Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Celebrating Two Crazy First Years of Marriage and Hoping for a Calmer Third Year


Today marks two years since Scott and I said our vows and became man and wife. To be really honest, it seems like much longer than that. Don't worry, Scott agrees with me. A LOT has happened in those two years--I moved to Atlanta to join Scott in a tiny 600 sq. ft. midtown apartment, and we attempted to plug into a new church in an effort to make Atlanta feel somewhat like home. I began one job a few weeks after we got married tutoring students with learning disabilities, then in July I was offered and I accepted a teaching job that started at the end of July. The first few months of teaching were incredibly stressful, and I was working long hours that included late nights at home and very early mornings at school. Just as I was getting settled into the teaching job and into marriage, we found out we were pregnant. Because we were living in a tiny apartment with barely enough room for two people, we immediately began looking for a new place to live that would be affordable on one income. God blessed us with an affordable apartment in Vinings, something that we thought was impossible, and in February, 10 months into marriage, we left midtown. This was very emotional for me because I loved living in the middle of everything, and it was the first in a series of things that the Lord was asking me to give up in order to stay at home and raise the baby that was on the way. We attempted to celebrate our first anniversary in style, despite my growing stomach and our dwindling income, but it was a major flop. As a result of the pregnancy, I was very, very sick the night of our anniversary, so there we sat in the Georgian Terrace Hotel across from the Fox, with me holding my head over a toilet. There were many tears involved:) Again, God was asking me to give up my expectations for what I thought marriage was going to look like. As we quickly approached the due date, Scott and I sat down to try to come up with a budget, and we were facing the fact that we had no idea how I was going to stay home and we were still going to pay the bills. But both of us were certain that I was not supposed to go back to work. Amazingly, the week that Ada was born, the first month that we were going without my paycheck from teaching, Scott was offered a job at Fresh Express in Morrow, GA. This was, of course, bittersweet. We were so thankful and relieved for the job and the increase in income, but we were facing leaving our church and community group where we were finally starting to feel like home. Plus, Vinings felt like the perfect place to raise a family. However, most of Atlanta agrees with me, making the housing prices in Vinings impossibly expensive, so we began to pray about buying a house in McDonough, closer to Scott's job. And you know the rest of the story. It is what I have been blogging about these past few months--us in a new town, starting over once again.

So here we are, two years into this thing, and I feel like there is much to celebrate. First, we have survived two years. That is worth celebrating. And, I think we are finally looking at a calm, settled year. The Lord has provided in amazing ways. I have this memory of Scott and me sitting in TGI Friday's after my final doctor's appointment before Ada was born, and we were both so overwhelmed with how in the heck we were going to afford for me to stay at home. The numbers just didn't add up, and we didn't really know where to go from there except to trust the Lord. We were concerned about putting food on the table, so it was unimaginable that we would be in a brand new house by April. I then have the memory of being in the hospital two days after Ada was born, and Scott received a phone call from Fresh Express. God is so good. He has been so faithful. And the crazy part, the most amazing part, is that He has been so faithful and so good in the face of our doubt and sin and indifference towards Him.

As for marriage itself, I have to laugh, and I know that Scott laughs with me because it has been so much more reality and so much less romance than we ever imagined. I was so one of those college girls that idolized marriage. I pictured romance out the wazoo, and somehow even babies seemed romantic, and I just pictured us waking up Saturday morning and we would go get Ada, and we would all hang out in the bed like you see on the commercials--do you know the one I am talking about. Everyone is beautiful, and the sheets are so clean and white, and the children are jumping up and down on the bed, and the parents are laughing. This is what I thought marriage and babies looked like. So funny. So, so funny. Because obviously, that is not it at all. Saturday mornings mostly consist of each of us, selfishly, trying to convince the other to go get Ada, as we roll over and put the pillow over our face. We certainly don't look beautiful, and we aren't smiling. And we spend our lives hoping that the numbers all add up, and that we manage to survive another week on one paycheck. But, hey, at least we're crunching numbers in our very own house:) But, at the end of the day, no matter how tired or annoyed or not like I thought it would be it is, Scott is still my best friend. There is still no one else I want to do marriage or parenting with. He has seen me at my worst, because I think most of you would agree, marriage has this way of bringing that sinful nature to the surface, and wow, has he seen my sinful nature. But he still loves me. He is still gracious to me. And we are growing together. And learning together. And lots of days fighting each other in the process.

One of my favorite books, one I recommend to all engaged or married couples, is called Sacred Marriage. The entire premise of the book is that marriage is not created to make us happy but to make us holy. In the book, Gary Thomas writes, "Marriage helps us to develop the character of God himself as we stick with our spouses through the good and the bad. Every wedding gives birth to a new history, a new beginning. The spiritual meaning of marriage is found in maintaining that history together." He later writes, "Becoming one--in the deepest, most intimate sense--takes time. It's a journey that never really ends, but it takes at least the span of a decade for the sense of intimacy to really display itself in the marriage relationship." What I am thankful for most of all, is that God has provided me with a husband who understands these truths. We are both in this thing for better and for worse, and I am excited about slowly, together, building our history. We have only just begun.

12 comments:

Clark and Laura Forman said...

That was just beautiful and so so true!! I like you had this "ideal" of how marriage was going to be...and more and more I just realize how "ugly" I am! And thanks for bringing me back to reality of how having a child is going to be, seeing as I have about 4 weeks left, I needed to hear that!!! :) Happy Anniversary!!!!

Amanda said...

Laura Beth this was so true and real. You are such a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing the wisdom you have gained through this process of refinement. Happy Anniversary!!!

Ashley said...

LB - I just want to commend you for being so honest with us. So often, I want to sugar coat what's going on in my life for the sake of appearances. But, you are so real, and I'm thankful for that! I echo what you have said a/b marriage and God's plan. We are on the same page! I am reminded of a quote from Voddie's book regarding Christian marriage:

"We are two unique individuals waging war against the flesh, the world, and the devil. And sometimes that leads to waging war against each other."

Anyway, it's so good to hear your story and your testimony - it encourages me as a future childrearer!

PS. I am putting Voddie's book in the mail tomorrow. No worries a/b getting felicity back to me, but I wanted you to start reading Family Driven Faith! ASAP!

Milla said...

Hey LB I looooved reading your post about the first 2 years of marriage. You expressed everything so well! Wow. You and Scott have really been through so much!

Ada is going to love reading about this one day. What a testimony to God's goodness.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Milla said...

and also, happy anniversary. :)

(p.s. we spent an anniversary at the georgian terrace, too! It didn't involve throwing up, but there was definitely other drama that I can tell you more about later. HA - romance)

deanna said...

What a great testimony on the realities of marriage. Happy Anniversary!

LB said...

thanks everyone--can't you all relate, though. Marriage--it makes for some good laughs, doesn't it:)

Milla, of course I am dying to compare stories on our Georgian Terrace experiences. I could tell some more from that weekend--ha, ha.

Deanna--if you don't mind, I am going to link to your blog from my page. Let me know if that's not okay.

Deanna said...

Of course that's okay! It's not all that exciting, but I'm working on it. :)

Melissa said...

wow...God led me to read this today Laura Beth! I was laughing and tearing up through most of this post as to how accurate your words are! Isn't it amazing (and surprising) how God breaks down our own expectations of marriage to make us reflect more of Him?! I had a very romantic idea of that as well before going into it almost three years ago. I loved your 'white sheet saturday morning' ideal---ISN'T that exactly what we thought it was going to be like! wow! Such a great commercial to describe our own plans on life. Thanks for posting your honest and wise words~ Trust that God has you exactly where he wants you and HIS purposes are being made complete through the 'everyday' tasks of being a wife and mom:-)

Sarah said...

I found your blog through the menu planning, and really loved reading your story! It is so touching to read and you put it all so well...I can relate so much to your story.

I remember our first anniversary too and the second one (just past) and being pregnant and how things just didn't go the perfectly romantic way that I had always dreamed they would. But you keep on living and learning and realizing that it doesn't have to be perfect.

May God bless you and your family! :-)

joy said...

It is so true that marriage and parenting is not always all that much fun, or pretty or exciting but it is worth the work......I am thankful to be married......to a wonderful husband, we are not always happy, we don't always agree but we work on our marriage and love each other. Children are truly a gift from God & it is the best, most difficult most time consuming but most rewarding "job" we will ever have.....

Marriage is not the happily ever after, everything is perfect fairy tale tv/commercials make it seem to be......but I love it.

Mary said...

Laura Beth, I know this post is really old but I had to comment...so nice to read your story, and see how much you have grown, even since writing this post, I'm sure! Thank God that he doesn't stop teaching us...what prompted me to comment is that book (Sacred Marriage) is the name of the book I was trying to think of when we were talking about accountability at discipleship...I had started to read that book, then lost it. I really wanted to let God show me how to see marriage through that lens and it is perfect timing that I should see your thoughts about it now, I am going straight to PINES to see if GA has that in their library system! : )