I get the chance to meet some really special couples in my work as a wedding coordinator. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. One of those couples, Travis & Carissa, just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, and I would love for you to meet them! What I love about Carissa and Travis is how committed they are to one another and to starting their marriage in the right way.
I asked Carissa to share her thoughts with you about marriage lessons they have learned over this first year. They have some great wisdom for couples in any stage – about seeking counsel, communication, accepting change, and becoming a united husband and wife team.
Before you hear from Carissa, here is a brief version of their history so you can get to know them:
If I could share any one piece of “life” I’ve continuously experienced since my wedding day, it is that marriage is difficult in the most glorious way. The “why” behind the difficulty stems from any number of reasons depending on your specific circumstances… here is a little on why it is difficult for me, specifically.
Moving to Houston has been an extremely trying experience for me. I have moved from Michigan with no second thoughts, to Kentucky with no second thoughts, and even Texas with no second thoughts—but my experience so far being in Texas has personally caused me a great deal of discomfort and disconnect.
I have an amazing community back in Louisville, I know the city, I know the people, I have my “spots” and my rhythm there was in a very good place.
Houston has been tough. The people are just as amazing, the city is enormous, the culture vibrant and extremely fast-paced. Only, I’ve been a little “off” since moving here, and it’s a cause of tension in my life and sometimes our marriage.
Our challenge is that this is where we are, we’re here for a reason and one of those major reasons is that God has us away from our closest family and friends in this season to grow US together, to shake off all our habits and lifestyles and weld our lives together in the only intricate way God can. This time in Houston has given us a chance to find out who we are together with no familiar outside forces and to make us a unit of two, a making-decisions-together team. We both want the same things, and to be honest, they are not in Houston, but God is infinitely wiser and better than anything I can come up with, so we’re sticking with His plan and His time.
What sticks out to me is how aware I am of life changes after marriage… life changes will always happen, but our awareness to them isn’t always on high alert. When life changes happen in marriage, it happens to both of you and therefore, I believe, has a bigger impact. When I work late, for example, it doesn’t affect me, but also Trav. When a hear bad news from my family and shut everyone out, it affects Trav. You are not just thinking for yourself anymore, but for another person.
Trav and I had what some would call the “whirlwind” romance—we KNEW God intended us to be married and our perspective was, why wait? We knew we wanted to build a marriage and not a wedding, we knew we could get away with getting what we wanted out of a wedding and both of us didn’t really have grand plans for a “wedding” experience, we were more interested in the marriage experience. Of course, I sometimes think now that “if we had waited, then…” but it doesn’t matter. We’re married. We’re together. That is a choice we both made to each other and ultimately, to our Father.
You don’t know who you are marrying, I don’t say that to be frightful, but to be truthful. Trav and I have both changed after being married. I’m not the same girl I was almost a year ago, and Trav is not the same man. We’re more comfortable with each other and therefore we’re more human with each other. We see each other not with the awe and love struck eyes of blissful early romance. We know the others quirks and irritants and that means we have to work and pray everyday for a heart like Jesus to love and accept and treat the other with kindness.
Our biggest lesson so far has been to practice KINDNESS. For our 6 month anniversary, we were having such a communication rut, that we had an emergency marital counseling meeting with our pre-marital couple counselors and after an hour of spilling our frustrations, the couple stated, “I think a lot of your hurt will go away if you only practice kindness toward the other.” This. Was. Earth. Shattering. News. To. Us. It also gave us the freedom to release our tension of trying to be perfect and good for the other, and we stopped judging the other. To commemorate our 6 month mountain, I painted a sign with the word “KINDNESS” on it that sits above our fireplace to remind us everyday of what was so vital to us around our 6 month milestone and to continue practicing that.
Marriage is difficult. We’re attempting to live in perfect union with a Holy Father at the center with an imperfect partner in an imperfect world. There is tension and struggle and constant battles. Your marriage deserves prayer and kindness, not the silent treatment and bitterness.
I have to pray every day to accept myself, to accept Trav, to accept that Trav loves me for who I am, even though I’m not the same girl he married. I have to choose to be intentional with my marriage, I have to choose to be kind, I have to choose to put his needs before my own and this is a hard habit to form! I never knew that I was as selfish as I am!
A wedding is a beautiful memory. A marriage is a living, breathing life-long journey.
Focus your hearts on marriage and don’t be afraid of it being difficult. A Godly man is always worth it and our Father is always there to keep us in His embrace.
I love my husband with my whole heart and will do anything for this man. I choose to act out love and I am proud to be his wife, I am honored he chose me and I’m blessed that God picked us to share this experience of life together.
Thank you so much to Carissa for sharing, and to both of them for their examples of working together in their first year of marriage! I hope you have been encouraged by what they have learned and found some great reminders for whatever season your relationship is in.