For eleven months, my husband would ask me if we could eat our anniversary cake. “No!” I protested. My play-it-by-the-rules attitude insisted that we must eat our anniversary cake on our anniversary. That’s what made it special, right?
On the drive home from our anniversary trip last week, we were so excited to finally be able to eat our anniversary cake. My husband joked that they gave us the wrong cake, or that the box was empty, but we both hoped that none of those were true. For most of our months of marriage, we’ve heard several horror stories of in-laws eating the wedding cake while the bride and groom were on their honeymoon. We were thankful that was not our story!
I began to realize that this was the last tangible piece of our wedding that we could grasp together. My dress is collecting dust in the closet. My husband returned his tux. The rest of the food had already decomposed in the trash (sorry for that graphic!). Even the honeymoon was a distant memory. This cake was the last tangible piece of the wedding that we can experience.
The last time we had this cake, we were madly in love. We ate the strawberry and buttercream without a single clue of what it would be like to spend the rest of our lives together. We had no idea what we were in for in the years to come.
This time, the cake tasted even sweeter, because we were able to eat it on the other side of the spectrum. We were able to eat the cake knowing that we were much closer, much stronger, and much more in love than we were the last time we ate it.
The lovely people who offer us unsolicited advice warned us that the first year of marriage is always the hardest. Some have even gone as far to say that the first year of marriage will either make or break your relationship. Hearing advice like this left me a little fearful of what the first twelve months of our journey together would hold. I wondered if every fight, every disagreement, every time I didn’t get my way, would make or break us.
Since my husband and I fought on the same side, we knew each conflict would only bring us closer together.
We’ve learned together that the first year of marriage is the hardest because it is the first year where we have to surrender. The rest of our marriage will continue to be surrender, but after surrendering our holiday traditions that were so familiar to us, after surrendering our own personal ways of budgeting, and after surrendering how we spend our quality time, we now have a rhythm for the rest of our lives together.
We know that surrender is still going to feel uncomfortable. We know that surrender is not always going to be cut and dry. We know that surrender is going to involve compromise from both of us. But since we’ve already surrendered to one another for a year, we know that we can continue to surrender daily for as long as we both shall live.
Biblically, this type of surrender is called submission. Ephesians 5:21 calls us to submit ourselves to one another. The marriage relationship is no different. We need to submit ourselves (our hopes, dreams, traditions, and beliefs) to one another in order to become one. Surrender helps us to connect.
Our society does not like surrender. Society teaches that we need to fight for our rights, to fight for our way, to never give up until we win. Surrender, however, is messy. Surrender tells us to fit a square peg in a round hole. But surrender causes us to give up our comfort for the sake of true satisfaction and true contentment.
I wanted to write a blog post about my wedding cake because I was amazed that it tasted so good. People had told us that the wedding cake usually tastes horrible by the first year. (But hey, here’s a shameless plug for those planning their wedding: strawberry apparently freezes really well!) I was so excited to be able to prove them wrong. I was so excited to share that our cake tasted just as delicious as it did one year ago. I was so excited to share what this cake symbolized: that we defied the odds of our society, that we defied the negative “advice” that we received, and that we not only survived our first year of marriage, but we thrived.
Are you thriving in your marriage? Maybe it’s time to surrender your expectations of the perfect marriage, your holiday traditions, your budget, and your time. But since I’ve been getting a lot of unsolicited advice since marriage, I’m going to offer you some: surrendering to your spouse is so much easier when you’re already fully surrendered to God. Jesus surrendered His life so that we could have a relationship with God. He calls us to give up our lives in return. Our surrender to our spouse is just a small reflection of our surrender to Christ. Ultimately, we must give God control of our lives and let Him remove the roughness of our edges so that we could connect deeply with our spouses.
This is an actual picture of a tier of our wedding cake. It tasted better than it looked!