55 Things I’ve Learned After Being Married for One Year

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that Dalton and I have been married for exactly one year today. A lot of time has passed since that lovely March day; a lot of love, memories and lessons have occurred within our glorious year. Overall, I would say that our first year has been pretty easy; of course, we’ve had our arguments and our disappointments but theses things have only driven us closer.

Below are fifty-five things I have learned during this first year. Some are fun and silly while others are more serious; each have helped make me into the woman I am today. I look forward to seeing who I will be next year and the year after that. God bless each of you as you read this — may it inspire, humor and bless you in your own adventures!

1. Marriage, in God’s will, is one of His greatest, most kind, gifts to mankind

2. Breakfast doesn’t make itself

3. But real men make breakfast (thank you, Dalton! xoxoxo!)

4. Marriage really does take a lot of work

5. And patience

6. And grace

7. Grocery shopping with Dalton is a real treat (I had always imagined I’d shop alone as my dad never went with us. 🙂

8. You really can live (well!) on one income

9. When buying furniture it is far better to wait for the right style, price and time than jumping into a bargain you’ll regret later

10. Babies aren’t just made

11. But contentment in the waiting will make you (and your spouse) grow closer to each other and the Lord

12. Homesickness is inevitable

13. And it is okay

14. But when homesickness sweeps over you, don’t run home. Run to your beloved and share your heart. You’ll grow through it.

15. Arguments will happen (even when you’re the perfect couple!)

16. But most of the arguments will be based on miscommunication

17. Your spouse cannot read your mind and he shouldn’t have to

18. Going on a date can be as simple as walking through the mall together … the time together is oh, so priceless!

19. Husbands love to have their jokes laughed at … but they want you to be real! 😉

20. Dalton cannot stand popping knuckles … if I pop them while he sleeps he hears it and gives a little grunt of disapproval 😀

21. Being your mate’s biggest fan and advocate is *so* important. Criticizing him or allowing others to criticize him is a big no-no and a trust breaker. I learned this the hard way. Always, be on your mate’s team … you’ll never regret having their trust!

22. Being thrifty can be really fun

23. But sometimes going cheap is not worth it (like buying cheap toilet paper which rips … du du duuuuuum!)

24. The first few months of marriage will probably be a little tight in the budget … but don’t fret! In about 3 months you’ll have the budget set, utilities scheduled, and furnishings furnished and you can begin to relax.

25. Husbands want to know if they’re “getting fat ” sometimes … and they want an honest answer

26. Celebrating “month-a-versaries” is really fun!!

27. Riding the bus is actually … really easy

28. Decorations can be bought little by little each year. Our Christmas tree was given to us and our ornaments were made from a package of potpourri … but it was truly beautiful and definitely “us.” I’ve found it far more satisfying to stay within budget and buy a little to set up home then go into debt (or over budget).

29. But remember, the budget isn’t meant to be a hateful, slave master constantly whipping your backs. If you find that you can agree that the purchase is necessary then go for it! 🙂

30. Tubs need to be scrubbed every few months … otherwise they get this gross ring around the edge and your sister will have to scrub it when she comes to visit they get gross.

31. Your Momma is really, really going to miss you (and you her). Bless her, call her, text her, send letter to her … do all that you can to make this transition easier for the dear woman who has loved you all your life. I wish I had done more of this in the beginning!!
32. A man who makes you coffee is a man worth keeping!!

33. Men like kindness (imagine that!). But really, it’s true. Sometimes new wives tend to allow familiarity to become an excuse for complacency breeding selfishness and thoughtlessness. From my extensive studies, men don’t respond very well to those traits; however, give them a dose of kindness and suddenly you’re a princess who does everything right! 😉

34. You could complain or you could swallow that complaint. The choice is yours.

35. Not being honest about your feelings is a lie. Period.

36. Dalton is genuinely impressed and happy when I give myself over to my “creative juices.” His support for my little creations and writing has been such a blessing!

37. Strep throat can be incredibly costly

38. Sleeping during the night is far better than sleeping in the day. When we were first married, D worked the morning shift (11 pm – 7 am). It was a fun adventure, but we were sure glad when he was able to get a swing shift instead (1 pm – 9 pm). We loved not having to sleep in the daytime!    

39. Keeping house is a lot of fun … especially after you get into the swing of things

40. A good man will eat a lot of icky meals (including leftovers!)

41. Friendly neighbors are a real blessing

42. Lovemaking is so much better than what you thought it would be as a single person

43. Pursuing a relationship with your in-laws (or in-loves as I like to say!) is super important and super rewarding

44. Pregnancy tests are super expensive

45. And getting a negative reading can be devastating

46. Bacon is a financial treat you should partake in once in a while

47. Praying together every day is a investment for eternity and well worth the time

48. Saying “I’m sorry; do you forgive me?” is one of the greatest phrases of all time and a great healer. Use it often.

49. Contentment is a choice … even after you have everything you ever wanted (a husband who loves you, a home of your own …) you’ll still have to choose to be content.

50. Being married to you best friend is the best thing that could ever happen. He will hold you when you cry, laugh when you laugh, and bless your every moment.

51. Marriage (and all that comes with it) will affect your hormones and you’ll feel a little “out of control” for a while. It’s okay and I’m pretty convinced it happens to us all. Give yourself grace, plenty of rest, and good, nutrient rich meals and you’ll survive. 🙂

52. God will never fail to meet His children’s needs. I have learned this over and over again this year — our God is good and loving!

53. Finding an apartment with a good landlord and without any broken windows is a huge blessing

54. Not eating sugar/wheat really does make me feel better

55. A man who points you to Christ, encourages you to look up, and prays for you is worth the world and rare

I really couldn’t be any happier than I am right now. Dalton and I are so blessed — we’ve learned a lot since we said “I do” last year on March 7th. We’ve stumbled, bickered and felt lost. But we have grown, bonded, and found hope in God’s leading. I know we wouldn’t trade what we have for the world.

Happy anniversary, D! May we have 70 more!

Were there any points you could relate with or that surprised you? Feel free to bring up your thoughts!!

With love, coffee, and a one year old marriage!

 

How to Love Your Husband or A Tutorial from a Fifty-three Day Long Marriage and Counting

Hello, sweet, sweet friends!

Ah, I have missed you! I hope
this finds you all well and rejoicing in the love and incredible mercy of our
Lord! I am doing very well – lots of joy and delight in our little area.
Currently, we are preparing for D’s days off. We’ve loaded our pantry with
goodies like apples, chicken quarters, and chocolate chips, rented “The Lord of
the Ring” for movie night, and have fun plans which certainly include walks
downtown and mornings slept in.

What is married life truly like
at *almost* two months?

You really want to know?

It is delightful.

I am so enjoying marriage. I
love waking up next to my best friend. I adore greeting him when he comes home
from work. I enjoy hearing his plans and dreams. I appreciate his hand
holding mine as we listen to the Sunday morning sermon. It is truly
beautiful.

Along with the happy, genuine
joys of marriage there are the difficult moments too. I hope I always
reflect both sides of marriage while blogging—a balanced approach to life as I (silly, little Frannie) sees it.
Which brings me to the question,

            “How can I always love my husband?”

I’m sure many of you sweet
dears find that a frivolous, ridiculous question. “Are you kidding me,
Frannie?! Pshh … what kind of question is that? Obviously, someone is
ungrateful!” (I can relate because I use to think the same thing! 😉

But I am serious. How can we always
love our husbands?

Well, I have *good news* for
you … I’m still unsure. 😉 Truly, there are those days when loving your husband
(or any human being) is the last thing you want to do. You may have a cold and
wish he would stop asking you what you plan to place before his hungry mouth.
Perhaps, he made a joke at the expense of your (dear, heavenly, perfect) mother
or maybe he insists on re-arranging your
*ahem* pantry. Whatever the case may be, loving your husband fully, purposefully,
and continuously is a task which can seem impossible to fulfill. So, how can we
love these dear men in our lives? I have a few ideas which I’ve noticed and am
constantly trying to remember.

1. Love him purposefully

            Silly, right? No, it isn’t, actually. Loving people
requires focus, intention, and purpose. It is a choice. Choose to love that
hard working (or maybe not so hardworking) man of yours. Love him on purpose.
Love him whether or not he helps around the house or whether or not he picks
the most holiest of movies to watch. Love him when he’s weak. Love him when he’s
strong. Love him daily, on purpose, and not because he is perfect but because
he’s yours, he’s a handiwork of God’s, and he needs it … just like you.

2. Practice kindness

            This idea came to me while I was putting away dishes and
meditating on Romans 12:1. When we “present [our]selves a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God” we give Him our best. Our best attitudes, our best
works, our best selves. Why not try giving our best to our husbands? Why not
practice kindness?

            In order to see if this really worked, I purposed to really
love Dalton for the next week. I mean, I was going to put my best foot
forward–just like I had when we started dating. I purposed to be the sweetest,
kindest, gentlest gal he knew and so each day I chose (remember point one?) to
practice being kind. I spoke extra kindly, listened extra hard, and loved more
earnestly. And guess what happened? My already kind, dear, gentle husband
became even more kind, dear, and gentle. He responded to my rush of kindness
with kindness. It works. It really does.

3. Hear his heart

            I can be a sensitive person. I rarely catch sarcasm
and tend to take offense when the most harmless of jokes (I’m sorry I’m such a baby!) is aimed at me or my loved ones.
In contrast, Dalton is a teaser–something I have always appreciated about him.
But things get ugly when I miss the joke—and more often than not, get offended. Once that happens I
pick a fight. High pitched, barbed questions fly out of my tempered mouth, “What
do you mean I’m not nice to your mother?!” or “I do not spend too much money—have you seen my raggedy shoe collection!?”
Typically, Dalton just shakes his head and remarks on how feisty I am and wonders
why I can’t take a joke. And I sit there, arms crossed, ready to battle the man
I vowed my life to.

 Sweet ones, learn from my mistakes. Hear
your husband’s heart
. If he is anything like my beloved, he never purposefully
speaks unkind words or jokes. So before you jump the gun and drag the poor soul
to the execution take a breath. Ask him what he meant. Or maybe just
laugh a little
; you’ll see soon enough whether or not your breath really smells like canned dog food.

4. Practice being vulnerable

            Alright, I’m going to dive into a subject many of my
fellow conservative, Christian beings will find awkward—but hey, I like
swimming in the deep. 😉

            Ladies, you can love your husband by practicing
vulnerability. I know we all have areas on our bodies we personally find distasteful.
I tend to think I look far more attractive with a cute sundress on than without
but my husband thinks differently. (Ew, gross … actually, no, no it isn’t). Practice being vulnerable; and boy, does it take
practice.

God
made men to be (typically) visual creatures (a.k.a they want to see ya naked!
😉 It is a sacrifice … our pride, our self-image, and our confidence is on the
line. We tremble thinking, “What if he doesn’t like what he sees? I sure don’t!”
So in our fear (which isn’t of God by the way) we cover up. We hide ourselves.
We jump under the covers quickly and refuse to let his eyes see the treasure he
married. And indirectly, we tell our husbands that they aren’t worth taking risks
for; our refusals proclaim a lack of trust. And that isn’t loving.

So
sweet ones, practice love by trusting in your man. Practice love by taking
risks. And for heaven’s sake, practice love by taking it off! 😉

Whew! There they are–four tips on
how to really love your husband. Remember, love is a choice so purpose to love
him daily. Practice kindness—it works! Listen to his heart instead of jumping
at his throat. And finally, practice the beautiful trait of vulnerability. Of
course, I have a lot to learn on the subject of marriage. But I have found that
practicing these four points goes far in the harmonious, successful marriage
department. I would love to hear your input, encouragement and insight – what
are some of the ways you love other people? Do tell!

            With lots and lots of love and blessings,

                        Frannie

This Thing Called Marriage

:: Cinnamon water, black coffee, and matching plates of omelets and pita bread for brunch. A happy hello from the Duncans! ::

Hello dear friends!

Wow … can you believe that I am
actually, truly, for the rest of my life, married?

Sometimes I myself forget. J

But before I get lost in some
confusing blog post let me tell you something …

Marriage is wonderful!

I love waking up next to my
best friend every day. Talking budget with him. Learning how to communicate and
share my/our feelings better. Discussing how our parents are doing. Encouraging
him. Showing him what I’ve been doing while he is away at work. Strolling
through town with him. Greeting him at the door. It really has been a blast—and
something I pray lasts for many more years to come.

There have been many (hilarious, conflicting, amazing) adjustments
to make since I became Mrs. Duncan two weeks ago. Let me list them:

1) It is okay that I’m sleeping
with … gulp … a man.

            I know, I know. “Get with the program, Frannie. You’re
married so of course you’ll sleep with a man.” 😉 But really. This has been an
adjustment and one I am pondering and plan to write more on in the future. J

2) WHO AM I?

            Marriage has turned my world around and for the better.
But there are some moments when I stop and ponder the big questions in life. Who
am I now that I’m married? What am I supposed to do with myself? Who do I
answer to?

            Of course I know the answers to these questions. I’m
still Frannie. Yet, marriage has altered my course of life drastically. You
see, I think I was prepared for the idea
of marriage and not the reality. I
have spent many years happily single, enjoying the freedom singleness gives,
and knowing exactly who (and how) I wanted to please. The day after our wedding
I sat in bed and asked my beloved husband the silliest of questions, “Who am I
now, Dalton? What do I do with myself?” Thankfully, my tenderhearted, gentle
man didn’t laugh at my quandary and the huge wave of reality that washed over
me. Instead, he gave me encouragement to start slow and see where God takes me
in this new adventure of wifehood.

            Thankfully, God is still the same God now that I’m
married as He was when I was single; He knew I would go through an unforeseen identity
crisis, He foresaw that I would wrestle with what I was to do next, He
understood that my rule-loving, schedule-abiding heart would need reminders of
His faithfulness. Most importantly, He understood my heart way before I did.

3) The wait-till-two-flush-rule

            J It isn’t a rule but I find it humorous how my tidy, thrifty
stud of a husband likes to save money by waiting till the second potty run to
flush the toilet.

4) Signing my name as Frannie Duncan

            Having now become an “official adult,” I’ve thrown myself
into all sorts of adult-like interests (i.e. researching renters insurance, internet
company quotes, homemade cleaners, Craigslist furniture searches, calling stale
bank ladies who seem to hate answering the phone …). Being grownup is really
quite entertaining. And signing all the documents and email signups with my new
last name has proven to be a hassle some days.

            p.s. I’m being sarcastic when I say that being married
now equals adulthood. I’ve always felt that that was how the world viewed me
but I can honestly say that marriage does not “grow you up” or make one feel
validated. It is wonderful and lovely but it is not what makes a girl a woman
or a boy a man. That’s what character and maturity is for.

5) Living with neighbors … for
better or for worse

            Most of my life has been lived in rural, wooded areas
with several acres in between homesteads. When describing his ideal place to
live my dad puts it this way, “I need to be able to pee off my own porch
without worrying about people … or else I just won’t worry about them.” J

Moving
to Jefferson City with Dalton has been one of the most thrilling adventures
yet. I adore this city. I love seeing the neat, brick homes lining the street
and watching families sit on their porches after work. I like living within
hearing distance of the train and church bells. And I thoroughly enjoy being
able to walk downtown passing historical sites all the way to the capital. Dalton
and I were especially excited when the empty apartment above our little home
began to buzz when a new couple moved in. But after being jolted out of bed by the
sound of a well-equipped boom box and later overhearing their relationship
problems through the course of a yelling match I’ve been laughing over how
little I now about living right next to neighbors. Hopefully, I’ll be making
cookies for the new pair and, who knows, maybe our two families will stay in
touch for the rest of our lives. J

            Needless to say, marriage has brought so many joys and
blessings my way. I am so thankful God saw it fit to bring D and me together …
and I am so glad I get to share this new adventure in life with you!

            With lots of love!

                        Frannie

Wedding Reflections

March 7th, 2014
 
12:30 p.m.
 
 
My sister, sister-in-law (or S.I.L. as I like to call her ;), and I gathered at my mother-in-law’s beauty shop. I think having my new, second mom help me was a beautiful way to begin the day’s preparations.

 

 
We arrived at the church around 2 o’clock and began getting dressed and taking pre-sighting pictures.

 

 

 

 
 
Bridesmaids!

 
 
My dear cousins who filled the whole weekend with laughter and joy.
 
 
Sibling shot

 
D and his handsome groomsmen

 
:: My beloved ::
(what a STUD!)

 
6:00 p.m.
 
 
 
:: Mom Number Two ::

 
:: Mom Number One ::
Marmee-dearest
 

 
My Papi and I

 
Love this shot
 

 
My marmee and daddy
 
 

 
7:15 p.m.
 

 
The reception took place at the nearby youth center which had been decorated the day before by
A M A Z I N G friends and family. It was beautiful.

 
Our favors

 
Loved our cake made by a dear friend
 

 
Mine and D’s first dance as a wedded couple

 
Daddy and I

 
Dalton surprised his mom by requesting “Cotton Eyed Joe.” As you can see, fun was had all around. 🙂
 

 
:: This isn’t as easy as it looks ::
😉

 
Looking back at my dear mother as we had off to our little home
 
. . .
 
 
In many ways it feels like I’ve been married for twenty years instead of the fresh one week today. Our wedding was wonderfully special. So many friends and family members pitched in and helped and on the day of the wedding I stood in shock, peeking from my hiding place, at all the people who came to celebrate our day.
 
I am very grateful for my friend Amelia Protiva from Simply Perky Photography and her assistant, Jessica. They were so incredibly wonderful and professional all while being warm and discreet.
I think their photos reflect the day so well.
 
I thank God for giving me to Dalton.
 
I also thank Him for answering our prayers and making our wedding one of peace and simple beauty–may He get all the glory!
 
With a happy, happy heart,
 
Frannie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Special Love from England

A few evenings ago, I received a lovely wedding present all the way from England.  
 
Ms. Barbara, from the blog Cornish Cream, was so generous and thoughtful and I cannot help but share her kindness with you!

Within the package was another bundled sweetly in ribbon and pretty paper.

And within that lace and a delicious lavender sachet.

Four colorful, wonderful tea towels met my eyes!
 
How special!

 
The most special of all were the four tea napkins which were given from her dear mother’s Irish collection.

Are they not the most adorable, dainty, priceless gifts ever?

I hope to carry one of these special tea napkins with me as a hankie on the wedding day–though I hope to keep any tears from staining them!
 
It will be a special part of my “something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new.”
 
What a remarkable, dear gift!
 
A thousand hugs and thank-you’s, Ms. Barbara!
 
Your love and kindness brightened my busy days tremendously!
 
With love and a very happy heart,
Frannie