November 10, 2020
I’m not quite sure how it has already been a year since our wedding… It really just blows my mind how fast this first year of marriage has gone! I would do anything to be able to relive our wedding day. It was the most perfect day and we were surrounded by all of our closest friends and family. I’m really excited to share more about our actual wedding day on Thursday, along with all of my favorite photos from our wedding… But, today I wanted to share about how we prepared for our marriage before our wedding day and also what this first year of marriage has looked like for us!
I really hope to do some sort of post like this every year… I don’t do as many personal blog posts as I would like to but I’m hoping to change that in the future! In the first part of his blog, I really want to share some things that we did during our engagement that helped us learn more about each other and really set us up for a wonderful first year of marriage.
Five Love Languages
One book that I had read even before we got engaged was the “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It’s an incredible book, and I really think that everyone should read it! It doesn’t just help you with romantic relationships. It also helps you understand the love languages of really any relationship in your life. AJ and I both love reading and sometimes we even read books aloud together. Talking through this book helped us understand more about how the other person feels loved and appreciated.
AJ’s main love language is words of affirmation and quality time. Now that I know that’s about him, I know that words mean so much to him. And going out of my way to tell him something that I love about him or something that I am glad that he did for me will mean the world to him. On the flipside, my love language it’s definitely a combination of quality time, acts of service, and gifts. I used to think I was more of a gift person but now I think acts service means more to me. Knowing these things about each other has really helped us show appreciation to each other in a way that is meaningful and special!
10 Things I Wish I’d Know Before We Got Married
Another book that we read before we got married was “10 Things I Wish I’d Known before We Got Married”, also by Gary Chapman. This book actually came as a recommendation from our wedding officiant, who was one of my church pastors growing up. Both of these books by Gary Chapman are definitely not just one time reads. They are books that you’re probably gonna want to read over and over. There’s just so much wisdom packed into these short books.
Speaking of our wedding officiant, we met with him several times for premarital counseling. He guided us through the book that he chose for us and provided us with Christian-based counseling. I would highly recommend premarital counseling and not just one session – definitely multiple sessions with your officiant!
During our premarital counseling with him, we had some different topics come up that we wanted to dive into more and our officiant recommended scheduling an appointment with a licensed counselor. So, we basically ended up having two premarital counselors. We’re so thankful that we ended up doing counseling sessions with both of them, because we explored completely different topics with each person. It was the first experience with a counselor for both me and AJ so we didn’t really know what to expect. It was kind of nice to go in as a couple instead of alone. Since we have been married we have continued to see the counselor that was recommended by our officiant. We have met with her virtually a few times this year for various reasons and we love and appreciate her wisdom and insight so much! Going to a counselor is one of the best things that you could possibly do for your marriage!
Financial Peace University
Another thing that we did while we were engaged/married is we took the class Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. We actually took the class twice – once while we were engaged and once shortly after we got married. We took the class both times through a church local to us and really enjoyed it. Now we are Dave Ramsey fanatics and I will talk about it to literally anyone who will listen to me, haha! Not only did we take the class, but we also read Dave’s book, The Total Money Makeover, as well as listened to his radio show podcast. All of these resources are incredibly helpful.
We still listen to the podcast all the time. One of the biggest causes of divorce in America is money fights and money problems, We knew this going into our engagement and we wanted to make sure we were on the same page about finances and how we were going to handle our money before we got married. I would be lying if I said that we didn’t have heated discussions about money, especially at the beginning of the program. But now we are 100% on the same page and we have a plan for our money. We live on a monthly budget and it has been so helpful and so freeing. If anyone reading this has any questions or you want to know more about the program please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am always happy to share our experience and how following “The Baby Steps” has changed our life!!! This has all also brought us closer together because now we have a shared vision and shared goals for our future.
The First Year of Marriage
All of the things I’ve listed so far are things that we did during our engagement or during the early months in our marriage. I am so incredibly thankful that we read all of these books and came across all these resources. It truly set us up for the crazy year that 2020 has been. In the middle of March all the schools went to virtual learning. That meant that AJ taught from home for the last few months of the school year. Then, he was home all summer since he is a teacher, and he has even had some virtual days during this new school year. All of this has allowed us to spend more time in each other‘s company, which I’m so thankful for. I work at home anyway, so I am used to it! But having AJ sitting across the kitchen table from me every day during those times just puts a smile on my face thinking about it.
This year has been incredibly difficult, obviously… at the beginning of all the shut downs, I was really worried about my business. AJ was worried about teaching online. We have both been worried about the physical health as well as the mental health of everyone that we love. AJ and I laugh about how we take turns being emotional about things that are going on in the world. When one of us is down the other one comes to the rescue. We are alike in so many ways, but also different in so many ways. Our general outlooks on life are similar, but our perspectives and our personalities are so different! I’m thankful that AJ shares his perspective with me whenever the world feels so dark.
Even with all the crap that has happened this year, we’re able to look back on our anniversary and think about how much fun we’ve had this year as well. We have gotten to see some really good friends, both in person and virtually this year. I have done more video chats with my friends that live far away than I have before! We got outside a lot more this year. Together, we have taken lots of hikes, and even kayaked a few times over the summer! We take daily walks around our neighborhood. Both of us explored new hobbies and interests. And, we are making a lot of progress on the financial goals that we have. I am hoping to share more details about that toward the end of this year. A lot of GOOD things have happened this year, despite the chaotic mess that 2020 has been!
We are very excited to visit Savannah, Georgia soon to celebrate our first year of marriage. We also went to Savannah last year for our honeymoon and we loved it so much. AJ loves the rich history of cities like Savannah and I love the beautiful scenery in the delicious food. 😉 On Thursday I’ll be sharing my favorite photos from our wedding day! I can’t wait to share them with you!!! 🙂
Oh, and Happy Anniversary AJ!!!
See a recent engagement session we were able to go to together!