I was sitting at my desk this morning doing my usual work when I heard the beep of our office door open. I look up to see my husband standing at my window holding a cup of my favorite coffee. I know this seems very small, but to me it was absolutely precious. It was a small, spontaneous gesture of love. I know many may think that I talk a lot about how great my husband is, how great our marriage is, and how great our life together is. Please know, it’s never to boast. My goal is to encourage those around us that being a newlywed can be and is wonderful. Sadly, that was not what we were told when we were getting ready to be married. Let me explain.
When Josh and I got engaged, we had numerous people congratulate us and tell us how excited they were for the both of us. Soon after, however, the comments began: “Just wait till you live together”, “It won’t take you long to drive each other nuts,” and “You guys will be fine after you get the first year over with.” We heard so many negative comments about the first season of marriage. I’m not saying everything has been picture perfect for Josh and I because it has not. [We actually got in a fight as soon as we landed in Mexico on our honeymoon! We laugh about it now because it’s actually hilarious.] But something that we did not hear a lot of was encouraging words about our first few months and first year of marriage. We heard more about how hard it would be, how much we would struggle, and how we would have to really LOVE each other because it would be hard. I’m here to challenge those mindsets. I’m here to encourage those who are recently engaged, married and even those who have even been married for years: marriage is awesome. Not only do we get a life-partner, but we get to show the world the beautiful picture of how Christ loves His church. Most of us know even THAT relationship is not always perfect. Likewise, your marriage will never be perfect. [We are human.] However, I want to encourage you that your marriage can be great. It can be filled with love, peace, mercy, joy, and selflessness. This world tells us that our first year of marriage is going to be hard and terrible and we’re going to want to hurt each other. [At least that’s what Josh and I heard.] But as a Christ follower, I’m not called to accept what the culture tells me is the norm. Josh and I decided, before we even said “I do,” that our first year would be a great year and every year following would only get better. That’s not to say that things won’t happen, life won’t get hard, or that we won’t struggle. However, it does mean we are choosing to respond to whatever life throws our way positively. We are choosing to be proactive rather than reactive. We are choosing to make our own standards rather than settling for what the culture tells us is “normal”. #confessionsofayoungwife
About the Writer
Ashlee Hafner holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emmanuel College. After graduating in 2015, Ashlee worked as the Marketing Director at Falcon Children’s Home in Falcon, NC where she was able to find a passion in raising awareness for such an amazing IPHC organization. In August of 2016, she married her college sweetheart, Joshua Hafner. Shortly after their wedding, they returned to Franklin Springs, GA when Joshua was hired as an Admissions Recruiter for Emmanuel College. She is currently working at Wellsprings Psychological Resources in Franklin Springs, GA as well as Cornerstone Church in Athens, GA. Ashlee and Joshua are ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to return to a place that not only helped them find each other but helped them refocus and target their purpose in life.