I am EXTREMELY excited to bring you a new post in our 10 Things I've Learned series today, because Taylor's words get right to the heart of things. Even though I didn't know her that well at school, I creep her life on social media often because she and her husband are for real adventurers!
Hey there! My name is Taylor, and I went to college with Jordan. I married my high school (and college!) sweetheart, Sam, in 2011.
After graduating and traveling for a bit, we’re now privileged to work together at a ministry called 3DM, nestled in a sweet little beach town in South Carolina. I’m delighted to share with you some of what I’ve learned since we tied the knot!
10 Things I've Learned Since I Got Married
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate some more!
Talk about everything; nothing is off limits. Sex, money, parents, your period, fears, joys, annoyances. Let your husband know if he’s hurt your feelings, or if you’re scared or angry or confused. Speak clearly and honestly. Miscommunication so often sneaks into a marriage and causes unnecessary pain and frustration. It doesn’t have to!
2. Commit to being in love.
You don’t fall into love and become forever engulfed by desire and passion; passion is fickle, and it comes and goes as it pleases. When you feel bored, when excitement dies down, when you don’t feel like having sex or even cuddling, commit to finding ways to reconnect. Choose to stay in love, even if you’re not feeling it at the moment.
3. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison latches onto most women, and it’s hard to ignore. The truth is, there have been times where I actually believed I was less of a wife because I’m not the best cook, my house is rarely completely clean, and I basically always forget to do the laundry until I’m frantically searching the house for clean underwear. Lies like this creep in and steal your joy when you compare yourself to other women. There is always room for improvement (a friend of mine patiently gives me cooking pointers, and I’m starting off slowly as my husband’s sous-chef), but never feel the need to be someone you’re not.
4. Remind each other of God’s goodness.
After Sam and I graduated from college, we took a little adventure to Europe for five months. We served in local ministries in exchange for food and accommodation, but by the end of the trip we were running out of money. All along the way, we had generously been given unexpected provision, but I still felt anxiety wash over me when I would see the numbers decreasing rapidly on our bank statements. Every time I would start to panic, Sam would remind me of God’s goodness during our whole trip. Sometimes you (or he) will need a little encouragement and reminding of God’s love and faithfulness.
5. Spend money.
Spending money on gifts for your spouse and yourself is important. Now, this is dangerous territory, so I want to make myself extremely clear: spend money on things you can afford. Saving is crucial. Budgeting is a necessary and smart thing to do (you’re an adult, for goodness sake). As you save and budget, don’t deprive yourself of exciting adventures, a sweet date night, or surprising him with tickets to see his favorite basketball team (Thunder Up!). Enjoy your life and have fun!
8. Respect how your spouse rests.
Sam can be at a large dinner party and talk to dozens of people into the night, and he’ll feel refreshed and energized at the end! He likes to go outside and run, play sports, and build things. I, on the other hand, love to spend a whole day writing music, doing my nails, reading books, and watching TV (Sam likes to call some of this “unproductive.” ;) But he loves me for it!). Sometimes we rest with other friends or on our own, and that’s OK. Resting is vital to your spiritual, physical, and mental health, but it will not necessarily look the same for both of you. Learn and respect how each other rests.
7. Be a family on mission together.
I can’t take the credit for this one - the people I work with and do life with at 3DM are the ones who taught me this life lesson: be a family on mission. Together. Pray about ways you and your spouse (and your children, if you have them) can bless the people you’re in contact with every day. Offer to host a movie night for the kids in your neighborhood. If you live near a college, invite some students over to do laundry at your home. Get to know the elderly woman down the street, and ask her to come with you and your husband when you go to the grocery store. As a family, get to know those around you. Invite them into your family, and share Jesus’ love as you do.
[If you’re interested, there’s a book coming out soon all about being a Family on Mission! I love it!]
8. Be in community.
Yes, there are some things that you should keep private. Some things need to be special, just for you and your spouse. But it’s still important to invite your community into your marriage and surround yourself with other people who love you and want what Jesus wants for your life. You’ll learn from them and they’ll learn from you, and when things get tough you’ll need people who are willing to honestly speak words of wisdom into your marriage. And when times are great, they’ll celebrate with you!
9. Marriage takes sacrifice.
Sometimes we gladly sacrifice, but honestly, sometimes sacrifice hurts. Pray for God to give you a word to stand on, a word you can cling to in trying times. He is faithful.
10. Cheesiness is happiness.
Sometimes you’ll be halfway to your destination and realize you’re wearing the same outfit. Embrace it! Turn off Netflix and dance around your living room, tell corny jokes, make up rap songs together. Be silly! Just have fun and let the inside jokes and memories be created. :)
Thank you SO much, Taylor, for being so transparent and letting us get to know you and your man! Your insight left me feeling both convicted and excited to be a better wife. You're the sweetest!