June 11, 2016 - Our 5th wedding anniversary!
For those of you who do not know JB and I, we grew up in the same town. We didn't know each other until high school and started dating April 9, 2006 (the day after JB's senior prom)! We attended the same college, and on January 1, 2011 (last semester of undergraduate school) JB took me to the YMCA field in our hometown and proposed with a beautiful heart shaped diamond ring. We decided that night after our engagement party, we would get married in just 5 short months. We got our degrees in May of 2011 and were married on June 11, 2011. I was 20 and JB was 23. All I knew was that I loved him, and I wanted my wedding to be on the beach. We had internships to go back to after our beautiful wedding in Orange Beach, AL, and our honeymoon in the Bahamas. Internships, ya'll. Summer internships at that. We had all these dreams and plans of moving to Atlanta, GA, but didn't have jobs or potential jobs, and our lease was ending at our apartment complex. I think we were jobless for two weeks before we both landed secure jobs. From years 1-4 of marriage, we went through many transitions. We have gone from a studio apartment, to a one bedroom apartment, to a townhouse that we currently own. We have gone from two functioning cars, to both of them acting stupid-thousands of dollars spent on repairs, having to get rid of one car, buy a new car, just to have the other car we have not work. Financially, we have seen overflow and favor, to dry and weary, to we doing alright. And then the Lord decided to BLESS us after 3.5 yrs of marriage with a beautiful baby girl; Makenna Jo!
(Makenna Jo with her favorite stuffed animal at daycare. She's 17 months old!)
What I failed to mention in our story above is how we almost quit on each other during year 2 of marriage and that I suffered with depression during that time. And to be perfectly honest, physical intimacy was non-existent and our emotional and spiritual connections suffered. I'm not sure that you could call this thing we were doing in life together, marriage. And lets not talk about credit card debt, student loans, different bank accounts and the "my money" issues we had!
I had gotten so disgusted being married that I hated to even look at my husband. My hair was falling out (seriously, alopecia ya'll), and I was having anxiety attacks probably twice a day at one point. Then one day, I just left. I met two friends of mine at the beach to "get away." Well that didn't work so well because I couldn't mask the pain I was feeling. At this point in my life, even my family members were noticing how unhappy I was.
My mom sat me down and talked with me like any good mother would, and in the middle of our conversation and me crying, I heard God say, "I didn't tell you to leave your marriage."- God
"Wait, what? I'm miserable, clearly he's not the person for me." -Me
"No Brittany, get your stuff and go to your husband. I did not tell you to leave your marriage. Go home." -God
Ya'll, I could have punched Jesus at that moment. I was livid that God wanted me to be miserable. Little did I know, I was fighting the one thing in my life that was solid; our COVENANT I made between God and my husband. I was fighting a PROMISE that everything would be alright, and I was fighting AGAINST the very thing I should have been fighting FOR.
We were comfortable during year 4 of marriage with good jobs, a nice home, an amazing baby, amazing support, then the Lord decided to make us uncomfortable as he began to share his will for us. Our good isn't good enough for the Lord. God is challenging us in our finances, our prayer life together, our health, businesses, and simply moving forward in any area of our lives that we are stagnant. So cheers to this new phase we have entered into during our 5th year of marriage. The year of pursuing EVERY thought the Lord places on our heart. Not asking any questions, or delaying our obedience as we both pursue the will of God for our lives individually and as a team!
I would like to share 5 life changing lessons I have learned from being married 5 years.
1) DEAL WITH YOU! I had some issues that I assumed were my husband's fault. The Lord had to show me that I was unhappy, because I was choosing to be unhappy. God showed me that my husband wasn't responsible for my unhappiness. You must deal with YOUR demons (ex. anger, self-consciousness, depression, addiction, father and purity issues)...or they will show up in your marriage and it usually manifest in unrealistic expectations you place on your spouse. Your spouse is not responsible for your insecurities! FIGHT YOUR DEMONS, OR YOUR DEMONS WILL FIGHT AND DESTROY YOUR MARRIAGE.
2) GOD RESTORES. News Flash: Trouble and pain does NOT last always! Yep, ya'll may not like each other right now, and I know all too well what that feels and looks like BUT the storm will calm, the winds will become a breeze, and the rain will eventually cease. If you close your eyes in the middle of the storm and quit, you will never see the rainbow and the promises of God. STAY THE COURSE AND WAIT FOR RESTORATION.
3) IT'S NEVER ABOUT "WHAT" YOU ARE GOING THROUGH, BUT HOW YOU GO THROUGH YOUR TOUGH TIMES. You can either be nice, or mean. You can choose to be hateful, or helpful. You can choose to pray and intercede for your spouse, or bash and disrespect them. You can choose to communicate, or continue to make assumptions about each other. I'm going to leave you with this: You are one in your marriage, so what you do to your spouse, you are doing to yourself. You are as good to yourself as you treat your spouse. Do good to each other no matter what ya'll are going through.
4) STOP TRYING TO FIX YOUR MATE. I remember being so mad at JB one time and the Lord told me not to say anything to him and to pray. I felt like I needed to tell JB about himself, but I didn't. I casted every care I had about the situation on God and was very open with God how it hurt me what JB had done/said. I kid ya'll not, that night JB came into the room and apologized for EVERY detail of my prayer that I said to God. Ya'll can not tell me that wasn't Jesus. God can do more with a truly repentant heart, than you can with your complaining. LET GOD CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE. PRAY FOR THEM.
5) GOD'S PLAN THROUGH YOUR MARRIAGE IS TO MAKE YOU BETTER. This is not about your spouse. This is about you; your mouth, your actions, and how you handle disappointments, and your character development. Cheers to growing. Pass the many test of marriage, so that you become a better person! Every issue is working for YOUR good! (Romans 8:28)
BONUS: NEVER IDOLIZE OTHERS' MARRIAGES. This fairytale life between a man and woman who are married, is non-existent. Marriage has both its highs and lows, and the moment you begin to compare your marriage to someone else's marriage, you will become miserable. You will begin to think only you two have certain issues. No, every marriage have their issues. PEOPLE JUST DON'T POST THEIR ISSUES! They post fun, family, and vacation pictures...which they are suppose to do. Just because JB and I don't post an argument on social media, doesn't mean we don't have them. Fix your eyes back on your marriage and make it what you want it to be.
Happy Anniversary Baby! I truly appreciate you never leaving my side as we went through so many transitions being young and married. Sometimes you were silent, but ALWAYS there. Thank you! And now, cheers to being intentional with quality time, tackling challenges together, going on adventures, and pressing towards every promise God has for our marriage in year 5!
I love you forever!