First of all, I highly recommend marrying your best friend.
Our relationship started as long distance, minus a month. Gauge enlisted in the Army right after we started dating and within a month he was off to basic training! It is so different to go from texting, phone calls, and FaceTime to living together. I didn’t know what to do or what my place was and to be honest, it took me over year to figure it out. We argued more than I care to admit and we hadn’t mastered disagreements or what to have for dinner (let’s be real, I don’t think any couple has that figured out LOL). It was a crazy transition, but one that we both chose.
We have learned the value of communication and although my husband is a man of few words, we’ve gotten into the habit of sitting down and talking things through. Some nights we talk nonsense, some nights it’s real talk. A friend I follow on Instagram shared a video about a book she & her husband purchased that is specifically for sparking conversation in your marriage. I ordered it right away and it has been incredible for us and so, so fun. The book is Marriage 365 and is filled with different categories of questions for each day of the year. Marriage is truly full of endless learning.
We have also learned the value of being on the same page. We overcame a lot in our first year of marriage; after a lot of yelling, a lot of tears, & a lot of nights dramatically threatening to sleep downstairs (which never actually happened because that is never the answer). I’ve learned so much in two short years and I am confident that some things will never change. It’s funny how you think you know someone and then you move in with them and you realize that you don’t actually know anything and you quickly discover all the quirks that drive you nuts. I am a clean freak and Gauge absolutely is not; I learned that the hard way, but I will admit that when he is away and the house stays clean for longer than ten minutes, it makes my heart a little bit sad. A messy house is a happy house.
Perfect example story — Gauge & I use two separate toothpastes because I like the whitening kind and he doesn’t, but he got a new toothpaste and I wanted to try it, so I did and I guess I accidentally got some toothpaste around the lid and Gauge let me know how much that irritates him. I just rolled my eyes, but hey, I learned something new and there’s something that freaks him out. It’s seriously something different every day and it’s pretty dang fun.
YOUNG & IN LOVE
I get asked a lot what it’s like being young & married. It’s hard. It’s very, very hard, but it is so special. It’s kind of cheesy, but I think that if you find your person young and get married, you just have that much longer to spend with them. 😉 I think we would both agree that it hasn’t been easy, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world and knowing what we know now, we wouldn’t have waited until we were older. Being married young has given us such a sweet opportunity to grow alongside each other, both individually and as a couple.
I do think that being married young takes a lot of courage. You have to be brave. So brave. I flew across the pacific with two suitcases and the next day I married my best friend. I had no family, no friends, nothing. I went from living with my parents one day & the next it was just the two of us. We had to take on groceries, bills, car buying, insurance, cooking, couch buying, budgeting, choosing which Costco membership we wanted, and always promising to love each other in the midst of it all, no matter how difficult or overwhelming it became. I am proud of us and how far we have come in our relationship and as “adults”. When you are married young you have to take it one step at a time because it really is all about learning. You learn how to live in a new environment, you learn how to include one person in everything you do, you learn everything about the person you’re with, you learn to not be selfish. Before I got married, I had trouble identifying my strengths and weaknesses, but it wasn’t long after that I knew exactly what they were (are). It’s crazy how much you also learn about yourself in marriage, too.
We have started setting goals with each other both personally and for our marriage. This has become a new habit that has pushed us hold each other accountable and cheer each other on! I truly think the key to a successful marriage is friendship and the willingness to communicate.
MARRIAGE + BABY
After Kai was born I was afraid that our marriage would suddenly become less important because we would be so caught up in taking care of this new baby, but every part of me was determined to not let that happen. We do have less time, but that has made the time we do have even more special than it was before. It’s quiet. It’s sacred. Even if it’s just five minutes of laying on the couch together before it’s time to go to bed. Maybe some night we’ll get real date nights again, but for now we’re making it work. The love you have for your child is so different from the love you have for your spouse. In the beginning, we didn’t see eye to eye about what to put first, but we’ve both come to realize that putting our marriage first is the only way to raise strong family.
Our biggest goal in our marriage is to be the best example to our babies. To show our kids through our actions what it’s like to have a strong, healthy marriage so they know exactly what they deserve, and nothing less. Arguments and disagreements will happen, but we have made it a priority to be cautious about when and where we let those arguments happen.
TIPS FROM OUR MARRIAGE TO YOURS
- Always choose to love each other, even in the moments when you don’t necessarily like each other. Gauge has always been the best at saying I love you (like seriously an excessive amount) 😉
- Make togetherness a priority. Since we got married we’ve always done things together. We grocery shop together, we run errands together, we go to the drive-thru together. However, we have especially had to practice this since becoming parents. Sometimes the five minutes we get to lay on the couch together after the baby goes to sleep are my favorite five minutes of the week.
- Don’t keep secrets. Best friends tell each other everything. Even when Gauge is away training I text him a recap of my day because that’s how it would be if he was home. We tell each other everything (unless we’re planning a surprise party, but even then….) 😉
- When your spouse apologizes don’t respond with “it’s okay”, instead respond with “I forgive you”. If someone has to apologize, obviously what they did wasn’t okay, so… forgiveness is vital component to any healthy relationship.
- Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives. I talked about this earlier, but I think it’s so important and our biggest goal in our marriage. Not only do we want to grow together, but we want to be the best example for our children of what it looks like to love, to grow, to sacrifice, to compromise, and to forgive.
- Don’t use social media to attack your spouse or call them out. This has never actually been spoken between Gauge & I in our marriage, it’s just sort of common sense and common courtesy. I’ve seen too many husbands and wives complaining and talking negatively about their spouses on social media and in my opinion it isn’t fair or appropriate, nor is it respectful.
- Spend time doing what the other person loves. I know in most marriages, the husband and the wife don’t always enjoy doing the same things, but spending time doing what your spouse enjoys is another way to show your love for them. I love wandering through Target, so Gauge indulges me with that every weekend. Gauge loves going to car shows, so that is something we can do together too.
- Grow in your faith alongside each other. When Gauge was away at basic training, we made a promise that when we finally got married & lived together, we would find a church together. WELL, that didn’t happen for reasons, but we are thankful for Mission Church & their weekly sermon videos, because right now that is our best option and it has been a true blessing. On Sunday nights we watch a sermon and eat dessert together on the couch.