We recently celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We are soooo grateful! There was a time when we didn’t think we’d make it to our 1st! (You can read more about that HERE.)
Our discussion throughout our anniversary day was centered around the idea, what if we (Terence & Eardie of 2018) could visit our wedding reception and converse with 2005 Terence & Eardie… what would we say to them? Like many couples, we had no idea of the challenges that we would face once we married. We were at once in love and very naïve. We thought life would be smooth sailing after we said “I do”. Of course we know now, that was far from the case! Hindsight is 20/20, right? So with this hindsight, we would tell them…
· Learn to forgive quickly. At times, you will be tempted to hold on to hurt feelings and misunderstandings for far too long. It will make your problems bigger than necessary.
· Make each other a priority. Don’t get distracted with friends, or with being busy. Many of those things and people will go away over time. Your marriage is an investment. Treat it as such.
· Maintain that friendship that you have between the two of you. It will sustain you during the difficult times.
· Compromise. Learn to give and take with each other. You’re on the same team. Make sure you both win.
· Learn the difference between principles and preferences. Don’t magnify the preferences as principles.
· Be patient with the process. Becoming one is a journey; it’s not going to happen overnight.
· Find some marriage mentors quickly. Take this seriously; it’s really important for your growth as a couple.
· That move that you’re contemplating to Houston is going to work out well for you. Don’t overthink it; just do it. Try something new. You can always go home again.
· Terence, that “leave and cleave” thing is in the Bible for a reason. Please take it seriously. Not doing so will cause a lot of problems.
· Eardie, I know your childhood traumatized you and you fearfully think you don’t want to have children. But you do. Trust me. It’s going to be amazing.
· The selfish tendencies you both have will get in the way. Learn to put the other before self.
· Don’t try to make the other person a carbon copy of yourself. Learn to leverage what each of you bring to the table. You’re pretty awesome now, but when you learn how to come together and optimize each of your gifts, you’ll be unstoppable.
· You’ll go through many seasons in life when all of your “friends” will fall off, and it’ll just be you and God. It’s intentional. Relax, and know that beautiful things will be birthed in those seasons.
· You didn’t marry a full-grown product. You’ve just married a seed. It’s important that you love and nurture one another. God is going to use each of you to help produce something spectacular in the other!
· Perfection doesn’t exist. Just accept it. Each of you will make tons of mistakes. Love through it.
· There will be times you want to give up. You’ll wonder if you made a mistake; if it’s worth it. Believe us, it is worth it. Hold on tightly to each other. And make sure you don’t let go at the same time.
Because we know how stubborn you both are, we realize it’s likely that you may not listen to or follow all of this advice. Which makes this last point all the more amazing… The journey you’re about to take will lead you through seasons that are not as joyful as you would like. Sure, much of it will be awesome. But some of it will be downright awful. And you’ll want to give up. But please know that every heartache and painful moment you experience will eventually be used for God’s glory. Nothing will be wasted. You’ll mature in ways you can’t imagine, and God will even use your difficulty to be a blessing to others. You’re in for quite a journey.
What advice would you add for young Terence & Eardie? Or another young couple in your life?