By Megan Erbacher
People often say the first year of marriage is the hardest. So, when a pandemic hits and you’re suddenly ordered by your state governor to stay-at-home just 10 weeks into wedded bliss, it kind of ups the ante for that first year.
I’m not trying to make light of COVID-19, so please don’t take it that way.
As you read this, Steve and I are almost four months into our marriage, enjoying all the beautiful firsts of wedded life and settling into the normalcy of life after a fun, but stressful, year of wedding planning.
I’m not sure why everyone says the first year of marriage is the most difficult, but I’m certainly not naive enough to believe we’ve already conquered all the challenges of married life in the first four months.
Spending more time at home with Steve, I’ve grown more in love with him because of his unending patience with me.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
Living with someone else is just frustrating at times.
My first experience having a roommate, aside from my siblings, was my freshman year of college when I moved from the comfort of home to Bloomington, Indiana. I went potluck and the university placed me with a stranger who, luckily for me, ended up becoming a lifelong friend who was a bridesmaid in my wedding.
Despite college living working in my favor, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. When you live with someone, you feel like you can never escape to your own space. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the way someone else folds laundry, loads the dishwasher or organizes dishes.
I’ll admit I’m not always fun to live with. I tend to be particular about silly things. I prefer my bed to be made, and I like it made a certain way. I make sure to hit every nook and cranny when I’m vacuuming. I even like the silverware arranged in a specific way in the drawer. All trivial and slightly crazy things, I’m fully aware.
Steve also has preferences, but he doesn’t nitpick me if I accidentally leave a drawer open while making dinner. He doesn’t get frustrated with me if I leave my clean laundry in a pile for a day or two before folding it and putting it away. He’s more patient than I am.
According to 1 Samuel, a "lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings.” If we can’t focus on the real meaning of the present moment, then how can we expect to appreciate it?
Yes, it can be overwhelming that everything doubles when you’re married. This includes combining finances and adding potential debt; and we now have two families to juggle when it comes to holidays, birthdays and other special occasions.
Instead of focusing on the stressfulness of everything that doubles with marriage, maybe we should instead focus on the doubling of blessings we get with marriage. We now have a bit more security with finances if something goes awry at work for one of us, and we now have double the family to celebrate with us in happy times.
The self-quarantine has allowed me time to work on practicing my patience and counting my blessings instead of wasting time on trivial things that, in the end, don’t matter.
I know Steve and I aren’t alone in the first year of marriage; we know many couples who have survived it including our parents and siblings. We’re not lacking in role models, another blessing I count daily.
Marriage is a learning curve for everyone, and Steve and I are just getting started.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).