Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
The first year of marriage is like wet cement — the impressions made in it are much harder to change once it has set.
I got married, a little over a year ago, at the ripe old age of 19 to my 22-year-old fiancé.
My fiancé was from Michigan and I lived in Washington. He moved here 3 months before our wedding with no job, no place to live and only enough money to get himself over here. I was living with my parents working a temporary summer job and about to start my second year of college.
Needless to say, we started building our lives together from the ground up. Maybe even below the ground.
I have a friend who got married, a little over a year ago, also at age 19. The man she married is 12 years her senior.
He has an established career, makes a decent living and owns a nice home.
Many would say she got the better deal. She walked into her first year of marriage looking forward to job stability, financial stability, a nice house and being able to avoid a lot of the problems my husband and I faced during our first year of marriage. She recently had an adorable baby boy and was able to do so without having to worry about how they were going to pay for the costs of health care. I’m not suggesting that they didn’t have their share of troubles that inevitably come about from two people learning to be work together as one, but the outside stressors were relatively limited for them.
As for me? Well, I walked into my first year of marriage living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment inside of a mansion that had been converted into separate living spaces. My kitchen was no more than a hallway and our “bedroom” was so small that we decided to make it our living room since it really only fit our TV. We lived in one of the worst neighborhoods in town since it had the cheapest rent. The neighbor across the hall was a “sweet old lady” and also a drug dealer. The man who lived next to us sung along drunkenly to Journey at 1:00 in the morning, which I could hear very clearly through our paper-thin walls. Upstairs there was even a prostitute who liked to loudly discuss her ventures, in great detail, outside our front window.
During our first year, we had our front window bashed in with a rock, our car was broken into and we witnessed multiple assaults outside our front door in the hall. Our apartment was flooded (from the ceiling) two separate times because the lady two floors above us left the house with her clogged toilet running.
My husband worked two jobs: an on-call overnight shift and another day job. He would sometimes go for five days straight with no more than seven or eight hours of combined sleep. I went to school full time and worked part time. We somehow managed, through our cheap rent and eating spaghetti all the time, to make ends meet.
Maybe it’s our personalities, but we somehow managed to find ways to laugh about all of it (sometimes after a few tears).
We didn’t have it easy by any means, but our marriage is so much stronger because of it. We learned so much about each other, about how to more effectively communicate, about leaning on each other for support and most of all– how to trust God who came through for us more times than I can count. This first year has laid an incredibly solid foundation for the rest of our future. There are so many insights into each other that we would have missed out on had our situation been like my friend’s.
Reflecting on our first year of marriage, I can see just how far we’ve come. We now live in a nice house in a wonderful quiet neighborhood, my husband has a great full-time job with regular hours that he enjoys and we have a beautiful newborn daughter who has made us a family. My husband and I are still each other’s best friends and we talk about everything. We know that, if we survived the last 12 months, we can survive anything life throws at us.
That year seemed like something out of a bad sitcom, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If I had the option to go back in time and choose between having it be picture-perfect, or the insane mess that it was…I would choose the insane mess. I honestly can’t fathom how a couple can manage to experience the closeness that my husband and I have without the cliché difficult first year of marriage; I would even go so far as to say that it is an important part of establishing that life-long bond.
Marriage is more than sharing a life together; it is building a life together. Every “for worse” makes the “for better”…even better.
Photo Credit: cjhallman