The newlywed game. Fun. Exciting. Full of adventure. Something new around every turn. These are a few of the ways people describe this time of life—being newlyweds. As a couple, who has been married for a mere 11 days, we’ll give you some incite into what it’s like to merge two lives together including the joys and the challenges we have come across thus far.
The joys are obvious: a life long adventure buddy, hiking companion, running partner, minister, helper and the list goes on. These are things we have both been looking for throughout the first twenty plus years of our lives. We have found these joys in other friends along the way who have come and gone, and now that we are married we are committed to each other for life.
This is where the challenges start to play a role.
Our families are similar. We both had parents who loved us and raised us to pursue a life that points towards the gospel. This underlying characteristic has been a blessing to us as we became more independent from our families and ultimately as we became a family of our own.
With that being said, our marriage is firmly grounded in our mutual love for our Savior and we are grateful for that. However, the devil has tricky ways of getting into things that the Lord intended for good, and we are aware of his deception in our relationship.
In order to understand the challenges we face, it would be helpful to see into the lives of each of us.
I experienced much love from my parents and my siblings. However, not much was shown between my parents. Growing up, I experienced the effects of infidelity as young as the age of 8 and throughout my adulthood in college.
Being confused, upset, and left not knowing who to trust were feelings I experienced in second grade and into college. I overheard, feuds between my parents and many times was certain my parents would get a divorce. It seemed never ending. I was blind to it as a teenager, but once I started my relationship with Conner I started to become aware of how my parent’s infidelity affected our relationship.
I manifested a lack of trust from my parent’s marriage. I did not trust any man or woman who would interact with my mom or dad. In the back of my mind there was always a suspicion that more than a friendship was occurring. This lack of trust has shown up in my relationship with Conner. It is not a lack of trust of my love for Conner or Conner’s love for me, but rather a lack of trust of the love I saw in my parents’ marriage.
The love I saw in the marriage between my parents does not define what God intended for love to be in a marriage. Although I would say I have tried to be intentional to keep my mind on the truth, I often stray. Things that are not pleasing to the Lord like jealousy, mistrust, and doubt enter my mind every now and then and Conner is faced with my insecurities. Conner and I communicate well once these insecurities arise so we are able to face it head on, together.
With Jesus as my Lord and Savior I have hope and a promise that God makes beautiful things out of brokenness. Our marriage is a new beginning and a gift for me to witness what love looks like when God is the center of marriage. I am so excited to see a side of marriage with Conner that I did not have the opportunity to witness growing up.
My challenges have more to do with my personality than my family background. I use fewer words than most and prefer to let others lead the conversation. I love being around groups of people but will rarely be the one to speak up.
Also, I am the stereotypical guy in that I do not communicate or share my feelings to the extent Kristin would like for me to. Finally, I feel most loved when someone shares or does something I love that I know they do not, which Kristin does often. When I try to reciprocate I do things Kristin likes to do and think that I am loving her the way she needs to be loved. What I have discovered is that her love language this is not the same as mine.
Kristin feels most loved by me not when I do stuff for her but when I give her words of affirmation. When I encourage her with my words, it lasts. The problem is, which was mentioned before, I do not talk much or share my feelings much. For me actions go much further than words but for Kristin they go hand in hand.
So, even though I am showing my love for Kristin daily, when I talk to a female friend and have not been vocally affirming of my love for Kristin her insecurities come up which are lies of the flesh. I quickly affirm her in this situation. However it could have been avoided from the beginning if I would have been more attentive to Kristin’s needs.
We are both learning on the go as one only can in marriage. We are having a blast along the way. We are struggling along the way as well. The good times far outweigh the bad. And through the bad times we learn and are better because of it.
So, married for 57 years, have never thought about marriage, or in the same boat as us—new adventure awaits us all and we enjoy it, struggle, grow, and learn from it.
Thanks for reading! – Conner and Kristin Mills –
What joys and challenges have you experienced and learned from in marriage?
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Conner and Kristin are newlyweds and work as student ministry interns for the Littleton Church of Christ for the Summer of 2017.