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Lessons I Learned From My First Year of Marriage

By: Bethany Beal

The day went by in a blur. I tried my absolute best to enjoy every moment and soak up the day, but it went by so fast. Everything started and ended in what felt like such a short amount of time (thankfully the wedding was live-streamed so that I can go back and relive the ceremony anytime I want). 

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Looking back at photos from October 14, 2018, I so wish I could go back in time and relive each one of the moments.

I loved my wedding day. I loved getting married to David Beal. I loved our ceremony.

I loved our first hours together as husband and wife. 

The days, weeks, months, and now the entire year that followed my wedding day have truly been miraculous. God has been so gracious to David and me in blessing us with such a wonderful first year of marriage. I don’t mean wonderful in the sense that everything was “perfect.” I mean wonderful in the sense that Dav and I were both committed to loving each other with agape love (self-sacrificing) and made glorifying God the greatest goal of our marriage. 

To be honest, the first year was a lot better than I had anticipated. 

I thought it would be good, I married my best friend after all, but I didn’t know how sweet it could be. The more Christ is at the center of the marriage, the more satisfying and sweet it will be. 

Early on in our marriage, we adopted a few mindsets that truly set our marriage up for success. In talking with other older wiser married couples, I realized that these mindsets were/are crucial in helping David and I (and any other couple) maintain a joy-filled marriage. 

Marriage can be wonderful, or it can be really miserable. 

If you desire to set your current or future marriage up for success, I want to encourage you to begin working on these simple mindsets and habits right now. 

You don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to practice these. You can begin working on them with whoever is in your life right now. 

Two Simple Lessons I learned

1. Forgive Quick 

It’s that simple. Don’t hold onto things. Don’t stew in your hurt. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t get upset over every tiny thing that happens. Have a forgiving spirit. Choose to overlook the little things and forgive the big things quickly. 

Holding onto unforgiveness only creates a heart of resentment and bitterness. When you choose to love your spouse as Christ loves you (with an unconditional and all-forgiving love), you create a space where genuine love can flourish. 

This is an area I want to continue to grow in. I’m inviting you to join me on this journey. Let’s ask Christ to make us women who forgive quickly. Women who overlook the little things. Women who realize how much we’ve been forgiven and in return extend that forgiveness to our husbands. 

2. Believe the Best!  

This is SO much harder said than done. Believing the best in someone takes focus, intentionally, and choosing to do so. It doesn’t come naturally. This mindset and habit will take time. It’s a habit that is cultivated. 

I find myself regularly tempted to believe the best about myself and believe the worst about my husband. It sounds awful, but it’s so true. That’s my natural sinful tendency. I give myself the benefit of the doubt. I give myself a second chance. I extend grace to myself. 

My marriage is so much more enjoyable and satisfying when I choose to extend those same qualities to my husband. I know he has an amazing heart and I trust him so much that I married him! I just need to remember to extend him grace and love even when my mind pulls me in a selfish direction. 

Those are the lessons! 

Simple, practical and a lot harder to do in real life. I’m committed to working on these qualities and I want to invite you to join me. If you’re single, I promise you that cultivating these qualities in your own life will pay huge dividends once your married The godly character that you develop as a single will come with you once (if) you get married. 

Which qualities would you add to my simple list of lessons? 

Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you think would make for a great marriage? 

Bethany and David Beal

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