There are quite a few things that are said to get better with time: Wine. Cheese. Vintage Chanel handbags.
As 2014 draws near, I can't help but hope that my love - the love I share with my husband - gets better, too. See, next year I turn 30. Thirty. I've asked myself several times, How is it that you are turning thirty? I mean, I still call my mom "mommy" and am certain that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. There are days when I feel like I'm trapped in this aging body. Mentally, I don't feel (almost) thirty. Physically, I don't feel (almost) thirty. Okay. Maybe a little bit physically.
Despite having spent all of my twenties being a mother, a part of me still relates to the girl who, in her early twenties, set forth to take on the world with sippy cup and textbooks in hand. A girl who was terrified of dating as a single parent, but somehow felt like she "knew" when she met him. The girl whose closest confidant for the majority of the past 10 years was her mom and the sleeping child that laid beside her - the keeper of all of her mother's dreams. The one who fueled each and every one of them as well.
I guess for me, the shock stems from the fact that I often feel like I'm supposed to have it all together by now. Right? In the running list of things that should have occurred or should be relative to my life at this moment, nothing should be unchecked or undone. And the thing is, as amazing as my life is, things don't quite look like I imagined they would. Not even my marriage.
Recently, I read an article about how dating is different in your thirties compared to your twenties. As I read it, I reflected over the past decade of my life. So much has happened. And as much as I've struggled to find myself and what I'm passionate about, aside from motherhood and being a wife, I keep finding myself at odds. At odds with what I want and what I need, with what I want for my family and what my family actually needs. But I'm reminding myself that God's plan for my life may look a lot different than my own, and perhaps if I can stop focusing on my plans so much, the journey will be a more joyous one. Truthfully, despite the challenges that I've faced, these past years have been more lovely than I could have imagined. My twenties are where I found some of the most beautiful things present in my life to this day, things like my voice - and love. The most sincere, genuine love I have ever experienced. A love that finds joy in my smile and in my very existence. A love that I am honored to be on the receiving end of and give freely in return.
I haven't a clue what love will look like for me in my thirties and am certain my voice will have changed some as a result of the fact that I will have changed. In my twenties, my relationship was filled with highs and lows. There were breakups and make-ups, there were deep conversations about the future and a realization that while we could do this life thing without each other, we didn't want to. We weren't going to. There was an exchange of promises in the form of wedding vows and a feeling that we had finally made it. There was some weathering of storms and a steadfastness that would help us to push through when everything in life seemed complex with the exception of our love. Through it all, the common thread was that life is sweeter together.
Over the years, I've not just grown older, but I've also grown up. And although I'm not done yet - we aren't done yet - something tells me that marriage will be even better in my thirties. Of course, I'll have my twenties to thank for that. They shaped me in ways I would have never imagined. In the three years we have been married, my husband and I have grown so much. I feel closer to him than ever, and from here our future looks quite bright. Here are 8 ways I think marriage will be even better in my thirties.
1. Leaning will be more natural
When you've been single for so long, it is hard to lean on other people. One of the things that fueled my desire to go to school was the fact that I didn't want to have to depend on someone. Ever. I had been burned. But time has shown me that it is okay to depend on someone. Yes, I've got a plan b, but I've also got a spouse with a shoulder that begs for me to lean on it. One of the things that I struggle with is internalizing things. And it's not healthy. I bury things inside until I can't. But the longer I am married, the quicker I am to seek refuge and comfort in the arms of my husband.
2. I'll have more confidence
As I mature, I believe that my confidence increases. It is an area I struggle in, but over time, I am learning to be kinder to the woman I am. I am learning to be more forgiving of her and her faults just as my husband is. I am learning that while my body isn't what it was in my twenties, it has done miraculous things. It may not look exactly like I would like for it to look, but it's been good to me. For me, confidence is about me learning to be comfortable in the skin I am in. Truly comfortable and learning to work with what I've got. My husband loves every single part of me. He doesn't feel the need to pick me apart. Why should I? How amazing would life be if I could see and love myself the way he does? (Side note: I have yet to meet a man who doesn't find confidence sexy. My husband loves how confidence looks on me.)
3. An ability to get straight to the point
The older I get, the less I want to play games with anyone. This includes subjecting my husband to attempts to read my mind because he should know. I've already been making more of an effort to be vocal about my wants and needs, removing the need for guesswork, and I know I will only get better with this in time.
4. Better friends
I hope to have an even deeper friendship with my husband. I've shared this quote countless times, because it resonates with me so much when it comes to my closest friends: "The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." This is my wish for my husband and I, and so far it has held true, but we haven't stopped growing. Our hopes, dreams, goals, and interests are constantly evolving. During the past decade, I learned a lot about friendship. My husband and I aren't best friends, but I look forward to the day when we can say that we are.
I have always thought of myself as a caring and giving person, but having been single for so long, compromise wasn't a big part of my life. My husband and I would compromise, but I wasn't always very graceful in how I handled things when they didn't go my way. I'm the kind of person who tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve. As I've matured, I've learned that oftentimes the satisfaction of seeing my husband genuinely happy means more than having my way. I am also learning to be quiet sometimes. The satisfaction of having the last word in a heated argument is short-lived and not worth the additional damage it can potentially cause. I hope to mature even more as I age.
6. More "us" time
With the arrival of our littlest came less one-on-one time for us. But as she grows and her mama matures, I realize how important making time for my husband is. As much as I desire to be with my children, I realize the importance of maintaining the relationship I have with their father. Eventually, our babies will grow up and move on with their lives. And then it will be my husband and I. It's important to maintain our connection so that we might have a love that can indeed last a lifetime.
7. A better understanding of who I am
When I am more fulfilled in my own life, I find I am a better mother and wife. Although being a mother and wife gives me the greatest sense of joy, I desire to have a life outside of those two things. I desire to live a life in which I walk in my purpose. And now, I wish I felt like I knew exactly what that was. Because the thing is, I thought I did, but now I'm not so sure. So it's time for me to do some work. It's time for me to figure out who and what (else) I want to be and work towards it. As I become more fulfilled in my own life and feel better about me, the way that I interact with my own family changes for the better.
With age comes wisdom. The longer you are here, the more opportunities life has to teach you a thing or two (life isn't always a bowl of cherries). The longer I am married, the more I learn about my husband and about marriage. Marriage looks very little like I imagined it would look, even moments before I headed down the aisle. But had I lacked wisdom, I wouldn't have been equipped to handle the challenges that life presented us with. Love and commitment have helped us weather our share of storms. Wisdom has helped us to realize that storms aren't forever.
-By Krishann Briscoe