Five Things I Wish I Told My Newlywed Self Five Years Ago

Five Things I Wish I Told My Newlywed Self Five Years Ago

In light of Valentine’s Day today I wanted to get a little more personal about my marriage.  Michael and I got married right outside of collage at the young age of 22.  It was the best decision I have ever made.  When I married Michael, all I could see was how perfect our marriage was going to be.  We would make dinner together every night, wine and dine on the weekends, and he was going to send roses to me all the time at work…..yeah right.  Any married person out there knows that all of the above are unrealistic expectations.  Our first year of marriage was T.O.U.G.H., but praise God for getting us through it!  Marriage is a learning experiences and each year we have gotten married, I can honestly say that it has gotten better each year.  I am going to share you five things I would have told my newlywed self [almost] 6 years ago.  

1. Leave and Cleave

Leave the old, and cleave onto the new.  I learned this mostly in our first year of marriage.  I grew up with a close family.  We did everything together. We ate dinners every night at the dinner table as a family, we went to church together as a family, and we even took family pictures together as a family. Michael and I made the decision to move to his hometown in Chicago during our first year of marriage.Even though I loved always finding something to do in the city,  I missed the days that I could just pop by my parents on the fly.  It was very challenging to put my comfort in Michael instead of my family.  I remember my our first Christmas away from my family I tried to recreate our family breakfast and it was a disaster.  I burnt the eggs, our Christmas tree was as big as our tiny apartment, and I spilled pancake batter everywhere…twice.  

Long story short, my husband saw that I was not comforted by just him and that hurt him. Husbands love to feel that they are the source of comfort and security for their wives.  It also is a sign of respect to them as well.  Once I learned that, it changed our dynamic.  We started to be each other’s “family” to each other.  It is a bittersweet feeling to leave the family you grew up with and cleave to a new person, but it was worth it.

2. Travel Together – ALONE


My husband has never been the big traveler.  He loves to explorer, but he hates going to the same place and not actually doing something active.  He also is hugely afraid of flying. I, on the other hand, could travel every other week and be completely ok with that.  I am always counting down to my next trip.  Whenever I am debating on spending money I always tell myself that I am using up plane ticket money. Haha.  

We went on many trips with family our first two years of marriage.  Probably about 3-4 times a year.  Traveling with family is great, but it isn’t the same as spending one on one time together.  You can get one on one time at home, but let’s be honest – that rarely happens.  After two years of being married, we decided to take a week long trip to Florida, just the two of us. This was an amazing trip.  We learned to travel together, to go out to eat together and not have to worry about being somewhere by a specific time.  It was good for us.  We found out what our interests were and how to carry on deeper conversations.  When you travel alone together you see and learn of a different side about your spouse and what they like to do in their free time when there is no distractions.    When you are on vacation you like to do what you love so I got to see more of what Michael likes to do for fun and his hobbies.  Most of the time at home we don’t truly take the time to do our hobbies because life gets in the way.  Vacation time is the best time to figure this out.  Below are a couple of pictures from the Florida trip we took. 

We now take multiple trips a year.  I am not saying extravagant trips for a week.  We have only taken one other trip since then that has been longer than a weekend this past June for our 5th anniversary.  The trips we took were weekend trips where we stay in a $50 a night hotels, hiking in the woods, trying out fun cafes and restaurants, having meaningful conversations while we were on the road together,  and simply doing life together. I encourage you before the end of the month to plan a trip with your spouse, even if it’s for a weekend.  


3. Find a hobby that you BOTH can do together

I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a hobby that you BOTH can do together.   If you know Michael and I, we are very similar, yet very opposite people.  We both enjoy the outdoors, being active, pizza, and ice cream. However, I love blogging and he loves hunting and smoking meat (very manly haha).

Devil’s Kitchen, Colorado National Monument

While supporting each other’s hobbies and interests are VERY important in a marriage, it is not realistic to expect the other person to jump on board with you on your interest in hobby 24/7. We both take the time to support each other’s interests. However; it is okay to not like your spouse’s hobby. But it is very important to find something that you both can equally enjoy doing together. This can be cooking, going out to eat, movies, DIY project, etc.

Chimney Tops // Gatlinburg, TN

It took us a while to find that hobby /interest.   It wasn’t until a small trip to a state park changed that when we both fell in love with hiking.  Since then, we know how to spend our weekends. We have driven to Tennessee many times to go hiking and we recently did a trip to Colorado/Utah where we visiting many national parks.  Hiking is our space to reconnect, to talk with no distractions, and to glorify God’s wonderful creation. The best part is that it’s inexpensive and you get a good workout while doing it.  What also comes from hiking is the stories and pictures that follow.  We will sometimes spend evening looking at old videos from our hikes or planning our next dream trip! If you and your spouse are looking for a good hobby to do together, HIKE!

Sharp Top, Blue Ridge Mountains,  VA
The Delicate Arch // Arches National Park, UTAH
Emerald Lake // Estes Park, CO
Devil’s Kitchen // Colorado National Monument
Trail Ridge Road // Rocky Mountain National Park
Ramsey Cascades // Gatlinburg, TN
PicfxFile 62
Rainbow Falls// Gatlinburg, TN

4. Spend time away from each other (AKA have girl time and bro time )

This directly goes against what I just said in my previous thought.  Yes, Michael and I do prioritize spending time together doing something that we love, BUT it is very crucial to spend time with others outside of your relationship. (AKA girl time and bro time).  Every couple falls into the trap of being consumed by each other as some point in their relationship (even if it’s for a day haha).  When I first got married I felt so guilty to make plans without Michael.  However, when it came to talking about the Bachelor or shopping – Michael didn’t exactly know what to say in those conversations. I also didn’t have much to attribute to hunting. We didn’t start actively spending time each week with other people until our 4th year of marriage!  I can’t believe it took us that long. You will not always enjoy each other’s hobbies and that is ok.  Some things were just meant to do with the same-sex. Spending time with our girlfriends or bros keeps us sane.  I mean I love spending time with Michael, but we both can say at times we need our girl time and guy time.

5. Pray Together

It’s like the saying goes: “Couples that pray together, stay together”.  This is something that Michael and I started doing recently.  I cannot believe that we waited until almost 6 years of marriage to start praying together…and I am not talking about at the dinner table.  The kind of prayer I am that I talking about it praying together when times are tough, when one person is upset, or for no particular reason at all.  Praying for each other out loud tears down those walls and makes you both vulnerable.  This is something that we are in the process of working on and have a long road to perfecting, but in the short time that we have started doing this I have already felt a closeness to Michael that I have never experienced. There is nothing more attractive than when your husband asks you “ How can I pray for you” and takes your hand and starts praying over you.  It is very hard and awkward to do at first, but I promise it will get easier.  It is also a great way to prevent fights (hehe).   I mean, how can someone get angry and mad when you ask them to pray together?  


….and that’s it!

I want to clarify that Michael and I have a long way to go and we are not perfect.  We still fight like once a week and get annoyed with each other, but we have learned to apologize and “get over it” much faster than our first year of marriage. We are more than just a married couple.  He is my best friend and knows every part of me.  He knows my struggles, my weaknesses, my faults, my strengths, my faces and gestures, and sometimes my thoughts (which can be very creepy at times). I encourage anyone reading this to NOT  set these five things I have talked about as expectations from your spouse.   I challenge YOU to take ownership and try them out for yourself.  Most of our fights stem from unmet expectations. Most likely when your husband sees you doing all of these, he will want to return the favor.  


My hope is that these five tips encourage you instead if discourage you.  You have to work for a good marriage and all of that hard work is worth it in the end.  As much as I wish could tell my 22-year-old self all that I have learned, I wouldn’t have taken the mistakes, fights, hard situations back. I now know the importance of these five lessons I have learned in our marriage.  I now value the importance of balance and the importance of making Christ the center because I know what a marriage is like without it.

I love you Michael

You are fearfully and wonderfully made,
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My Word of the Year

My Word of the Year

What is word of the year?
Don’t you ever tired of going through the same new years cycle each year?  We all do it.  We tell ourselves that we are going to resolve a specific thing, and about 2 weeks to maybe even a month in life gets too busy and that resolution gets pushed aside. According to Healthy Living, only about 8% of us actually keep our resolutions.  (Source: Healthy Living) ) To the 92% of people who don’t keep up with their resolutions, I’m bringing a new perspective to the table.

TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard

Instead of setting up resolutions, I choose a word each year to focus on.  In case my picture above didn’t give it away, my word this year is joy.I started this tradition three years ago in a bible study that I still meet with.  I really like the reasoning behind choosing a word. We often don’t follow through with resolutions because it is the cause of a deeper root issue and that root issue usually boils down to a heart issue…a word.  My words for the last three years were present, heart, hope, and this year my word is joy.  I also back each word up with scripture and memorize that verse. I recite this verse during the ups, the downs, and the norms.  

TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard


TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard


My Word
This year I chose the word joy for various reasons.  I can be a very happy person on the outside, but on the inside I am full of fear, worry, anxiety, and even bitterness.  My pastor at my church recently did a 14ish week series on Gospel Joy and he nailed the definition of joy on the head.  He said that joy is an enduring, non-circumstantial delight. Notice he did not say a current state or emotion or a feeling.  We often, including myself, mix up the words happiness and joy.  Success at work, a new pair of shoes, a stocked fridge, even a good workout can make us happy (temporarily) , but they will never be the source of everlasting joy.  Eventually you will have a bad day at work, your shoes will wear down, your fridge will be empty (or stink with rotten leftovers), and you will feel like you have gained 25 pounds because you didn’t workout for a few days. These sources of “joy” are empty and they are nothing but garbage. I can’t think how many days I was in a bad mood because of one petty little thing didn’t go my way.  This lifestyle is unstable and unsatisfying.  The only source for pure satisfying joy is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard
TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard

I am excited to start this journey of focusing on where I am seeking my joy.  I want to live each day NOT based on the events that have happened and are going to happen in my life, but instead I want my joy to be grounded in what Christ has done for ALL of us on the Cross.  I want not only to have this satisfying joy for myself, but I want to see others experience this same joy too.  Most importantly, I want to glorify God.

How liberating and freeing it is to know that you can choose joy each and every day?  That’s a pretty sweet deal if you’d ask me.  So I am going to end with this, what do you want your word to be this year?  What do you have the most struggle with? Get rid of those hopeless resolutions and instead take on a whole new meaning to this next year.
romans15:13 joy

TOP (Altard State) // Jeans // Shoes (Similar)// Scarf // Letterboard

Shop the PostThe top I am wearing is from Altard State.  They are currently having a big sale right now where sale items are an ADDITIONAL 40% off.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made,
signature blog

My 1 Hour Playlist

My 1 Hour Playlist

I have been thinking this past week on what I should write about next.  I never want any of my posts to seem forced, so I patiently waited until it was clear on what I should write about. The clarity came this morning during worship time at church.  We were all reminded that singing and praising God should be more of an outpour of what is coming from our soul than just feeding the words in our minds.  I bet we all can admit that at times we will sing a song and not truly reflect on the lyrics.  I was challenged to use those lyrics to praise and worship to where it stirs up my soul. That is when I knew what I wanted to write about.  I have decided that my next couple of posts are going to be fitness related due to a high demand of requests on my Instagram.   I am already working on my favorite fitness routine so I thought why not mix fitness and faith together.  Continue reading “My 1 Hour Playlist”

My First 20

My First 20

 My favorite part of the day is the morning.  I love the morning because I feel most productive during that time.  I am the type of person who always has a “to do” list either in my head or on paper.  Most of my life I would start my day with that “to do” list, but I never felt satisfied whenever I completed that list.  It wasn’t until last November that I knew why… I was forgetting a VERY important item on that list.  That item was God.


I was so caught up in myself, that I did not take the time to praise and to talk to God each morning.  I would put my agenda before His and now looking back, all that “stuff” made me feel empty.   My prayer relationship with God was reactive instead of proactive.   I promised you from the day 1 of starting my blog that I would share with you my favorite things, so I want to share with you what I do the first 20 minutes of the day.  The following devotionals have completely changed my life and my morning priorities.  I encourage all of you not click on the next site or close out of this post because these books can change your life. Continue reading “My First 20”

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

I have always been the type that doesn’t “settle in”. I am usually learning a new skill or taking on a new challenge. I guess it’s in my blood. I grew up with a family of entrepreneurs and leaders. My grandpa started a printing business 30 years ago that him and my dad run to this day and my mom owns a business that creates apparel for other businesses. My parents also helped plant a church in 2015. I was raised in an athletic family as well. I have two brothers who were usually the best athletes on their teams. One even got drafted in the MLB by the Texas Rangers. On top of coming from a family of entrepreneurs and athletes, I was also raised a Christian. I know that I am not a perfect person, but my faith in Christ challenges me daily to never settle and to never be “lukewarm”. Continue reading “Against the Grain”