Second Wedding Anniversary

IMG_9187

Today is the day! Two years since THE BIG DAY. What a day it was, with friends gathered and hashtagging away, and families celebrating their new link to each other. While the last year didn’t bring as much change as the first, I have a feeling that yet again, we have a lot of change on the horizon. Seems like “lots of changes” may end up being an every-other-year theme for us… My “gifts of cotton” were not as creative as last year’s “gifts of paper,” (think: nice clothes from Banana Republic), but hey, we can’t all be awesome year over year, right?

IMG_9099

Everyone says that marriage is hard. But here’s the thing you guys…I don’t think it’s so much that marriage is hard as it is that LIFE is hard. LIFE is really nutty sometimes! It’s stressful, it’s nerve wracking. People get sick and pass away. Relationships of all kinds ebb and flow. Jobs change. Money sucks. NO TWO PEOPLE see things exactly the same way, whether it’s parent and child, roommate and roommate, or husband and wife.

IMG_8884

Sometimes you’re all like, “OMG YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING HUMAN I’VE EVER KNOWN.”

And sometimes, you’re all like, “bye felicia.”

But isn’t that true of EVERY relationship? Marriage is special, though, because it’s a choice. I’ve chosen to go through all of that stuff WITH YOU. And because of that, no matter how much the years go up and down, neither of us are going anywhere.

IMG_9869

So happy anniversary to the one I love! Two years looks good on you.

IMG_9178

 

Married at First Sight

I know it sounds INSANE. But I got completely hooked on this show last year when it debuted on FYI (which, by the way, did you know there is a channel called FYI? I didn’t.).

Married at First Sight. It is exactly as it sounds.

 

It is the ultimate “social experiment,” where a group of singles trust four experts, each with a different specialty pertaining to psychology and relationships, matches three couples. Those three couples then marry each other…without ever having met. Think arranged marriage meets the 21st century.

I was very skeptical. I realize that in this modern age, people meet in all sorts of strange and crazy ways. We have the Bachelor. We have match.com. We have Coffee meets Bagel. We have all sorts of strange ways to connect with people. But THIS? 

With a degree in psychology, I have always LOVED seeing how different aspects of our personalities mix together. Watching the first few episodes of this show last season completely hooked me. I could see why and how the “experts” matched the three couples. To me, it made total sense.

After being married five weeks, and because this was a legally binding marriage, each couple had to choose whether to stay married or get divorced. Two of the three couples chose to stay married. And then, Married at First Sight: The First Year began, where we, the audience, got to follow along in the first year of the marriage.

I FREAKING LOVE IT. I think I love it because the two couples who stayed married are adorable, of course, but have also gone run the gamut of normal issues. They are very, VERY real people with real joys and hurts. I also think it takes a lot of courage not only to go through with this experiment, but to do it on national television.

Here are the two couples from the first season – Courtney & Jason, and Doug & Jamie. ADORABLE.

 

This season, A&E picked it up. Smart move, A&E. Very smart. So far, we have seen two episodes – the matchmaking and the weddings. Already, I see so many similarities to the couples from last season. I truly wish these six individuals the best. They were married in December, so in “real life,” they have either been married for three months, or they are already divorced. They all seem like genuine people, in it for good reasons, and committed to the process.

Here are the couples for this season. I pretty much agree with this assessment of the couples…don’t read it if you want to form your own opinions!! My personal favorite is the couple in the middle – Sean and Davina. Have you watched it? Do you watch it? What’s your opinion of the whole modern day arranged marriage premise??

Supplements for Marriage

Happy (Belated) Valentine’s Day, y’all! Vday got me thinking this year…

We take supplements for our bodies. We read and study hard for years to supplement our knowledge and our careers.

But how much time do you spend truly preparing for marriage? And once you’re in it, do you have any idea what you are doing at all?? Are you truly giving of yourself, or are you at least a LEEEEEETTLE bit selfish. Or a lot selfish.

Do you tell your significant other about all the things that he or she needs to improve on? Do you ever think about the things maybe YOU might need to improve on?

Recently at our church here in Columbus, our pastor embarked on a seven-week series on Marriage. This is how he begins…pointing out how very little we really DO to prepare for marriage, where just about every aspect of our life, from education to finances to pet ownership, is carefully planned out.

This series has been an incredible supplement to our marriage. About half way through, I think the hubster and I have already taken many, MANY lessons to heart. We are all human and we need HELP sometimes. We need guidance, mentorship, kind words, direction…and we should never be ashamed or embarrassed or scared to seek out what we need. I encourage you to watch this series, in your own time. Listen to the words and take notes. Read your notes back before bed, and pray for your marriage. Or read them when you wake up in the morning, instead of diving right into your to-do list or your work emails. I promise this will start to change your life.

Another wonderful tool I’ve been using in recent weeks is a book called, The Power of a Praying Wife. It is truly making many of the exact points as Pastor Kevin in his Marriage Sermon Series. While his sermons truly challenge and convict my heart in the best of ways, this book by Stormie Omartian focuses me on praying for my heart in our marriage, and for my husband on a daily basis. It is helping me build an even stronger foundation for our marriage.

download

It doesn’t matter if you feel like your marriage is perfect right now, or if you aren’t even married, or if you aren’t even THINKING about marriage. No matter what, we should each always be working to improve ourselves for the many relationships we have in our lives. Do you need a more open and loving heart towards your family? Your coworkers? Strangers? It doesn’t just have to be your spouse. Think about how you are spiritually supplementing your relationships. Think about what sorts of help you may need, and begin to seek them out.

Marriage & Change {Obligatory One Year Wedding Anniversary Post}

IMG_9887

I don’t even know where to begin to write about our first year of marriage. What a whirlwind it’s been! And while I think we are better for it, I still don’t really recommend making a million life changes at one time. In the last year-ish, we:

Quit our jobs

I got a new job

Got married

Nashville 2

Had a second reception

Husband started grad school 

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 9.58.48 PM

Moved to a new state

photo (14)

Met new people

Got a puppy

Ryman

Ryman

Survived the worst winter ever ever ever

Our Columbus Adventures have been many.

And now, as we are spending a bit of the summer apart while the hubster works at an AWESOME internship, I actually finally feel a little bit more settled in. And I say settled in and not settled down becuase I still feel far from that. Big difference in those two little words.

As much as we’ve settled, there is still so much unknown about the future…which is really a silly thing to say in the first place because who DOES know exactly what the future will bring?? Um, no one. Except God, obvi. But still, our plans for our careers and future home are still kind of giant question marks. But that’s okay. We have had incredible lessons this year about not only trusting each other, but trusting the big plan. God knows what’s up. He’s gotten us this far!

While the year was a little rocky with our many adjustments, I can truly say (cheese and all) that our relationship has come out on the other end for the better. And with many years ahead, I can only imagine how much better it will continue to get. Marriage is hard. Change is hard. But both are also so joyous and exciting and challenging in the absolute best ways. Marriage and change both make you a better person.

So enough cheeseballs for now. I’m sure you’ll hear more about them after we finally go on our delayed honeymoon in August… That post will be full of cheesy grins, sunsets, adult beverages, and beaches. Get ready.

Well one last cheeseball:

IMG_8471

We are married!

It’s true it’s true! It really happened, and it was beautiful and perfect 🙂 Of course it takes a while to get our “real” photos back, but in the meantime, please enjoy some of these highlights from my fabulous friends! Soon, I’ll be sharing with you a few of the  DIY projects I did, as well as the results. Thanks for all the love and support!

IMG_0356

{Place settings}

IMG_0389

{The beautiful Two Rivers Mansion}

tag_jmrussell_1372545324

{instagram pic!}

tag_jmrussell_1372552629

{A little switcheroo during the father/daughter and mother/son dance}

IMG_5773

{cake!!}

tag_jmrussell_1372683267

IMG_5707

{mom and mother-in-law!}

IMG_5766

{all those boys…}

IMG_5799

{lots of dancing!}

IMG_5683

{my beautiful bridesmaids were so wonderful to have around me!}

Final Countdown

If I could, I would insert an audio clip here of Gob’s magician performance from arrested development, blasting “Final Countdown.” But I’m not tech savvy enough for that, lucky for you.

But it really is the final countdown – just five more days until the BIG day! But truly, what have we always heard? Married only makes you married. While I know that the actual act of getting married won’t really change much between Jonathan and I, it DOES change something big in our lives. It’s a new level of committment. It means that if one of us says something stupid, we don’t face a break up. It means when one of us accomplishes something incredible, we’ll have a partner to celebrate with. It means committment, through thick and thin and every bit of it.

I don’t know yet what it will be like to be a wife. I know there will be ups and downs, of course, but my wish for each of us, as spouses, is that we can continue to focus on the great attributes of the other. When the daily grind gets going, it can be easy to say “stop doing that” or “could you not” or “why do you always” instead of saying “I love you because” or “I love when” or “you are so {insert positive characteristic here}.” I have prayed a lot about this – how do I give and receive criticisms and compliments? I believe this simple concept will help to really make our day-to-day lives special. Not to sound like a naive-almost-newly-wed, but I am ready to really dive into this marriage full throttle and see what I can learn!

Married people? Any advice?

Distance Marriage Preparation

We are less than a month away from the big day, but really I am just so thrilled to become a wife to my love. Being away from him and from Nashville in these last few weeks is, admittedly, tough. Yes, there are wedding details to finish, but more than that, I feel like it’s that much more challenging to continue to build our relationship towards our marriage in these final weeks of pre-wedding bliss stress. Not impossible, by any means, but definitely challenging.

IMG_0735

As we go through this major shift in our relationship, I have to admit I take some comfort in the little projects and goals I have set between now and the wedding. While I’m still new to Columbus, it’s comfortable to sit on the floor and cut burlap. Maybe not physically, but at least emotionally.

It’s comfortable to say hi – how was your day – I miss you – goodnight instead of continuing to have those deeper conversations that have made us tick from day one. I’m feeling our love grow stronger as we figure out, together, how to process these big changes. We know we have to challenge these comforts – to transcend them and incorporate them into our soon-to-be marriage.

I know that so many people go through incredible distances and so many challenges throughout their marriages that are much, much greater than our current discomfort. Regardless, I wanted to share these thoughts with you in hopes it might encourage you to push pass your comforts today in an attempt to embrace something a little bigger…even if it’s a little scary!