Transition reflection

I’ve posted most recently about festivals, food,  and holiday decorations but I’m taking a break for this to reflect and share about some transitions ahead for A.Greene.

In 6 weeks and we will have been NY residents for a year! In this past year there have been many new experiences and challenges. For me a large portion of this was adjusting to living completely on our own.

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When we first moved I had little social interaction outside of skype, phone calls, or the grocery clerk. There were long periods of loneliness and boredom and a whole lot of time on Netflix. I struggled to adjust to the new life-pace. I had been in survival mode for months planning for a wedding while working. When we moved less than a month after the wedding I needed a large amount of down-time to adjust, everyone said so and told me I had earned it.

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But the adjustment wasn’t easy. I at first felt guilty and purposeless.  It took a long time to realize what I was supposed to be doing with my time. In the long run the time was not wasted: I learned how to create boundaries, how to balance my life, how to recognize stressors and handle stress properly, I got in shape, I learned how to maintain a household, learned how to cook healthy for two (check out my transcend category), edited two books, applied to jobs, and wrote more than 100 blog posts (see 6 months=100 posts!) None of that includes the learning and growing in my relationship with Luke! (For more on that just type marriage into my search engine and you’ll see plenty of recent posts).

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All of this to say, it has been a major year of transition and with this fall even more is coming our way.

Here’s what we are looking forward to:

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1. We are now going to be weekly co-leading a Young Married small group with our church. On Tuesday night we will get the opportunity to gather with people at the same place in life as us and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m looking forward to making new friends and to sharing our experiences adjusting to married life.

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2. I have some great job opportunities coming down the line: continued editing work and possibly teaching college-level English courses and/or substituting. I am curious to see what I end up doing, it’s hard to not get anxious wondering where I may be starting my career on the East Coast.

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3. Next weekend we will be celebrating our 1rst year Anniversary!! We are headed to Niagara Falls for a fun filled Groupon getaway!

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4. It’s months from now but: My parent’s are coming for Christmas! After a year of celebrating every holiday just Luke and I, we are ready for company come the holiday season. I’m so excited that it’s hard not to want to plan out every second of time together months in advanced.

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Plus in general we are just getting busier! In the past several weeks there have been birthday parties, dinner meetings, conferences, day-trips to visit friends, co-worker events etc. They are taking up our evenings and weekends more than ever before! It’s a great change (no more boredom or loneliness) but it has been a stretch.

Just as it was difficult to adjust to so much time on my own, so it has also been difficult recently to get out of my introverted state and get out there and socialize more. With transitions (even when they are good ones) there comes new stressors and challenges. As the routine shifts, I have to again adjust  and re-learn how to balance all over again. But it is so worth it.

As we move into the time of holidays what changes or transitions are you anticipating?

What adjustments do they require of you?

“Happily Ever After” is only the Beginning

All the movies make it seem as though that walk or drive off into the sunset with the love of your life is the end no more conflict, no more challenges, no more changes.

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But Happily ever after is only the beginning

You relationship is not complete when you get married. You don’t stop working on it after marriage you are only really beginning. With all the awkward superficial barriers worked through during dating, you begin to hit at deeper bigger issues. These issues can come on with the smallest of topics. But if you take the opportunity to openly and honestly talk about them you will find yourself work through things that are much deeper. When you work out issues in an frank yet loving way you learn a lot about yourself, a lot of about your spouse, a lot about what “you” as a couple looks like.

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The first two months of marriage included a lot of talking. . . and I mean a lot. These talks came up at the most unlikely and most annoying of times too. Every time we didn’t agree or were confused by what each other meant or expected we took the time to work it out. It wasn’t easy but we wanted resolution, we wanted to understand each other. There was a lot of questions for clarification: What did you think I meant? What do you want me to do ? What do you think I expect you to do?  I found that you may finish each others sentence when you’re dating but it doesn’t mean once you’re married you will be able to read each other’s minds.

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Another title for this could also be: new is new is new is new .  . .

This is just the beginning to married life. Any new element is exactly that a new element. So any new topic or area of life not present before marriage is not magically resolved out of your love. Whether it is deciding on when/where it is ok to flirt with each other (or let it lead to more), what to eat for the week, who does what chores around the house, the budget, outings, etc.. If it is a new decision it requires talking it out-it requires work.

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Remember back when you felt unsure how the person you were dating was going to take your opinion on an issue? Or you were unsure how to bring a new difficult topic up? But in time you develop trust and with it comes honesty, patience for each other, and grace to see eye-to-eye on things. Well that doesn’t change. You will still have those awkward and difficult conversations for anything that is a new element to your relationship.

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New elements to your relationship require effort and compromise to make new decisions. It doesn’t happen through osmosis when you put rings on each other’s fingers. It comes through loving each other enough to want to work it through.  Don’t out of fear of being vulnerable keep your mouth shut when things bother you. But don’t go overboard either. You do not have always instigate a debate-the talks and challenges will come up on their own.

It doesn’t happen over night.  Six (almost seven) months married life is a lot easier than one month. The more we invest in each other the more we see growth,stability and we find ourselves deeper in love . Trust me it’s true! Marriage does not grow like weeds. It grows like trees-change sometimes is subtle but time and consistent investment can make it grow stronger. And if you think you’ve been through a lot as a couple before you get married just wait until  you watch the other person step-up to the responsibilities as husband or wife. You will love and respect them even more.

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I do not claim to have this figured out-we are still working through a lot of topics and issues. But I know that going into the first few months being willing to ask the hard questions knowing you are safe to be vulnerable (that the commitment you made to each other is enough) makes all the difference. You have to know that the other person loves you and will show you forgiveness. That they (and you) will be willing to say your sorry, mean it, and move on. There is a lot of adjusting to do and it requires compromise, patience, and grace.

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Sleep after marriage: isn’t always a dream come true

One thing I thought would be beyond easy after marriage was sleep.

Here is why: I have always slept better with someone else in the house or room with me; their presence is soothing and safe. Also, because Luke and I were super busy while dating I would often cuddle up to him on the couch to watch a movie or on his living room floor while he took a nap before working a night shift and quickly fall asleep.

What I am learning now is that nap time is not the same as sleeping through the night and sharing a bed.

So here’s another myth busted: Sleep after marriage: is not always a dream come true!

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Our bed: before I’m asked the the duvet cover is mine I bought it from World Market a few years ago

 Instead sleep patterns/habits much like personalities are unique to each person.

I grew up in a little twin bed. Usually I am a side sleeper and my feet and hands are always cold; if I am cold I can’t sleep.  I am a light sleeper too–any unusual sound, change in temperature, or odd dream can wake me up. To complicated this, it takes me a long time to fall asleep and sleeping soundly through the night is often a luxury. Because of this I need more hours of sleep; at least 8 if not 9.  When and if I fall asleep soundly I do not move all night.

Luke has at times chosen to sleep on hard floors over his own bed and has slept in beds of different sizes mostly double/queens all to himself (even at age 3!). He is usually a stomach or back sleeper. Luke alway runs warm so he often gets hot in the middle of the night and tries to take off the covers. He is also a very deep-sleeper, and falls asleep very quickly, usually only needing 6-7 hours. To add to this, Luke will move around in his sleep without realizing it.

Now you can imagine what we’ve been working through sleeping in the same queen size bed.

We finally came to realize we both have to adjust our sleeping habits and accept the other person’s habits if we want to share a bed or we will be constantly frustrated, grumpy, and sleep deprived.

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My mom made this red brass pinned retro-looking headboard for me during her upholstery class awhile back

It has taken us until 5 months into marriage talk about our sleep habits and decide what helps or hinders good sleep.  Even after talking it through there are still rough nights-this will take time.

A canvas print landscape picture from our wedding day hangs over the bed

A canvas print landscape picture from our wedding day hangs over the bed

If you are getting married soon and have never slept in the same room, same bed, or taken a nap together (or even if you have as I learned) I would suggest talking about your sleeping habits because you may not know what a “normal night” looks like.

Asking questions like: How did you sleep as a child? Do you like a lot of space/little space? Do you move around/stay in one place when your asleep? Do you like a lot of blankets/sleep with none? Do you love your PJs or prefer your birthday suit? might be helpful.

This could provide you with a head-start on developing a healthy sleeping relationships (and may help you determine what size bed you want).

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Our Queen size bed

Any married couples have advice to share? Have you had to make  similar adjustments?