Hey Ya’ll! Hope all has been well with you.
Chileeeee, I have been married for 2 years! I married the love of my life on May 14, 2016 in the presence of God, our family and friends. It was truly the happiest day of my life! Everything about our wedding day was about God’s grace and our love for each other and family. While reflecting over the last 2 years I wanted to take the time and share just how SERIOUS marriage is and what I have learned after being married for 2 years.
The first year of marriage was great! Most people will tell you that the first year is the hardest but I really believe it is the 2nd year. I think the first year you are excited about being married and you are in the honeymoon phase, plus it goes by extremely fast. But when that 2nd year rolls around I think that is when the real work begins.
Sadly enough many married couples shy away from the word work as it relates to marriage but it really is the recipe to keeping a marriage intact. Thriving marriages require work and effort. I believe the more work and effort you put into it the better it will be. The key is putting the work into the marriage when it is good as oppose to when the marriage is rocky. Sooooo let’s get into it!
Here is what I learned in my 2nd year of marriage…
1. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to PRAY!
Prayer has been my biggest weapon and my biggest source of strength. Please understand that marriage is not a fairy tale, the enemy was not jumping for joy when you and your spouse got married. Every family member in attendance at the ceremony wasn’t cheering you on, please believe! So prayer has to be your weapon to combat the plots and schemes of the enemy. Prayer has kept me throughout marriage even though we are only two years in. It is something I am intentional about, I make an effort to war for my marriage and families peace.
There will be days where your spouse will hurt your feelings, make you mad, forget to flush the toilet, mismanage the money, etc. and in those moments when tensions are high you need to pray for peace and joy to enter and remain in your marriage. In this 2nd year of marriage I learned the importance of praying for my husband. Not just praying that God would change him but to pray that I will be changed. I prayed about how I interacted with him, respected him, loved him and it has changed the way we relate to one another.
2. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to LET GO OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS!
This has been one of the biggest lessons and most recent lesson I had to learn this year and that was to LET GO OF ALL OF MY EXPECTATIONS! This was a big one for me. The word expectation is defined as the anticipation of what would happen. Expectations not communicated can and will ruin your marriage. We all come into marriage with expectations and when they are not met we are disappointed, offended, and hurt and this can cause tension, resentment and bitterness if not checked. It is important that you first communicate your expectations to your spouse. And after they are communicated your spouse should communicate if your voiced expectations can or cannot be met. For example: If I go to my husband and say “Honey, I am expecting you to pay all the bills. It is now up to my husband to agree to the expectation. If he doesn’t then I can no longer expect him to pay all of the bills. It is when we do not communicate our expectations and expect our spouse to meet the expectation is where we run into problems and become disappointed and upset. That is not fair.
We have to let go of all of our expectations and focus on loving and accepting this flawed human you vowed before God to always honor, respect and cherish. When I finally came to this epiphany it has helped me and my husband relate to one another so much better, because there are no expectations that he or I can have that are not communicated first and agreed upon second.
3. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to WORK ON YOURSELF AND WORK ON YOUR MARRIAGE!
The 2nd year of marriage definitely taught me that I can not change my spouse. Ladies I know you think you are smart and may even have a degree in psychology, but baby you can not nor will you ever be able to change your spouse. Inspire yes, change no! So I knew that nagging and yelling would not change my spouse so I worked on me. Instead of looking at everything my husband was or was not doing I spent time working on me. My patience was short so I worked on that. I lacked communication skills and I lacked compassion about certain things so I focused on me, my attitude, my communication and my integrity and character. I believe the more I worked on me the more my husband saw and experienced a better wife. I also believe my new behavior inspired him to work on him and I in return got a better husband. Was this easy? Noooooo, but I am reaping the benefits of me working on me.
I also learned that my husband and I had to put intentional work into our marriage. Happy and thriving marriages do not just appear. Think about it. Two people from totally different backgrounds and upbringings suddenly find themselves sharing their lives with someone who doesn’t think like them, do things like them and are expected to be madly in love and smile 24/7. That is just not the case. Between work, job changes, promotions, money, death, sickness, moving and raising children your marriage can be strained. You have to set aside time to spend time together. Quality time over quantity time. No phones, no kids, no outside distractions just you and your spouse sharing dreams together, talking, laughing and doing activities. This is important. Plan it, save for it and put your marriage first. Invest in your marriage and attend marriage conferences and retreats together to build accountability and to learn how to make it. I am so thankful and do not take for granted that I am married to a person who wants to work on our marriage. It is priceless!
4. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to NOT BE AFRAID OF ACCOUNTABILITY!
Being married is not a secret society and you can not do it alone. I know many would say when you get married keep people out of your business and I agree to some degree. However, I believe you and your spouse need a small yet powerful circle of accountability partners. People or another couple who wants to see your marriage succeed. Now for my husband and I we have been blessed to have several couples who keep us accountable and tell us not just what we want to hear but what we need to hear to keep our marriage intact and thriving.
You need accountability in marriage you need someone who is not afraid to tell you that you didn’t handle a certain situation right or encourages us to move past this or that. I think this 2nd year of marriage we relied on our accountability partners more than ever. They were a sounding board, they prayed with us and they even corrected us. They always remained neutral and offered us love and support. We are thriving because we were not afraid to be held accountable.
I would advise that you do not have a lot of single accountability partners. Now I have some single accountability partners who are gifted in the area of relationships but not too many because there are somethings about marriage that a single person cannot relate too.
5. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to NEVER STOP COMMUNICATING!
There will be times in your marriage where there are no words. I remember being so mad with my husband that I refused to talk to him. This silent treatment lasted almost 2 days. I was so focused on my anger that I was opening a door for the enemy to come into my marriage ( I will expound later). I was in prayer and God spoke to me so clearly and told me to repent and end the silent treatment. With major reluctance, I obeyed and in that moment God not only brought reconciliation but major healing in my marriage. I made a vow to not stop communication between my husband and I. Of course there have been moments where I wanted to shut down but I remembered my vow and commitment to this marriage. We have since learned to take a few moments if needed to process what is going on but under no circumstances will we ever stop communicating.
I believe the moment you stop communicating in marriage you open the door for the enemy to put a wedge between you and your spouse. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy your marriage and he uses subtle things like silent treatments and harsh words or sleeping in separate rooms because you are angry to cause a breach to be formed in your marriage. Keep communication in your marriage even if you have to write a letter, send an email or text, just keep communicating. Express your feelings and concerns in a mature fashion or go to a counselor who can help you communicate effectively. Read books and pray about how to communicate with your spouse in a loving way.
Here are some scriptures about communicating in marriage that has helped me this past year.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated. (Proverbs 14:16-17)
A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. (Proverbs 14:29)
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. (Proverbs 29:22)
6. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to LEAN ON ONE ANOTHER!
January 10, 2017 a few months before or 1st wedding anniversary, my father suffered a catastrophic stroke. Thank God my father is alive and doing much better. But when this incident first happened our lives had forever changed. We were faced as a couple with a lot of hard decisions and even had to move in with my father for a short time to help him with his recovery. You can imagine how all of this could put a strain on any relationship but particularity a new marriage. It was in those moments that I knew I had married the right person. We learned how to lean on each other. We didn’t allow all of the chaos and change of plans to keep us away from each other instead it pulled us closer. We really strengthened our friendship and the intimacy between us because we needed each other more than ever.
Due to my father’s illness we had to cancel our trip to New York and our cruise to different islands to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. We were not thrilled about losing money for our trips but we understood that helping in my father’s recovery was a priority at the time. When you encounter hardship and tough situations please do not allow them to cause strife in your marriage instead put your heads together and get through them as a team. I know it is easier said than done but it is possible and important. Lean on one another and get through the mess together as a team!
7. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to HAVE SEX!
Now you maybe saying DUH! Yes, the natural thing when you think of marriage is two people having lots of sex. However, life can get busy and schedules can change and it can throw off the quality and quantity of sex happening in the marriage. I learned this year that no matter what HAVE SEX!
My husband received a promotion at work and that meant longer work hours and even working on the weekend. When he was off I was at work and when I was at work he was off, so that effected our sex life. Well we both had to sit down and COMMUNICATE and get creative. Chile and creative we got! (Sorry mom who is reading this blog post!) However in our creativity we were able to satisfy each others needs and keep the intimacy and spark in our marriage. After all God loves when we have sex, He delights in it and who wouldn’t want to make God happy? We surely do. This sex is LEGAL!
Marriage without sex is a friendship! You did not get married to have a roommate and a buddy. You married to have intimacy and to have sex so DO IT! Do not neglect each other and get creative. Put those kids to bed and lock that door. Schedule it, pencil it in whatever you need to do but HAVE SEX!
8. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to DATE!
Due to my father getting sick and job promotions our date nights dwindled fast. We just didn’t have the time and sometimes the extra money to go on date night. I must admit this affected us greatly. However, we communicated and found a solution and that was breakfast dates or day dates. We also had dates at home where we watched our favorite movie and ate dessert. Which turned out to be some of my favorite times we spent together. Or sometimes we would turn everything off and just talk. Man we would laugh and have the best times. We set aside time to date each other. Get dressed up and really put forth an effort to spend quality time together.
I know every marriage is different trust me I get it. However you have to always keep the element of surprise and mystery in your marriage. If we are honest marriage can get boring real quick when you find yourself doing the same thing the same way for weeks and months. You cannot let that happen. Get out of the house and go somewhere even if it is just to look at houses and dream about the next 5 years of marriage. Husbands, make the effort to plan a date and surprise her. I promise she will thank you. *insert wink emoji*
Ladies you can plan a date too. Surprise him with football game tickets or a trip to another state. Book a hotel in your city and visit a museum or place you have never been before. Have fun! My thing is if you have to do life with this person let it be fun!
9. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to BUILD YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE!
Let’s face it, you cant do NOTHING without money and I mean NOTHING! I do not care how holy you are and how often God speaks to you, if you do not have money LIFE WILL BE HARD! In August of 2017 my husband, daughter and I moved to Orlando, Fl. When we moved to Orlando we really had to sit down and think, talk and plan for our financial future. We have two daughters (we are a blended family) and they will soon be figuring out their next steps in life (college, careers, etc.). We needed to solidify life insurance, retirement plans, business insurance, housing, education, debt, etc.
Talking about money is uncomfortable and talking about money in marriage can be even more uncomfortable. John and I struggled in the beginning because we both had an opinion and a system we were accustomed to when it came to handling money. However we came together and worked through it and planned and prepared for our financial future. Getting life insurance, budgeting and saving is something that has to be discussed thoroughly and often. It is not a one time conversation. We discuss our finances weekly and when we skip a weak there is always some type of confusion. So we make talking about our finances on a weekly basis a priority.
I also learned how importance character and integrity is to the conversation of money. Transparency and truth is the best way to navigate through the conversation of money. Both parties have to be honest and upfront because if not it will affect the whole family. We learned that this year and it was a big and hard lesson to learn. However we are better for it. So ladies, do not hide purchases from your husband that is deceit and a sin. Husbands do not make big purchase without discussing it with your wife that is deceit and a sin. Thank God we didn’t have that issue but I know that is something that a lot of marriages deal with. Money is a tool that can help your marriage thrive if used with integrity and good character. Be transparent no extra hidden bank accounts, no hidden or extra life insurance policies. it is deceitful and a sin. Make your financial future a priority with honesty and integrity.
10. I learned in my 2nd year of marriage that in order for marriage to be successful you have to MAINTAIN TRUST!
The word trust as it pertains to marriage is defined as the one in which confidence is placed. On our wedding day I placed a level of confidence (trust) in my husband to uphold the vows he made to me and he did the same in me. What I learned this year is that John and I have to make sure we are maintaining that trust in each other. Keeping the trust between you and your spouse doesn’t just happen you have to keep telling the truth, keep loving and fighting for your marriage, you have to keep showing up everyday willing to go through the good and the bad. You have to keep communicating, keep sharing, keep leaning on one another and keep making the other person a priority. And when the trust is broken make sure you humble yourself, repent and build trust again. Trust in your marriage is the glue that holds it together. As you trust in God, trust in each other!
Open Letter to My Honey:
I am so grateful to do life with you Mr. Johnie B. Hicks, III and even though it has not all been good nothing would stop me from loving you. I love how you treat me and care for me with so much respect and gentleness. You love my daughter like she is your own and I am forever grateful for that. You are hard- working and thoughtful and have been such an inspiration to me on how to love people with a pure heart. Let’s continue MAKINGHICKSTORY and WALKING GRACEFULLY along this GRACEWALK!
Love Your Wife
Thank you Lord for 2 years of marriage and we depend on You daily to keep us!
I pray that you enjoyed this post and something you read touched your heart and soul.
I appreciate you stopping by for a little Lunch Tine With Vicky!