Nitty Gritty Love

3 Lessons Learned from My First Year of Marriage

By: Tayler Beede

When Kyle and I got married, I knew that we were embarking on a wonderful, challenging, and rewarding journey, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. I’ve learned a lot this year; mostly the hard way. Here are the three most important lessons I learned during our first year:

1. Failure can be good

I did, and still do know one thing: I know very little about being married. I fall flat on my face and make mistakes constantly. I am no expert. I fail Kyle all the time. Sometimes I think before I speak, sometimes I’m snappy at him for no reason, and sometimes I make the wrong choices before praying about them. I wish I could say that I’m the best wife I can be, but that’s not ever going to happen. It’s a constant learning process and I’m thankful that in those times of failure I can fall back on God’s grace, ask for forgiveness, and keep trying. After all, it’s the trying that matters, not just the successes.

2. Fights can be good

I always hoped that we wouldn’t fight much. I thought not fighting meant we were doing just fine. And then we had our first few “bad days.” The ones when we’re just not in sync, the tiniest things make me mad, and everything turns into an argument. And those days resulted in some of the best discussions about how we should communicate with each other. Those were the days I was able to be honest with my husband about how certain things he said were hurtful, even if he didn’t mean them to be. I found that we usually came out stronger on the other end of fights.

3. Forgiveness is always good

Yes, good can come out of us failing and fighting, but only when forgiveness is involved. God bestows his wonderful grace and forgiveness upon us, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do the same for Kyle. There’s no reason he should have to beg or fight for my love and forgiveness. After all, there have been and will be many more instances in which I will need forgiveness from Kyle. And I’ve learned that forgiveness shouldn’t only be given when it’s asked for. That’s not how Christ treats us, and it’s not how I should treat others—especially my husband. Forgive. Move on. Keep loving, and keep trying. 

In a world of sharing—status updates, tweets, pictures, videos—we often see the best side of people, including their marriages. It’s important to remember that marriage wasn’t designed to be rainbows and sunshine. It was designed to make us more like Christ. That requires a lot of hard work.

This article was originally published over at Nitty Gritty Love.

3 Reasons It's Beneficial to Struggle In Marriage

By: Michelle Lindsey

Most of us have probably said, “If I only knew then what I know now.” Oh, the heartache we could save ourselves if this were possible. Mistakes could be undone, friction avoided, and better decisions made. If we could effortlessly sail through marriage, with wisdom and knowledge set in place from the very start, we could be much happier and less tired out. I often feel foolish that I write about marriage almost every day, and yet my marriage is nowhere near perfect.

Here are three reasons why being nowhere near perfect is perfectly okay (and good!):

1. The process is beneficial

Recently, I told our marriage counselor about my dilemma of writing about marriage, yet not having a perfect marriage. He gave me such a great answer. He explained that a baseball player who can just naturally hit the ball over the fence, can’t easily help others learn how to bat well. It’s the guys who have practiced for hours on end, watched training videos, and have listened to their coaches, who can really help someone go through the process of one day hitting a home run. I have thought of that analogy many times since then, and it helps me to remember that the process of working through a marriage is beneficial, and might even minister to others.

2. It evokes community

We aren’t supposed to be walking this life all alone. It’s difficult to struggle in marriage and also feel isolated, isn’t it? Fellowship is part of the journey. Praying together, confessing sin, encouraging each other, and staying accountable helps not only individuals—but also marriages. It’s a beautiful picture of grace when Christians help each other though trying times. It can make very difficult situations a little easier to bear, if we are bearing burdens together. Just knowing that somebody cares can make all the difference in someone’s life. We are the body of Christ, so we need to function as a community, and be there for each other. God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves—so reach out! And when someone reaches out to you, respond with kindness and compassion.

3. The Gospel is brought to life

We all fall short. Christians are not supposed to act or be perfect. Somehow this has been decided that if you are a Christian, and you fail, then that means you are a hypocrite. No, it means you are a sinner, who sins, and desperately needs a Savior. It means that when we mess up, we run right to Jesus, because He is the only one who can manage the sin in our heart. We can’t force it out, or make ourselves more holy. If we are trying to simply “Do good,” then we are being moralists, and not living the gospel. Rather than being religious and prideful,  instead we should admit our flaws, believe that Jesus died in our place, and humbly accept the free gift of grace. When we view each other in light of the gospel, it’s easier to forgive and love. It reminds we do not transform ourselves, but only God has the power to do that work in our lives. It’s what God has done to reconcile us to Him. It frees us from shame and points us to the cross. The gospel is what we need each and every day as we walk out our marriages.

So next time you’re experiencing tremendous struggles in your marriage, remember that it’s not pointless. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because God is still at work.

This post was originally published over at Nitty Gritty Love. 

About Nitty Gritty Love

Nitty Gritty Love is a real-life, no-fluff, down-to-earth marriage blog from the perspective mother-daughter duo Tayler Beede (21-year-old wife) and Michelle Lindsey (wife of 23 years). At Nitty Gritty Love, we get down to the nit and grit that is marriage. We’re not here to feed you fluff, or pretend that we have perfect marriages. Because the truth is, marriage isn’t easy in the least. It requires a infinite amount of grace, forgiveness, and giving up of pride. But even amongst the arguments and trials, marriage is one of life’s greatest blessings. That's why our goal is to help you fight for your marriage!  To learn more, you can also connect with us on our blogFacebook and Twitter.