Since getting married and moving to the middle of the ocean two years ago, our lives have looked something like this: 9 job changes for me, buying our first condo and completely gutting + renovating it while residing in it (still a work in progress), one stress-induced seizure, 12 house guests, a few unfortunate burned bridges, 4 trips back to the mainland, a couple of racked up credit cards that have since been chipped away at, 3 hurricane warnings, selling our beloved Jeep, adventures and jumping off waterfalls, planting a garden that we can’t keep alive, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Despite life’s inevitable messy speed bumps, we have been showered with God’s grace, provision, and blessing after blessing. And the one thing I have to say for it all? We are so grateful our outside circumstances never got the best of our marriage. Because people like to say scary things, like your first year of marriage is going to be the worst, and “just wait”. All we can attribute our strong relationship to is our faith in God, and the work of the Holy Spirit that has been alive and well in our relationship since day one. And also, I’d like to give a shout out to my incredibly patient, humble, and understanding husband, who has put out more fires with his patience than he’ll ever admit, which has saved us from numerous ugly fights. (Cha-ching! Deposit in the love bank!)
So without further ado, here are 24 lessons + life hacks brought to you by newlyweds who still feel like they’re 12 year old kids trying to navigate life.
- Take the risk and buy the fixer upper. You may not have bathroom doors up for a while, but this can grow your intimacy very quickly and bring you closer than you ever imagined.
2. Buy her flowers. Pick up a six pack. Watch the big game. Treat each other to what you know will make their day.
3. It’s better to get 2 hours of sleep hashing it out instead of going to bed upset.
4. Anything can be accomplished with YouTube and a “never give up” attitude. (Even hanging your own drywall.)
5. God always provides. Always. Like the time a 100 dollar bill blew into the backyard.
6. Prayer changes things.
7. Island fever is best cured with ice cream.
8. Re-watching your wedding video never gets old.
9. Moving boxes make excellent makeshift nightstands.
10. Warning: newlyweds may come with extreme over-consumption of frozen pizza.
11. No job is ever worth the stress, tears, or misery. Live on rice and beans and find something different.
12. A hug and a cup of coffee are the best ways to start off each morning.
13. It’s always worth it to splurge on friends.
14. Never take for granted weekends off together, even if they’re spent running errands and doing laundry. Sometimes, those are the sweetest moments.
15. Write each other love notes and hide them in unexpected places, like the silverware drawer or in their wallet.
16. Getting married doesn’t cure your restless soul syndrome, but ice cream comes pretty close.
17. Budget hack: Use the bathroom sink box and a Lowe’s bucket instead of buying a desk and chair.
18. Hold hands. Hold hands when you’re sitting, sleeping, driving, walking, watching movies, in church, reading, eating, shopping; just do it.
19. Decide who’s going to kill the bugs and never look back.
20. Invest in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and change your lives forever.
21. Join a Bible study. Join multiple Bible studies. Get involved and stay involved. Accountability is everything.
22. You can never say “I love you” enough.
23. Over-communicate to avoid silly miscommunications. And be honest about what it is you really want!
24. Tell each other what you love about each other regularly, and share what your favorite parts about being married are.
Bonus: Take walks together. This is our favorite time to have life talks, dream big dreams, debrief from our day, and just be together.
Bottom line: All you need is love. …Even when you’re driving down a volcano with burned out brakes or you forget to pay HOA for 5 months. Wait, what? I guess those are stories for another time.