Monday, August 4, 2014

Marriage Monday: A trip for two

Last weekend, Taylor and I went on a trip to San Antonio. We had two goals: to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and to take a step toward our dream of traveling together.

Taylor and I have both done quite a bit of traveling on our own, so I think we both assumed that adventuring out into the world as a team would be really easy for us. After all, we've been married for A WHOLE YEAR. Meaning we have this marriage thing on lock-down, we're certified relational experts, and we never-ever experience conflict. Except, wait...none of those things are true. Here's how that realization played out:


Day One went off without a hitch, minus the fact that I left a celebratory bottle of wine and two extremely necessary cups of coffee at our apartment. No big deal. We overcame these potentially argument-inducing obstacles with ease, and proceeded to the highway. Detours incurred were only of the fun variety—Czech Stop for kolaches (and replacement coffee), and a surprise visit to the Natural Bridge Caverns. After arriving in San Antonio, we prettied up a bit at our hotel and hit the Riverwalk for dinner. Love-and-marriage success!


And then came Day Two, when I was reminded why I always tell newly-engaged friends that "marriage reveals selfishness." Let's set the scene: San Antonio is experiencing record-breaking heat waves. I open up my bag in the morning and realize that I left every single pair of shorts I own at home (and that obviously I'm not as adept at late-night packing as I previously imagined). I am forced to wear black workout pants (which smell like the inside of a cave thanks to the activities of Day One), a workout tank, and tennis shoes. We proceed to the Alamo, where every other girl there is wearing a cute sundress and cute sandals and cute sunglasses. It's fine. 

Oh, yes. We "Remember the Alamo."

Post Alamo, Taylor suggests that we rent city bikes and visit the rest of the "nearby" missions. He graciously asks if I would like to do this. I pause for a long moment, because I am not good at biking, I am hungry, and I am already feeling the heat...but ultimately I give the plan the go-ahead, because 1. I can tell that he really wants to go, and 2. I think that there is potential in the plan for a few cute Instagrams (see this post for details).

Noticeably, there are no pictures of me at the missions. Why? Read on.
Long story short, my attitude plummeted from agreeable to tolerable to every-word-out-of-my-mouth-is-a-complaint in about 10 minutes. The "short" bike ride was actually 18 (hilly) miles in its entirety, and by the time we arrived at the first mission, my arms were sunburned from the tops of my shoulders to the backs of my hands. Naturally, I made sure to call out frequent updates about the status of my burn, the severity of my thirst, the fact that I had almost crashed into the river, and the searing pain in my calves to Taylor at least every five minutes. Surprise! We ended our bike ride early...and proceeded to enter into a pretty decently sized fight.

Conflict inevitably happens in every relationship, whether it's a romantic relationship or even a friendship. But in marriage, you don't just get to agree to disagree...or run away to your hotel room and pout. You commit to work it out, to dig to the bottom, to see through the other person's eyes, and to understand. And so in that moment—the one where we were supposed to be having fun, but seriously considering high-tailing it back to Dallas—we learned something(s).

He likes to jam-pack his travel schedule.
I like to move at a slower pace.
He likes to do action-oriented activities that require sturdy travel clothes.
I like to find the most authentic cafes and boutiques in town...and look "cute" while doing it.
He can go all day without eating.

These aren't travel-together deal breakers by any means. They're just differences and preferences that, even after one year of marriage, we didn't know existed.


Learning the aforementioned lesson made Day Three a lot more balanced. We woke up, walked to a nearby Mercado, and enjoyed a breakfast of Mexican pastries and coffee. Afterward, we packed our bags and finished out our mission tour...only this time, by car. On the drive home, we stopped by the San Marcos outlets—his request—and made time for a burgers-and-shakes lunch at a local hole-in-the-wall I spotted while driving down the highway.

. . .

About a month after our wedding, a recently-engaged friend called and asked for my best marriage advice. Although I threw out an "I've only been married for a few weeks"-disclaimer, I still happily shared a few insights, feeling for about five minutes like I might have really figured a few things out.

If I'd really nailed down the whole marriage thing during month one, I'd be an expert (and probably a certified counselor) by now. But here's the truth—like all things that are holy and God-ordained and good, marriage is continually revealing the cracks in me. I hear that this is called sanctification, and although it's painful (and even embarrassing) to come face-to-face with my own shortcomings on a regular basis, it is such a good, good thing.

Missions, Round Two: Success!
These are just a few of the things I've learned during year one of our Hitched in a Hurry marriage:

Compromise. Teamwork. Laughing at mistakes. Asking for forgiveness. Saying, "I'm sorry." Saying, "I'm sorry" again. Accepting apologies. Moving past conflict. Choosing to have fun. Thinking of your spouse. Loving them through the pretty and the not-so-pretty moments. Chipping away at selfishness. Giving. Growing. Forgetting about how things are "supposed" to happen. Throwing plans out the window. Refusing to walk away. Standing in awe of the Father's goodness. Feeling humbled and blessed beyond measure at the gift of doing life with your best friend. Seeking and following and becoming more like Jesus, both as individuals and as a unit.

So thanks for the memories, San Antonio, and happy Marriage Monday, y'all. I hope you'll be encouraged by this new blog series!

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