6 Things I've Learned in 6 Years of Marriage

Ok, so really it was 6 years ago on September 5th 2015. It's not just the blog post that's late: Matt and I haven't celebrated yet. BUT, we will! Just not sure when. Anyone interested in flying to Mozambique to watch Cedar and Cypress for a few hours? 

6 Things I've Learned in 6 Years of Marriage:

 Us as an engaged couple. This photo was taken in Africa, before we knew we would spend our lives here.

Us as an engaged couple. This photo was taken in Africa, before we knew we would spend our lives here.

One: I am crazy. This is for real. I had no idea a person could have so many raging emotions locked away just to unleash on a poor unsuspecting husband. Our first year was tough. Looking back, it was beautiful. In the moment, not so much. There were nights when childhood memories plagued me and I was just SURE Matt was going to fail me in every area. In those moments Matt would lay his hand on my head and pray that God would "...re-route the patterns of thought in her mind." I remember this prayer almost word for word because my patient husband prayed them over and over. He also told me he loved me about every five seconds. This drove numerous people crazy, but what they didn't know is that he was trying to make me believe him. 

 The night we officially started dating, it was at a Chi Alpha event non the less. 

The night we officially started dating, it was at a Chi Alpha event non the less. 

Two: I can almost always convince myself and even Matt that I won a fight. THIS IS NOT GOOD! I gotta be real--I have done this many, many times. Like 10,000,000,056 times. (If you are able to say that number without thinking about it for a whole minute, you are my brain hero.)

Three: I learned that I don't need Matt. Or anyone for that matter. I don't mean this in the hand-in-your-face, "Boo trick! I don't need you" way. I mean, "no matter what, Jesus is always with me and He really is enough." Is it weird to tell you that I was sitting on the toilet when I came to that conclusion? TMI? I don't think I was actually using it, but I had just locked myself in bathroom during a fight. It was years ago when we lived in a loft apartment and that was the only room with a door. I no longer do that by the way. #progress

Four: I realized that Matt is my forever best friend, and I should treat him as such. Texts, calls, special moments, secret hand shakes...all of it. BFF! 

Five: This one is super serious. I learned how to calm down my happy/chipper/hyperness. Matt is NOT a morning person, and sometimes he's not a night person either. Although he wasn't an only child, he definitely has only-child tendencies. I like to pillow fight, tickle, prank, and I will do said things during all hours of the day. Marriage is not the place for the "do you" mentality. Instead, I try to wait for more appropriate moments to dump ice cold water on him while he is showering; it's the little things that make a marriage blissful. Half of you are thinking, "I would divorce that chick so fast." I know, I'm a mess. 

Six: When we moved to Portugal we had to become deep down real with each other. The moments after a fight went a little like this: "I'm going to go hang out with my friends!!!. Crap, all my friends here speak Portuguese. Wait, I don't have any friends here. NO ONE GETS ME!!!"  That never happened, but we were stuck with each other, and I loved every minute of it. I learned how to intentionally do life with Matt. Each moment is an opportunity for me to fall in love with Matt, just like my relationship with Christ. It was a lesson I needed to learn in two areas of my life. 

For all you unmarried people with future aspirations, don't worry, there are still sweet, romantic moments like we had as newlyweds. But when Matt is tickling a giggling Cedar over and over while I cook dinner, that's when I swoon. When I catch his ear-to-ear smile as students fill our apartment, that's when my heart skips a beat. When I hear his voice echoing off the bathroom walls in worship, that's when I feel safely loved.

Happy 6.5 Years Matthew Lee Marlin! I love you...and your pile of clothes in the corner of our room right now. 

What have been your biggest lessons in marriage? And, if you aren't married, what freaks you out the most about the possibility? Can't wait to learn from what you have to say. 

We'll Be Home for Christmas, but Not Really.

As most of you know, we are having a baby girl in January. What you may not know is that we can't have Cypress here in Mozambique. It's complicated; I won't bore you with details. We have two options. She can be born in South Africa, where Cedar was born, or we can go to the States. Either way, we have to leave Maputo at least 4 weeks before my due date of January 20 because NO BABIES BORN MID-TRAVEL PLEASE! We prayed about this decision a lot, but we still had to make a pros and cons list because sometimes we are 16. Here's a peak at our musings...

It is an interesting thing planning which country your child is to be born in, and as you can see from our super-professional list, it's not just choosing the hospital or picking a doctor. Our conversations are more like, "Hey babe, are you thinking rent a place in Joburg, SA, or fly to the States?" and "…might be pretty boring to be alone on Christmas." Of course, our ideal would be to have our bundle be born in Mozambique without crazy time/environment changes for us and Cedar, BUT we really enjoy our life and all the adventures that come along with it. These challenges are just the nature of the call.

Both our options mean a time away from our students (who are amazing people; you guys would love them) and what God is doing here (even more amazing, but we know God can hold down the fort). Those are THE hardest parts of making any decision to leave Mozambique, but some of the stress this time is alleviated a little by the fact that our weeks away line up exactly with the summer break for all the universities here. That's right: It's summer right now in the southern hemisphere, so we won't miss any of the school year! Isn't God the best planner?

Both options also equal us being away from home and away from our ministry, but only one option allows for us to be with family over the holidays and for the birth. DRUM ROLLLLLLLL! We have decided to have Cypress in Arkansas. [Side note: We are coming for you Panera….And no, this is not most important, but I am pregnant and I haven't had access to any of my cravings so my priorities are slightly skewed. Family, we are coming for you too.]

 Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

The craziest part? It feels weird to say "I'll be home for Christmas," because Mozambique is now home. This place I once couldn't picture myself living no matter how hard I tried, where they speak a language I couldn't utter a word in correctly, where I knew no one is now not just where I live, but HOME. God is so good to not just call us, but to lead us and to settle us. And this doesn't just apply to missionaries; it's for everyone in every situation. It's for you.

Are you trying to feel at home in a new job, city, stage of life? With the holidays around the corner, are feeling alone and isolated? Comment below or email us at xamarlin@me.com. We'd love to pray for you. 

P.S. Now to just decide on where exactly Cypress will be born and who will deliver her!!! Can you say a prayer with us about those details?