Why the Second Year Should Be the Second Hardest

Last year, I wrote about why the first year of marriage is the hardest. I discussed how marriage is sacrifice, and how we need to lay down our independence in order to fully love our spouses.

I grew up with the idea that my husband will make all my problems disappear. Anyone who has been married past “I do” can tell you that marriage is very hard work! However, while Lenny doesn’t make all my problems go away, he makes it easier to face them. He has been a wonderful accountability partner, and in the midst of the challenge, we make it fun.

In our first year of marriage, Lenny and I did everything together. Everything was a new experience for us. Even though I had gone to the grocery store before, it was a new adventure altogether going with my husband for the first time! Whatever we did, we did with fresh eyes. From going on two family vacations, to spending the holidays together, to moving into a new apartment and starting new jobs, we had a lot of energizing moments that propelled our first year of marriage and made it interesting.

Our society loves to chase the new and exciting. We’ve learned during our second year of marriage that we can’t do that. Once the first anniversary comes and goes, life goes on. And, to be honest, life gets a little boring. Although we did have some excitement this year, like starting new jobs, going on vacation with my family, and moving into yet another apartment, for the most part, we’re settling into a routine. Lenny and I are now officially in the jobs that we’ll probably have for the rest of our lives.

Most of us have been trained to think about the next best thing. Literally, right after we got married, people already asked me when I was having children. Can we just agree to stop that? If you’re in the midst of that now, trust me, people eventually stop asking you! However, even when you attain that next milestone, the questions never stop. When are you going to get a house? When are you going to put your kids in school? When are you having a second, third, or fourth baby? What is your two-year-old going to study college?

Looking toward the next best thing is a form of escapism. If we don’t like our reality, we tend to focus on a fantasy future that will make our present a little more bearable. Since I’m used to that way of thinking, it is often tempting not to enjoy what God has given us now and focus on what we still need to attain. We find ourselves discontent that life has settled, because nothing new and exciting is happening. While I know this lull happens multiple times in marriage, the second year is the hardest because this is the first time we experience it.

During your first year of marriage, when everything is new, when you’re practically treated as celebrities, it is easy to be emotionally invested in your marriage. However, as life goes on, you have to fight to enjoy the mundane. Practice thankfulness each day. Vocalize your thankfulness to your spouse; show what you appreciate about him/her and about what is going on in your life. When you focus on the positive, the negative seems to fade away.

I believe we have made the most out of this season of settling. We have been intentional about demonstrating thankfulness for what God has given us in this season. Since God has made it clear that we are in this season until further notice, we’ve decided not to bring up certain milestones until we feel God’s peace. Until then, we’ve learned to vocalize our contentment, with our dreams for our future in the back of our heads. We have our goals written down and posted on our refrigerator. To me, that means we are aware of them, but they’re not our focus. In the midst of the waiting and the living, no matter what we endure together, Lenny and I have each other. And that’s what makes marriage an adventure.

Although, maybe it would be a little easier if we still had our wedding cake from two years ago!

Photo by Stephen Cook on Unsplash