Newlywed Confessions

Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.
— Jane Austen in a letter to her sister
photo by Jer Nelsen  Awkward/uncomfortable face by Maggie

photo by Jer Nelsen 
Awkward/uncomfortable face by Maggie

She loves him, he loves her. He asked, I said YES!

I married, like, my BEST friend.

#collegesweethearts #youngandinlove #heputaringonit  (#snarkyhashtags)


Sappy, sappy, love, love.

That's what you were expecting, right? I mean, we're newlyweds who started a BLOG, and isn't blogging all about stirring envy in the hearts of all who happen upon your page? 

Not here. I couldn't give you that if I wanted to. 

With the ever-ominous V-Day approaching, I thought it necessary to post some honesty about this thing called love. Ours is zealous and deep-rooted, yet messy and broken and dorky. But who likes perfection, anyway?

do love Kyle. And he does love me. Although, most days, I know I don't deserve it. I'm exceedingly stubborn and (admittedly) high-strung. Kyle is molasses. I hurry him along to take out the trash right now (or dispose of our Christmas tree before July), and he ties his shoes a bit more slowly with every tap of my toes and twiddle of my thumbs.

He's the pull of the earth that reminds me I'm not the center of the universe. 

I contemplated using this post to give marriage advice, then remembered we've only been married for four months and I have no right to tell the handful of G&J readers how to find wedded bliss. Nor would I have any advice to offer. In fact, I should probably use this post to ask for advice. So, let me share 5 confessions about marriage:

1. We watch a lot of Netflix. Currently, Dawson's Creek is in our queue - a show that 8-year-old Maggie & Kyle weren't allowed to watch, so we're living on the edge. 

2. Everysinglenight, in the middle of the night, slumbering Kyle elbows me in the face. It never fails. The honeymooner phase of cuddling in bed has passed. Now, we cuddle for (approximately) 10 minutes, then, as I sense my mouth-breather hubby drifting off, I roll him over so I don't have to endure his blasts of air all night, every half-second. This is a reality romcoms don't depict.

3. We constantly freak out about being pregnant. (Even though we aren't.) During these nonsensical meltdowns, it's as if we convert into casually-dating 16-year-olds rather than married 23-year-olds with jobs. Please don't judge us. We're just not ready to be parents.

4. For the people who say they want to "live life" before settling down, live it. DO IT! Embrace where you are; don't wish it away. But know that, if you do settle down, there is still life to be lived. Kyle and I spend our free time dog-earing pages of The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada and The New York Times, 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe books, planning vacations that will take years to save for. And every weekend, we take little steps into discovering the nooks and crannies of our city. There are other places we'd like to live - Alexandria, VA, or Nashville, TN, or Seattle, WA - but we're learning to love here

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

I chant this almost daily, challenging myself to find contentment. Until recently, I thought of contentment as a wailing baby given a pacifier: temporary satisfaction. But that's not it at all. Contentment is a baby with a perpetually powdered bottom, in a milk coma, dreaming of pulling hair and throwing toys. It's a state of fulfillment. Unmitigated happiness. 

Find contentment. Try it on for size. 

5. Contrary to what Disney princesses, or Pinterest, or pop culture might lead you to believe, life isn't about finding that one person who makes you happy. As The Surpremes sing, you can't hurry love. You can, however, hurry a ring, a wedding, a "happily-ever-after." 

Don't misunderstand; I support marrying young, if that's your calling. But I also support marrying later in life, dating, and singleness. Because it's not who we're with that defines us. It's who we are - who we serve. 

I am grateful for my Gent. He's a piece of my calling. But becoming a Mrs. was not my life's destination, just a turn that will lead me there. Similar to dating. Similar to singleness. Similar to waiting. Life never goes as planned. If it did, I'd be an astronaut / pro volleyball player with a shoe contract / cattle farmer. Instead, I'm a Journaler with an English degree, working in football. Makes total sense. 

Next week, you'll be bombarded with images of red roses, chocolates in a heart-shaped box, and dinner reservations. While the world thinks of February 14th as a day of romantic expression, think of it as a day to express love in general, to people in general. 

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

{1 Corinthians 13 - The Message}

-Maggie (the journaler)