By: Renee Clune
My first wedding anniversary is fast approaching. That means my husband and I will be defrosting the freezer-burnt brownies from our wedding reception and popping open a delicious bottle of wine from our honeymoon. With our first anniversary near, it also means I’ve been reflecting on our relationship and marriage in general.
The first year was full of growth and new experiences. The highlights included moving in together, taking couples dance lessons, and traveling to different states and countries. Though these adventurous experiences were great, the everyday moments have taught me more. Possibly, the most important lesson in the last year has been this: marriage is about choice.
We all make choices. Some say it’s upwards of 35,000 every day! These choices shape us, and they do the same to our spouse.
When my husband exclaims good morning early in the day, I have the option of smiling and responding cheerfully or grumbling in annoyance. When he takes a few extra minutes to pack my lunch, I can show generosity or complain because he made my sandwich wrong. When he asks a question, I can offer a loving answer or a condescending one. These choices either bring me closer to my spouse or push me away from him.
If I want a fulfilling and joyous marriage, I need to consider my husband’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions in the choices I make, whether they be big or small. I need to lay down my selfish tendencies and remind him that I care through my words and actions. Easier said than done, of course.
I can recall many choices made over the past year where I didn’t consider my spouse at all, and he would probably say the same. These times were met with forgiveness and an increased desire to be better because that’s what we promised in our wedding vows. Looking back, I wouldn’t say our first year of marriage was easy but I’ve learned along the way. And, as I head into the second year with my spouse, I’m telling myself this: I can’t control my husband’s actions, but I can choose how I respond to them.