First Year Failures
Not many people would celebrate their first year of marriage by writing a blog post about all the things they did failed at during that first year. But I am. Most people also wouldn’t write an entire book filled with embarrassing stories they’ve told basically no one that happened during their hidden struggle with alcohol, anxiety, and self hate. But I did. In fact, it’s called “Birth of a Christian Alcoholic,” and you can buy it here. And yes it’s true. Today is the one year anniversary of when I married my wife. And today is also the day I’m going to be honest not about my successes during our first year of marriage but about my failures. While it is true I could offer marriage advice by sharing everything I did right I believe by sharing everything I did wrong the advice I will offer will not only have more meaning but be more relatable to those who read it. So let’s look at my failures shall we?!
The F Word
I started my marriage by immediately ruining our finances. I remember coming home from shopping for stuff for our apartment with some of the gift cards and cash we received from the wedding and working on a budget. After crunching all the numbers I came to the horrifying realization that our monthly cost of living was more than our monthly income. Instead of responsibly taking a hard look at our finances and looking to cut certain unnecessary costs, such as cable, I irresponsibly threw out the budget and completely ignored our finances. For months I didn’t execute any type of budget or put any money in savings and when bills showed up I would just hope we had enough money to pay them and if not I just ignored them until we did. Because I wasn’t brave enough to face and deal with our finances I put my family in a bad place financially that we are still making our way out of. No matter how little or how much you make without a budget and savings you will ultimately find yourself in a financial crisis.
The OTHER F Word
There’s one F word I’ve used more during my first year of marriage than I have in my 26 years of life. And no this F word was not “fabulous.” I used this word morning, noon, and night. Seven days a week an even on holidays. I used this word as a noun, adjective, and adverb. No matter what your stance on swearing is (I personally don’t have an issue with it) there is no defending the amount of times I used the word. It’s inexcusable how much I spoke and relied on this word to talk to and express myself to my wife. The word itself isn’t so bad as my intention behind it. I used to word to be dismissive to provoke and to show anger. Speaking of anger….
Reacting in Anger
Anger unfortunately was a major theme during our first year of marriage. I don’t mean that I spent the majority of this year angry with my wife or she at me. What I mean is that the tone of my speech and the way I would react was mostly in anger. I struggled with reacting angrily to both the biggest and the smallest of issues. Any unexpected thing or miscommunication I reacted as if I was completely furious with my wife or at the situation when most of the time I really wasn’t that bothered or upset. I wish I could tell you that I’ve made major improvements with this but the truth is that although I have made some improvement it’s not much. I am continuing to work on reacting with grace and love instead of anger.
As a husband in a Christian marriage you are 100% responsible for the spiritual direction of not just your own life but your wife’s as well as your entire household. You are responsible for the spiritual tone in your house and you are responsible for bringing your wife and family closer to God rather than away from Him. I rarely led my wife or our daughters in prayer. I rarely discussed God and things of God with my wife. Only when things were at their absolutely worst would I suggest prayer. Prayer during this first year was a rarity rather than a regularity. Recently, Bri and I purchased a devotional and before you roll your eyes I’m telling you it really has improved our marriage. Not because it contains magic words but because it helped us to spend time with God as a couple. Yes it’s true that for a Christian marriage to succeed a husband and wife need to spend time with God individually but it is vital that they also need to spend time with God as a couple. Because if God isn’t the focal point of your marriage, an institution He created by the way, your marriage is going nowhere fast.
I hope my first year failure served as some helpful advice to you. But if they didn’t here is one of the greatest pieces of advice anyone can ever give you on marriage. You ready? Your first year of marriage will be the hardest and most difficult year of your entire marriage. Making a marriage work isn’t easy especially when you are in your first few months of learning what it is to be one with someone. The good news is that marriage wasn’t created to be easy so if you have a marriage that isn’t easy it doesn’t mean that your marriage isn’t going to last or that you married the wrong person. Your first year of marriage will be unimaginably hard to get through. But if at the end of it you are more in love with your spouse than you were at the start, you have what it takes to make your marriage last not just a year, but a lifetime.