I won't lie. I saw the short stack of dishes sitting in the sink as I was walking out the door, and I ignored them. I was running late and I just couldn't be bothered to put them in the dishwasher. Ugh, I'll get to those later, I thought as I hurried to my car. I spent that night watching my best friend give the performance of a lifetime on stage, celebrating with the cast from the show and sleeping on her dorm room floor. When I got up the next morning, I drove across town to spend time with another of my closest friends. Her lingerie shower and bachelorette party were that night. After spending the evening and a good portion of the next morning painting the town red with Ashley and her bridesmaids, I (again) found myself sleeping on the floor. Fast forward to the next day. I dragged my exhausted self off of the floor, sprinted through the rain to my car and somehow managed to make it home without falling asleep at the wheel. When I opened the door, all I wanted to do was collapse face first into my bed. That's when I saw it. My short stack of dishes had morphed into a leaning tower of dishes that extended onto the kitchen counter... and I lost it. I slammed my purse onto the dining room table with a disgruntled, "You've got to be kidding me!" and I angrily stepped up to the sink. There were my dishes, buried two days deep underneath my husband's dirty dishes. I can't tell you how many angry words flooded my brain. What, he can't do his own dishes? What am I, his maid?! Is that how little he respects me?
And then, a firm but quiet voice broke through the white hot indignation in my spirit. They're just dishes. I sank down on the floor, stunned by the simplicity of that realization. The dishes weren't mocking me. They weren't an example of some deeply rooted problem in my brand new marriage. They didn't make a statement about my husband or about the quality of my life. Contrary to popular daytime talk show logic (sorry Doctor Phil), they were just dishes, and they needed to be cleaned and put away. I stood up, rolled up my sleeves, and began to scrub the dishes.
Marriage is hard- not just because it's a big change or even because it's a big commitment. Marriage is hard because living with another person often forces us to come face to face with our own shortcomings. It's hard because our attempts at loving our spouses often fall short of our intentions, and we realize that building a lifestyle on what we feel is not as simple as the fairytales we grew up with would have us believe. After months of thoughtful consideration and intentional prayer, I've decided to begin a segment on my blog that I'm calling "Surviving Life as a Newlywed." Why? Because there are hundreds of amazing blogs out there for brides that share ways to plan for your perfect wedding and far too few that communicate ways to navigate newly married life.
I'm not a psychologist or a therapist or any other kind of "-ist" that can explain your problems away. I'm just a newlywed who loves her husband more than she knows how to express and who believes that honesty and openness help connect people and make us more capable of succeeding in our difficult journeys. I'm not here to advise. I'm here to share that while my husband and my marriage have brought me more joy, hope and fullness than I ever could have imagined (and it's my sincere hope that yours does as well), it's not easy. And that's OK. Because if my husband is a leaning tower of dirty dishes left in the sink, I'm a cluttered and variable assortment of mail, shoes, bags, scarves, jackets and keys left precisely in the wrong place all over our home. We are a perfect imperfect pair, and we love each other. So we push through the hard days, forgive each other for the bad days, and embrace the good days with the kind of joyful abandon that only true love can bring.