Last year, in the days before my wedding, I wrote about Deuteronomy 24:5: “When a man is newly wed, he shall not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.” Looking back I can say that sometimes I have brought my wife great joy while other times great pain. Overall, I have begun to discover the beauty of marriage and how my spouse is helping me become a saint, in the subtle and not so subtle ways.
Here’s my update of some of our successes and failures in our first year.
Relationship with God – This is an ongoing process where we continue to learn and grow through trial and error. On the positive side, we have been pretty faithful to saying a short prayer before I leave for work in the morning and at night before we go to bed. Other than that, our prayer has gone through different phases. We tried to pray Compline before bed on a consistent basis, but found that was not the best for us. We tried reading the Saint of the Day daily, but again that did not work. Currently, attending daily Mass together has been working for us. It means we both have to get up pretty early, but it is such a great blessing for us to receive Christ in the Eucharist together and pray for each other’s needs before the Blessed Sacrament.
Relationship with Other People – Our struggle here has not been so much other relationships taking us away from each other, but finding the right relationships to invest in. As recent college graduates, we have a deep hunger for authentic Catholic community, as we had experienced in college. Unfortunately, many of our college friends moved away and it has taken us some time to build new relationships with people that are centered on Christ. One blessing has been the opportunity to attend Taco Tuesday, a young adult gathering at a local parish. While it’s not the same as college, it has been excellent to have fellowship with like-minded single and married young adults who value their Catholic Faith.
Managing Extracurricular Activities – I had some struggles here but learned a lot. At one point, I was going to a home improvement class one night, playing soccer the next, and then competing in dodgeball the following day. My wife called me on this and told me that I was doing too much. After some period of reflection, I realized that she was right and dropped some of the home improvement classes to clear up my schedule.
Ongoing Dating – If we could get a gold star for one area, this would be it. From apple picking to the symphony, biking to flea markets, we consistently dated this year and made some great memories in the process.
As I look back on this year, my heart overflows with thankfulness to God for our vocation as husband and wife. Sure it has not been easy (just ask my wife). but we have learned much through the various trials and arguments. I am confident that we have been good stewards of the gift of time that God has given us together as a couple in the first year of marriage, so that one day we may be godly parents for our children.