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July 3rd, 2024 marks my husband Ben and I’s first year of marriage. Most people look forward to celebrating fireworks on the 4th, but the fireworks in our hearts began just a day earlier.

Ben and I dated for just over five years before we got married. In some ways, marriage has been exactly what I thought it would be. My husband is still the same person I married. Things that annoyed me dating still annoy me now. But I love the things I loved about him dating even more now. I’m sure he could say the same about me. 
In other veins, marriage has not been what I expected or anticipated. Most days, I find myself thinking, “How in the world do my Mom and Grandma manage everything they do?” More often than not, I end my days pondering, “How will I ever get it all done with so much to do?” 

While marriage has been a blend of what I’ve thought it would and wouldn’t be, I can say with certainty that it’s worth it. Every ounce of pain, tears, and conflict we’ve faced has been countered by immeasurable joy, love, and resolution. As our former Pastor quoted in his charge to us the day we got married: 

“Marriage is a gift of God, given to comfort the sorrows of life and magnify the joys. Marriage is the clasping of hands, the blending of hearts, the union of two lives as one. Your marriage must stand on more than a piece of paper. It must stand in the strength of your love and by the power of your faith in one another and in God.”

At the end of the charge, our Pastor encouraged us to embrace three covenants of marriage: faith, hope, and love. Just as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, the same charge should be applied to us today. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV).

As I reminisce over the the last year, and the lessons I’ve learned as a new wife, I’ve reflected on three things I’d like to share with you. Whether you’re married, dating, single, or looking to grow in your faith, I hope these truths can serve as a source of encouragement and strength.