Marriage: Year One

by ellis j. still

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I have never had as much fun as I am having with my wife. When my wife and I met, it was as if we were best friends since grade school. It felt natural, and we were patient (at the bequest of our pastor). Being happily married is all about figuring things out… it’s not like we have been married before, and so every day brings about a new set of challenges. The following are some of the things that we have learned during the first year:

1.) Ignore people: We learned to not listen to people when they say the joy and happiness within our marriage will not last, and that it will be reduced to mundane and lifeless. Many people have developed a skeptic attitude towards their marriage (and marriage in general), and will seek to speak negative “wisdom” into your marriage because either their vision of marriage is not where it ought to be, or they did not put the work in to take/keep their marriage to the next level.

2.) Date night: Tina and I met on August 24, 0000 at a mutual church friend’s birthday gathering. That was a special day for us, so we set aside the 24th of every month as date night – ‘us’ night.

3.) LOL (Laugh Out Loud): We laugh a lot. We generally do not crack jokes against one another (although I may slide one in there from time to time), yet we somehow seem to find ways to laugh. It comes natural to us. Even when we are confronted with life situations, somewhere in there is a reason to laugh. We have been known to laugh into the early hours of morning, knowing full well that we have work in the morning.

4.) We do things together: It is a rare occasion where you see one of us without the other. In fact we now have a nickname in the singular – “Tinellis”, short for Tina and Ellis, which was given to us by Tina’s big sister. We have also developed hobbies together, through local and regional stage theatre.

5.) Figuring out our love languages: With me it’s the Philadelphia Eagles. With Tina it’s New York Giants. With me it’s action (common among guys). With Tina it’s discussion (common among women – that’s what Tina said). With me it’s ensuring that Tina is safe personally. With Tina it’s making sure there are people around me to ensure I’m safe. With me it’s working on the business. With Tina it’s snuggling on the couch. With me it’s eating dinner. With Tina it’s cooking dinner. With me it’s cheese steaks from Wadsworth Pizza in Philadelphia, PA. With Tina it’s Dicky Dee’s deep-fried Italian hot dogs in Newark NJ. When she has a challenging day at work, she has a certain demeanor and look on her face, so know I need to focus on her and be prepared to listen. When I have a challenging day at work, Tina says I kind of mope around and she has to coax it out of me. With me it’s Ephesians 11:1-2. With Tina it’s 1 Cor 13:4-7. This list just touches the surface. These are the things that we acknowledged to each other that make us unique as individuals, so that we may be mindful of each other’s thoughts and feelings. When you marry, two people becomes one, yet there are two entirely different sets of life experiences and traits that have to be accounted for that comes with us as individuals. Every day we are still learning new things about each other, which makes life interesting, fun, and different than the day before.

© 2009, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved