Monday, September 2, 2013

ONE YEAR: What We've Learned and a Weekend Away

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that in the days leading up to our one-year anniversary, I was starting to get little teasers about a getaway to celebrate. And teasers they were, because the notes offered no inkling of any clue or hint. It was a total surprise!

On Friday, August 16, Thomas picked me up from work and handed me a real clue. It read, "we may not be close to 40, but today let's go over the hill." We started driving west and before too long, we were sitting at the light for Barton Creek Boulevard at the top of a hill, looking out over the gorgeous Texas hill country, and I screamed "we're going to BARTON CREEK!!"



It was a wonderful phone-free three days filled with love, laughter, good food, and lots of rest and relaxation as we reflected on 365 days of marriage. We stayed at the resort all weekend, eating all of our meals there, playing mini golf, lying by the pool. I was surprised after breakfast on Saturday morning with a couples massage, and Mr. Romantic also made it a point to pack a leftover bottle of champagne from our wedding, along with the toasting glasses and cake server we'd used.



To make the weekend even sweeter, our wedding cake baker {Sugar Mama's Bakeshop} made us a fresh cake to celebrate. No frozen one-year-old cake for the Reeds!



On Saturday night as we ate our second round of wedding cake, Thomas and I spent some time in prayer and discussion, thanking the Lord for all He'd walked us through in our first year as husband and wife. We prayed for continued grace and wisdom as we navigated our commitments, our church involvement and giving, our careers, our finances, and ultimately our future family. We want to travel, we want to own our first home in the next year, and we want to get a dog soon after that. In a few years, we cannot WAIT to be parents, and we have a heart for adoption, praying it's His will for our family to play a part in rescuing orphans. It was a sweet sweet time together as we spent time dreaming of all that God has planned for us.  

We also asked each other: what are the most valuable things you've learned after one year of marriage? After one year of being a married gal, I certainly don't have all the answers. We're learning and growing every single day by the grace of God, but here's my list of truths:

COMMUNICATE. Never stop talking. Keep each other in the loop. As each weekend comes to an end, ask each other "what does this next week look like for you?" Take the time to look your spouse in the eyes and say "how are you REALLY doing?" We've gotten in such the habit of asking "how was your day?" and then going about our evening of dinner making, TV watching or church going, and then getting ready for bed and waking up to start the routine all over again. More often than not, when I ask the question more sincerely, Thomas will unload, sharing more of his heart, and I love those moments.

Prioritize date night. Thomas and I strive to have a date night once a week. Usually its Friday nights, but if something comes up or we make other plans, we'll make sure we have uninterrupted alone time together on another night during the week. Continually pursue one another. Just because you're married doesn't mean you stop dating your spouse.

Go phone free. This one is sooooo hard for me, and I'm sure many can relate. I feel like I'm glued to my iPhone, flipping through work emails, staying current with what's going on with social media, or keeping up with friends and family through text messages. Thomas is really good at helping me out with this one. He'll announce "I'm going to leave my phone on my bedside table tonight," which is a loving suggestion that I do the same. We might just be watching a movie or playing a board game, but having our phones in another room helps to fight the urge to turn our attention elsewhere. I need to preach this to myself most days: Amanda, you can survive without your phone!

No money talk after dark. Just... no. Don't do it. Unless it works for you, then ignore me. But Thomas and I have found that budget discussions do not end well if we start them at night. At night, you're exhausted from your day and emotions (at least mine) are more sensitive than usual. With finances being one of the top causes of divorce, we've made a conscious effort to have our budget sessions when we're fresh and energized, when we'll likely have more patience to work through the tough stuff.   

Fight as teammates, not as opponents. Thomas and I both hate conflict, which means we don't have many big fights. When we do get into a disagreement or find ourselves snapping at each other, we have to remember that we're on the same team. We're in this together.

Pray together. Besides making sure you're individually chasing after Christ, praying together as a couple is the best thing you can do for your marriage. For us, it's the perfect way to end a day, when we're in bed, about to turn out the lights. Thanking God and asking for discernment, healing, patience, and strength helps us keep our eyes fixed on Him.

And finally, marriage magnifies. As a single person, you can go about your day, your moods and your tasks, without it seriously affecting too many people around you. Sure, if you're a grump, it may cause conflict with your roommates, coworkers, or a family member, but when you're married to someone, they're equally affected by whatever you're walking through. Whatever "funk" I was in on a day in college may not have seemed like a big deal, but now that I'm married - whoaaaa. Everything is magnified. They say marriage is a mirror and boy, is that true. It's like I'm hyper-aware of my flaws and weaknesses all of a sudden, but you better believe it ends up making me better. Just the same, the GOOD in life is magnified! Laughter is more frequent, accomplishments are celebrated doubly. As it was said in our wedding ceremony - "the joys of life are doubled because you experience them together. The trials of life are lessened because the burden of them is shared." The beauty of a Christ-centered marriage is that through the magnification of joys and trials, we ultimately have the decision to magnify Christ. When Thomas and I are 90 years old, our prayer is that we'll look back and see specific times when Jesus got the glory, when HE was the one magnified.   



4 comments:

  1. love the phone by the bed idea. we might just have to adopt that as well!

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  2. Great stuff! I learned some of this the hard way, as my parents divorced by not doing these things. The other items my wife and I have learned over the years from marriage Bible studies, etc. Thanks for sharing this!

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  3. So cute! You sure are lucky! The room is beautiful along with the view. I love the advice, because it works with relationships too, not just marriage! You guys seem very happy :)

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  4. Amanda, I went to Baylor with Jill Walkinshaw so I found your blog through the links on Jenni's page (since, ahem, her sister doesn't blog anymore!) I just wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed your posts about travel and getaways! I also told my husband (BU '99) last night after reading this post that I kinda wish it were our 1st anniversary again because that is just so fun!! Best wishes to you in ALL the years to come...and for continuing these wonderfully-written blog posts!

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