What to do when you start realizing you are married... FOREVER.

Early morning and here we are, husband and wife, escaping to the coffee shop pre-work day. Exactly one year ago today, Brett set a ring in front of me and I said "yes" and he said "yeah?" and I said "yes" again and "the question" never really got popped... and that's okay. As our marriage has progressed these crazy few months, we've started a few "ways". Stine ways. A few weeks ago we started our early-morning-once-a-week-coffee-escapades, because life and work are crazy and some mornings Mr. Coffee just doesn't do it for us. I love starting my day here, and I love watching others begin their days here as well. I love that coffee shops have become Brett and I's common bond with our local community. I especially love it here, when it's still quiet, open, and waking up. Bible, journal, thoughts, prayers. My soul is nurtured here.And Brett. Soul nurturing alongside me. We both need this. We both are matching shirts today on accident. BOTH of us can barely lift our arms today because SOMEONE Stacie thought adding weight lifting to the summer gym regimen last night would be a new/fun idea (TONED ARMS SHMONED SHMARMS!! As my RA's would say, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. My body hurts).

"We both" are two of my favorite words lately. But for awhile after we got married, those words overwhelmed and frightened me.

I was so full of joy when we got married. Writing my vows to Brett was one of the deepest and richest moments of my life. Saying them was exciting. Hearing Brett's loyal, genuine, and Christ-like vows to me was something I'll never forget. The love Christ has put in Brett to love me is crazy huge and sweet. It comes down to this: Brett's a no good lover without our Jesus. Hallelujah.

Our Marriage, like EVERY SINGLE ONE, has had its phases. Honey moon phase. Realistic "Oh we are married forever" phase. Growth phase. Challenges Phase. I love serving my spouse phase. "Why can't they serve themselves?" phase. "I'll instagram their beautiful face until I die" phase. Kissing a lot in public phase. "He lets me put girly pillows on the couch" phase. "Oh this is what Jesus meant when he said that" phase. "Sit on the other side of the couch please" phase. And my favorite, "No fun until you shave your face" phase.

The "Whoa we're married forever" Phase hits home today. The first few months Brett and I were married I would have these panic realizations that I was married to Brett forever (As long as earthly forever is). That  the money I'd use to buy new furniture, crafting supplies, food, my entire J. Crew closet (of course), and expensive camera lenses with, was "our money" and that some of those purchases wouldn't actually happen because I shared that money with Brett. And then I'd think, "Why do you have to share your money with the person you're married to, that's so not fair." The second day on our honeymoon the independent recently single woman in me had an internal freak out...I was committed to Brett for the rest of my life. I had made the unbreakable vow. I was filled with fear that I'd done the wrong thing... and I couldn't go back.

I mean this so much when I say: I don't regret getting married. A few months ago, Brett and I were getting coffee with one of our wonderful couple friends and they told us that one of their fears their parents had for them, is that they would regret getting married to each other a few years down the road. Marriage is not something God created for us to regret. No matter how difficult it gets. If I ever choose to live in marital regret, I'm closing a door to what God can do with my marriage and even my dreams. I'm closing a door to covenantal obedience and God-given grace. Christ committed himself to me, I covenanted my heart to Brett--- and loving Brett is understanding the love of Jesus. And loving Jesus is understanding how to love Brett. All other thoughts, are selfish and fear-driven, and I do not wish to live in those fears.

My best friend is getting married this week. Yesterday I texted her asking for her panty size and three hours later I realized it was her birthday and I hadn't even told her how special she is. I'd only asked about panties. UGGHHH. DON'T EVER TRY TO BECOME MY BEST FRIEND I'M NOT A VERY GOOD ONE. We have been "besties" ever since first grade. We remember each other's teeth pre-braces and, to our chagrin (a word I learned pre-braces), we remember each other with braces. We tried out for the same roles in musicals, and liked the same boys more than once in high school. In college, we fought for our friendship through lots of distance and telephone calls and we laughed and cried for each other from afar. We live in different cities today, but you can bet Amber made sure to show up to my engagement to Brett, and I made sure to show up to hers to Nick. She walked down the aisle at my wedding 7 months ago, and I'll walk down the aisle at hers this week.

I am joyed for her.

And my heart for her this week... is that in her marriage phases she'll love the joy of this week, she'll embrace the "fearful overwhelming forevers" later on in marriage, she'll relish in the days she'll delight in sentences that start with "we both", and she'll cling fast to obedience on days when tempting regrets come knocking at her door. My heart is that no matter what, she'll choose joy. Forever.



[I've been reading Jen Hatmakers blog a lot lately, and, come to find out, adopting children has similar phases to marriage. So, on a completely unrelated BUT YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO READ THIS note, her blog post, "The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later", enlightened my heart in all areas adoption. And really has my heart beating for what adoption could look like for us in the future.]