By Sammie Gallo, Creator of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More
“To be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”Tim Keller
I’m so glad I spent years praying for my marriage before I even knew the man that God prepared to be my husband.
My husband Juan and I have been married for a year (officially – yay!), and I spent some time thinking about what the past year has taught me. Getting married is still my favorite decision ever, but there’s been a lot of lessons; some of which I could have only learned through marriage. Things that you learn when you share one space with another person who you’re learning to become “one” with (as the Bible puts it). The menial, daily tasks of doing life together really can take over the joy of getting to share life with your best friend if you aren’t careful, as I’m sure you’ve heard before! The thing that I found to be most interesting is that before I got married, people always were offering advice to me as we prepared for marriage, throughout our engagement. After the wedding and the initial honeymoon phase, though, people stopped offering that advice – I’ve had to seek wisdom when I don’t understand or am struggling in my marriage, which surprised me a lot.
I decided to share these thoughts because it puts into perspective what marriage is all about. When I’ve sought wisdom from people who’ve been doing this much longer than me, it’s helped incredibly with keeping, shifting, or reorienting my perspective and emotions.
For a lot of us, marriage is something we pray for, chase after, and yearn for until we meet the partner that we want to commit to for the rest of our lives. It can be an all-consuming thing, but the important part is keeping in perspective how you’re going to live out your faith, your vows, and your love for God and others within the covenant of marriage. In the past year, there have been so many times where I’ve gone back and reread the vows that I promised to Juan. My heart is feeble (I know, shocker!) and it’s been extremely humbling and convicting.
Here’s a summary of what my first year of marriage has taught me:
- Laugh often and have a ton of fun.
- Pray together.
- Communicate, but communicate with love.
- There will be really, really hard days. Fight for unity like your life depends on it (because honestly, your marriage does).
- You aren’t fighting each other – you’re fighting Satan, who will do anything he can to separate you.
- Don’t think you’re selfish? Give it a month… you’ll see that you still have a lot of work to do.
- Your marriage will not look like everyone else’s. That’s okay and GOOD. Find what works for you and your spouse and work together, with God, to make those things the foundation of your marriage.
- Give yourself and your husband LOTS of grace – adjusting takes time.
- When you think you want to change your spouse, pray for them instead.
- You need mentors. Frankly, you’re not smart or wise enough to do this by yourself.
- Always celebrate one another and be willing to bear one another’s burdens.
- Leave love notes on the counter.
- Create a home that can be a place of rest + a home that welcomes any opportunity to be hospitable.
- Celebrate “monthiversaries” – any milestone in the first year is a huge one. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
- Pray about literally everything.
- If things don’t go the way you planned, that’s okay. In fact, if you’re following God and it is His will, it’s better than your plan anyway.
- Always return to your vows.
Our first year of marriage has been the best year of my life – despite the challenges that have come from figuring out how to do life together, instead of separately. I’ve seen more of Jesus this year than I ever have before. And I’ve learned that returning to your vows is the best thing you can do because perspective really does change everything.
I’m now more sure than ever that marriage is a gift from the Lord and if He calls you to be in a covenant with another flawed human being, to love them unconditionally as He has loved you, and to serve Him together, you will become more like Jesus. There’s no other way around it. It’s the best, most humbling, and most sanctifying journey. Above all, I’ve learned returning to my vows is the best thing I could do because it reminds me that love holds everything together. Love is the basis of salvation, the basis of my relationship with Jesus, the basis of my marriage… love really does hold everything together.
Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Sammie graduated from Robert Morris University in 2017 with a background in biology and psychology and started working with Anglicans for Life (AFL) shortly after. In addition to her work with AFL, she spends time going into public schools with the Women’s Choice Network, speaking to high schoolers about healthy relationships and sex education.
Sammie married her best friend, Juan Gallo, in May 2019. During her free time, you can find her leading youth ministry with her husband at their church, where he serves as the youth pastor.
Sammie spends her day-to-day making sure that every person hears and believes the words: “you were made for more.” You can follow Sammie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! She’d love to get to know you!