1. My time is not my own; that's both scarey and kind of nice too. I don't need to worry or plan so much about what I am going to do every week-end night. Our free time is mostly spent together enjoying a nearby eatery, walking around the lake, or kicking our feet up while enjoying a movie Netflix style.
2. Decisions need to be made together. Since we've only been married about 10 months, I don't know Rob well enough to predict how he might decide on certain topics or social events. I have learned this lesson the hard way: after over-scheduling a couple of our days off together, Rob told me he was tired. "This is our 'day-off' after all," Rob lovingly explained to me. And since then, I have done a slightly better job of respecting him and making social decisions together.
3. Guys eat more than women. Okay, this is a stereotype. I should say, Rob eats more than me. This is a fun challenge, since I never used to cook much. However, now I find cooking a necessity to keep us within the budget while still consuming enough calories to make it through work each day.
4. Forgiveness is a must. We do not intentionally set out to hurt each other. But hurt is inevitable in any relationship. In order to move beyond the hurt, we have to be intentional about forgiving each other. If we held on to each little hurt or misspoken word, we would be bitter and cynical towards each other. But in the act of forgiving, we are humbling ourselves and allowing our spouse to see a more intimate side of us. The practice of forgiving has been one of the key things that keeps us together and in love with each other.
5. Laughter is a must. Sometimes, Rob just says things that I find hilarious. Did he really just say that? I have to look at him twice when this happens just to remind myself of the strange, handsome, witty man I married.
6. Sharing our dreams together is the pathway to achieving them. Rob and I both have pretty big dreams of doing different jobs than what we are doing right now. By talking through them and encouraging each other, I know that we are taking a step to achieving them. Similarly, we believe in each other to accomplish our dreams.
7. If I don't spend time with God, I am not a very good companion. It's true; if I have not spent time reading God' word and praying for his peace and guidance in my day, I am more agitated, more sensitive, more aggressive, and all around, more stressful to be with.
8. Connecting daily is important. When I don't see Rob for a couple of nights (on his working week-ends), I feel really out of sync with him and vice versa. We have found that the week-ends when he works the crazy hours, we usually get in more fights and feel distant from each other. We are working on a solution for this one, but daily communication and time spent together is pretty important for us especially in this beginning stage of marriage.
9. Praying helps us communicate better. In general, this helps us to be more vulnerable with each other and share the thing that is on our hearts with each other. At the beginning of our marriage, we did a better job of writing down prayers in a little journal. We then went back after a couple of months and could see all the ways God had answered our prayers. I think we need to do this more regularly to be encouraged in God's provisions.
10. Take life stages on your own time-line. The life stages are so set before us: get married, buy a house, have a baby and preferrably do it all as fast as you can. Rob does a good job of reminding me that we are not on anyone's clock but our own. Instead of racing through the stages, we are trying to savor the one we are in.