Since 2013 I’ve been writing a summation of lessons learned over the course of the year. My wife jokingly said that people were counting on it, so whether people read it or not I suppose it’s worth writing – so humor me and her and stick around for this year’s golden-nuggets of wisdom.
First off – I should probably be writing a book because you learn so much in the first year of marriage that it’s not even funny. I’ve learned more about myself in this last year than I ever have before. Previously, it seemed to take me years to learn varying lessons of maturity but when you get married, the necessity of growing up and becoming a man accelerates. It’s an incubator for growth.
In pop-culture and even in an episode of Glee that Allie and I watched last night, it seems to be “okay” to lie in marriage. In fact, it’s often encouraged as if it were the only way around certain things. After all, “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her” – until it does. What I’ve learned over this last year is that even lying by omission is lying. It’s been to own my mistakes, like the fact I went over budget that week rather than pretending like nothing happened. And the sooner I own up to my sin, past, shortcomings, and flaws, the sooner Allie forgives me and the sooner the Lord can work in my life to help me overcome these obstacles.
I’ve heard it said many times that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and it’s never rung truer than with budgeting and establishing a household together. Open communication about gender roles and expectations are a necessity to avoid the awkward tension of unexpressed expectations that lead to conflict. Often, a fight could be avoided altogether if we had simply taken the time to talk about our feelings in the moment rather than holding our feelings in and allowing time to pass and our hearts to begrudge one another. Thankfully, over the last few months we’ve learned the way to overcome this flaw is to call for occasional time-outs and admit that there is conflict/tension/disagreement and talk it out. Trying to avoid the elephant in the room never eliminates the elephant, no matter how badly we wish it would.
Speaking of elephants – how about sex! Yep, I went there. I cannot express the freedom there is being with my wife and knowing I’m loved wholeheartedly despite all of my brokenness. Unfortunately, the world’s view of sex is just so skewed. It’d probably take a whole other blog post or book to dispel all of the false doctrine my young mind encountered in college and as a young adult. But what I’ll tell you is this – there is a reason the Bible calls for sex to be something saved for marriage. Whether it be pornography, promiscuous “friendships” or “innocent” flirting, every aspect of your heart, soul, and body that you give to another prior to marriage will haunt you. And remember that honesty thing…it’s better to bare my soul to the beautiful woman that has chosen to stand by my side for the rest of her life than to attempt hiding the skeletons in the caverns of my heart. After all, there’s nothing more healing than the light, no love greater than an honest, warm, covered by the grace of God embrace from another that simply refuses to give up on you.
Along with getting married in 2017, I became Papa Meyer to our Puppy-Bear, Harvey. You’ve probably seen him light up social-media with his cute expressions and seen our frustrated posts about him destroying our property and creating stress in our home. Prior to Harverford (his legal name), I’d never known what it was like to own a dog. It’s interesting the bond you start to form with the young guy. I guess you could say that we’re pals now. But good Lord can he make me angry. I’m still getting the hang of being a puppy-daddy but Allie seems to think I’m doing a great job and that’s what matters.
Professionally, I’ve seen myself excel in a career in Sales. The key to my success has been refocusing on my relationship with God and trusting that He will provide. It’s ironic how when I’m not worried about the money, I perform exceptionally. And when I’m too focused on the numbers, I have a bad week because I’m trying too hard. It’s a constant battle between trying to be the best and remembering to find the right work-life balance. When we get to heaven, he’s not going to care how many cars I sold – he’s going to care about how many lives I embraced with his grace.
Last but not least I was meeting with my Men’s Group on Saturday morning at 7AM as I do nearly every week and I found myself giving this piece of advice to a brother in Christ in the room. “Pause, and love yourself.” Ironically, I think I’m the person that needs this advice the most. I’m an all-in or all-out kind of guy. In college, I was either getting an A or barely scraping by with a C. That sort of hot-and-cold perfectionism, emotionally charged intellectual has always been a yo-yo of existence and rarely do I find myself doing just that – pausing. Pausing to love, myself.
2017 taught me a lot. It taught me that one of the greatest things about marriage is losing yourself and finding someone else. Finding the man that you’d buried deep beneath the pain and hurt and insecurity and calling him out to be the husband for the beautiful bride. It taught me to take nothing for granted and that wealth must be earned. It taught me that God’s grace can overcome absolutely anything, even if I’m too scared to surrender it. And it’s taught me that true freedom is a truly surrendered heart to His will.
That’s all I have for now! Looking forward to all there is to learn in 2018.