3 Seasons in 10 Months of Marriage
Updated: Sep 21, 2019
We are coming to the end of our 10th month of marriage. We got married in the 10th month of the year, we have been together for 10 years. 10 feels like a significant number in our lives.
Recently a dear friend asked me “how is married life?” But she wasn’t asking it like so many of us South Africans have endearingly equated “how are you” as a greeting. She really wanted to know, and so I really wanted to be able to give her a genuine and reflective answer.
As I pondered this, I see that it’s almost impossible to answer that question with one emotion, or expression! Obviously off the top of my head I’ll say it’s WONDERFUL to be married to my best friend and I highly recommend marriage. The past 10 months have also been challenging, messy, beautiful, tender, deep, painful, raw, conflicted, connected, like no other 10 months I have ever had before. While the good days have absolutely outweighed the bad days by far, we aren’t immune to the plethora of emotions all individuals experience, let alone the complexity of emotions two individuals experience in small apartment living.
I feel we have experienced 3 significant and distinct seasons in the last 10 months of marriage.
Season 1 : ADVENTURE
Our first season has to be our season of firsts. Experiencing so many firsts together from the day we got married: our wedding night, our first morning waking up together, our first holiday alone, our first family weekend away as husband and wife, our first wedding as a married couple, starting our first series, sleeping in our own home for the first time, the first time we went out for dinner as husband and wife and returned to our home, our first month of marriage, our first family lunch as newlyweds. I think you get the point.
In our first 4 months of marriage we slept in a total of 14 different beds including our honeymoon. I recall these early days as being full of the adventure that newness and unfamiliarity brings. Man it was fun! But I wouldn’t call this time stable and rooted! We had a new found freedom in our unlimited access to one another in a way we had always dreamed about while dating. It felt like we were still boyfriend and girlfriend with the sweet added benefits of marriage.
Season 2: ADJUSTMENT
Drew and I had spent our 10 years of dating going on dates. We tried a new restaurant almost every weekend, tracked down the newest coffee shop and kept a critics book rating each visit. Living in a city like Johannesburg there was seldom reason to return to the same place twice. Drew and I have connected over ice cream and coffee since the beginning, so we were well acquainted with our local coffee spots and ice cream parlours. What we weren’t so acquainted to was ‘just being’.
Once we began rooting and nesting, we also began our juggling act of wanting to invest in everyone and everything: our home, careers, our marriage, family, friendships, church. We got so entangled in our ‘doings’ and didn’t do enough ‘being’. When we had our first Sunday with absolutely no plans after church we sort of didn’t know what to do with ourselves, that we very well went on to have a fight to fill the time! Looking back on that now I have no idea why we were so weird. Even after 10 years of knowing each other, we are very new at this whole marriage thing and we were (and are) still figuring it out. The unfamiliarity and discomfort we felt reminded us of the importance of not spending so much time chasing the next adventure so much that we miss out on the adventure of simply BEING together! This was an important lesson that marked a shift in the way we spend our time. This season was all about adjusting and learning how to be with one another, without an agenda, without something planned, without an activity.
This season was all about understanding how to 'be married', realising that marriage is not just endless sleepovers with your best friend, candle lit baths and romantic getaways. Marriage is those things for sure, but marriage is really about DOING LIFE TOGETHER. I am fortunate to have a supermom- the one who does it all for everyone. So a major part of this season was realising that I was now 'the woman of the household/ of the family/ of our marriage'. It may sound silly but all the things you used to go to your mom for, you are now going to be that go to person, and it takes time to grow into and make that role your own.
I don’t think Drew and I will ever NOT be busy. We value relationships and by nature are more extroverted. We get a lot of energy from being with people and engaging in our relationships (and seeking out a cute new coffee shop). But we are way more intentional about not just FILLING time. We are now capable of, more comfortable with and really look forward to our simple, quiet evenings curled up on our couch, with our favourite snacks, watching our next crime thriller series. I think it's specifically in the knowing that the night will come to an end but our time together doesn't have to, the only place Drew has to drop me off now, is the bedroom.
Season 3: ONENESS IN ACTION
I think we thought being announced husband and wife in front of God, our family and friends, celebrating our sacred union with one another for the first time that night, changing my surname, living together, made us ONE. And symbolically it sure does. What I have come to realise is that oneness isn’t a ‘one time’ thing though. Oneness is actually a verb. Oneness is something you commit to, something you choose, something you live out, something you always strive for. Only once we were married did we realise how separate and independent our lives really were for 25/26 years, despite dating for 9 of those years. So becoming one isn’t going to happen in one night. I believe that if you are intentional about becoming one than you realise that oneness is a journey, and it requires unlearning, relearning, learning new ways of being with one another as husband and wife. And even once you are married you must constantly continue to strive toward ONENESS. As humans we are selfish by nature, and we live in a world where doing our own thing and being our own person is encouraged and applauded more than being connected. A oneness marriage demands a lifetime process of relying on God and forging an enduring relationship according to His perfect design for marriage. It’s more than a mere mingling of two humans—it’s the sweetest merger of mind body and soul.
I love that in 10 months we have already experienced so many different seasons together. I love that in 10 months the sweetest season is the one we are in right now: the season where we still get excited about coming home to each other, excited to go to bed together and to wake up next to each other, but there is an undeniable and beautiful sense of intimacy, familiarity, stability and unity that makes Drew feel like an adventure and like home all at once.
Experts, people, books often talk about ‘the first year of marriage’. I’ve been challenged by this as it feels like it labels the first year as something that can be grouped together and secondly as something that’s not like any other year. I feel like our first year hasn’t been one season at all. And thank goodness for that! I didn’t marry Drew for it to always be a season of adventure, I married Drew to do life with him in every season. And I know that in the next year, our second year of marriage, we will experience even more seasons of adventure, adjustment and oneness in action and new seasons I haven’t even named yet. 10 months ago I stood before Drew and vowed that “one set of vows cannot begin to capture a lifetime of growing and changing, so I vow to choose him through any change and growing that life brings”. I couldn’t have known just how pertinent this promise was, but 10 months later I feel so honoured, and excited to be the one to fall in love with Drew and fall in love with the journey I am on with him. I am so grateful for the journey of who we are becoming, for our journey of becoming one.
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