I have been married for one whole year to this beautiful man as of last Monday! What an exciting and busy year it has been. New home, new state, new job, new church, new work, new friends. As you can imagine, it has been a challenging time – but we’ve also learnt a lot.
To celebrate we booked a weekend in Maleny Bramasole, a beautiful old Queenslander home. Due to the rain, the owners, Gail and Dennis, said we had better book another weekend. Reis and I were dying to get away so we told her we would be happy to come despite some power points not working. We arrived and it was raining outside but so lovely inside! It was spacious, had three bedrooms (unlike other bed and breakfasts – you don’t have to share the other rooms – it’s ALL yours!), a self-contained kitchen and a bathroom with a big spa bath. Magazines and books are scattered around the home for your enjoyment and I rather enjoyed Gail’s taste in Magazines, namely Country Style.
A warm candle-lit bath was first on our agenda, which was lucky because within a few hours of us arriving we were without water and electricity. This was a blessing in disguise. There were no laptops and shortly after no phones to distract us and we had of plenty of time to mull over our first year of marriage. We each listed five things we had learnt since being married. Here’s our list and I hope it helps some of you:
5 things I’ve learnt since being married:
1. You don’t have to have a perfectly tidy and structured home to make people feel welcome. People feel more welcomed when you are relaxed, they come to your home to spend time with you not inspect the cleanliness of your home. I think it is nice to have a tidy home but not to the extent that it makes you too tired to enjoy the time you have with friends.
2. How to pack an overnight bag incredibly quickly. For example, Reis says to me, “it’s 10pm and we’re driving to Canungra, an hour and a half away, and you will have to drive back to Brisbane at 6.30am to be back for work at 9am.” You should never trust the army’s said timings and always be flexible in your expectations.
3. You can choose to be joyful. Many times last year I found myself balling my eyes out on the floor – even though Reis had been wonderful to me. It was an emotional rollercoaster which most army wives can relate to. Despite this, I have learnt through God I have the power to be joyful. In terms of practical implications, picking yourself up off the floor and taking a break from the scenery around you really helps. Go have dinner together, go for a walk or have a coffee.
4. To be more confident in my appearances, Reis often tells me I am beautiful naturally and I’m happy to say I can get out the door in 5-10 minutes when I’m going to work. This is mostly due to embracing my natural curls – styling = wash and let drip dry!
5. Men and women have different ways of feeling loved. What brought this to light was a book called ‘Love and Respect’ by Emerson Eggerichs. It is based on the premise that men need to feel respected by their wives and women need to feel loved by their husbands. The way a person feels love, is usually the way they will give love. But if that isn’t the same for Reis as it is for me, then I may feel unloved – even though he may think he has been very loving. Men and women communicate differently. This difference explains the separate commandments in Ephesians 5:33 which says “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” It is not because women should love her husband any less, nor a man respect his wife any less. Rather it is addressing the areas that men and women struggle in. Women find it easier to communicate through love and men find it easier to communicate through respect. This bible verse is stressing the importance of both actions.
5 things Reis has learnt since being married:
1. I can’t fix everything; there are often scenarios where I don’t have the power to fix a situation, only God can.
2. Grace is always the better option. Grace is loving the other person even when you don’t want to.There is always the ability to show grace in conflict. Even if you feel like you’re right and your giving up the argument when you ‘own it’, grace is always the better option. For example, if Amy asked me to take the bins out, but I didn’t she has every right to get angry at me when the truck misses taking our garbage, or alternatively she could say ‘that’s okay, there’s always next week’. The differences between those responses can change your week.
3. It’s better to be late and happy than on time and stressed – It’s better not to get overly stressed about being on time. Attempting to be on time is important, but not worth doing if the consequences are that it ruins your experience.
4. Date nights are important – We found it so important to not let the ins and outs of life consume you – take time.
5.Be thankful! Focus on the positives in a situation.
I spent most of Saturday night and Sunday morning reading and Reis serenaded me on his guitar, while we sipped Red wine and ate chocolate.
By Sunday afternoon we were pretty over the roaring tornado and lack of water and power so we decided to come home. Our hosts were kind enough to allow us to come back free of charge another night to make up for the night we were going to miss.
We passed many trees like this on our way home and the Bruce highway was about 40cm away from flooding in some parts when we drove through. We wouldn’t have made it home had we stayed any later. We arrived home had electricity for about 30 minutes and then lost that for another 48 hours. More than 72 hours without electricity made for a very romantic candle lit weekend!