore? I love taking walks in our neighborhood, but I also enjoy Buboltz Nature Preserve, High Cliff, Plamann Park, and the Fox Trot Trail.
This year, my husband and I started serving together at Alliance as coffee greeters on Sunday morning. We get to serve coffee (I feel like I found my true service calling!) once a month and make people feel welcome at church. It’s an easy way to serve, and I love getting to be on a team with him. Serving together has also reminded me of our wedding verses that we wanted to keep at the core of our marriage:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” - Philippians 2:3-4
I hope that something on this list struck a chord or inspired some creative idea for either your marriage or for a couple you support! Like I said, I’m by no means an expert on marriage, but I have found these three tools to have made a huge difference this first year.