Husband & Wife Articles


Newlywed Wisdom

Reflecting on nine months of marriage

By Jeremy Paff

Before getting married, one of the comments I heard the most was that the first year would be the most difficult, as my wife and I worked out the kinks, learned the little secrets to a successful marriage and moved toward marital bliss. If we could get through that grueling first year, I was told, things would slowly begin to get easier.

When I first heard this, it seemed reasonable enough. After all, it seemed like a natural way of envisioning the course of our marriage, that there would be difficulties as my wife and I adjusted to living with each other, merging our finances, and sharing our lives completely with one another. As we would get to know each other even better — be it in one, two, or three years — it seemed reasonable to assume that married life would get easier.

Yet as my wife and I celebrate nine months of marriage this week, I can say with the certainty of experience that I completely disagree with that outlook on the first year of marriage. Not only have I found it not to be true, but I believe that accepting it beforehand is far from the best way to mentally approach, prepare for, and live your marriage.

Our first year, thus far, has been one filled with both joys and struggles; but never has it crossed my mind that I am just buckling down, bucking up, holding on with white knuckles and hoping to just make it through this first year. Life is never going to be without its fair share of trials and challenges that accompany the joys and wonders throughout. In fact, I would even venture to say that years from now, if this year seems to have been the most tumultuous one, the one most replete with challenges, that it will likely also be recognized as the most rewarding year that afforded us the opportunity to do what we are supposed to do in marriage: share our lives with each other and lead each other closer to Christ.

We did not promise to each other to remain faithful through a tough beginning in the hopes that things would eventually get better. We vowed to be faithful even if better days never come. We should not really look at marriage as a predictable timeline of trials and challenges, which eventually level off to complete happiness. My wife and I focused less on the impending difficulties that we were supposed to experience in our first year of marriage, and more on living it out and making the decision every day to live for each other, just as we promised to each other and to God nine months ago before the altar of his sacrifice. As a married couple, we are journeying toward something much bigger than ourselves. This, to me, is symbolized perfectly in the image of a bride and groom kneeling before the altar shoulder to shoulder, gazing upon the Eucharist. That will serve as a constant reminder to us that we are made to be in heaven and join in eternal communion with our heavenly Father. Knowledge of this gives us renewed vision, and allows us to see the world and our shared life in a new and sanctifying light. The hardships, the daily challenges, and the tragedies transform into opportunities for us to make Christ more visible to each other in our marriage. Marriage will always be difficult, as long as we decide to think of it that way. I prefer to think of life as an adventure, and marriage as the decision to share the remainder of it with my wife.

Jeremy Paff graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. He grew up outside of Allentown, Pa., and now lives with his wife, Kelsey, in Plainsboro, N.J.  Jeremy works for a small investment fund located in Princeton.