I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here!  Here, you'll find inspirational and encouraging stories of me and other broken people like me. We are all jars of clay who have been afflicted in every way, but not crushed...struck down by not destroyed.  Here, you do NOT have the right to remain silent, so as you read, grab your favorite snack and drink and leave a comment...share YOUR story. I can't wait to connect with you in this beautiful safe space. 

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Encouragement, Family, Marriage, TeamHarris, The Wives Club

November 6, 2015


It’s Team Harris’ first anniversary!!

I must have went into a deep sleep, because I seriously can’t believe it’s been a year already. While our big wedding celebration was only a few months ago, as of today, Team Harris has officially been married for a year. Wow. Just to see that written down in black and white makes the butterflies in my stomach begin to flutter. Where the HECK did the time go??!?!

Alaska Elopements | Anchorage Alaska | Sachel Samone Photography | Women's Portrait and Elopement PhotographerSince becoming Mrs. Harris, so much has happened that has forced me to really grow up. I’ve never cried so many tears of frustration, screamed so much, and laughed so much in my life. Like..EVER. Marriage is an adventure…the sweetest rollercoaster ride you’ll ever experience. When it’s done in God’s timing, marriage is one of the greatest testimonies of your life. With that being said, marriage isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. While it is an incredible blessing, it is also very….HARD.

To be honest, I never believed people when they told me that the first year was the hardest. Girlfriend let me tell you….EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM. WAS. RIGHT. The first year of marriage will try your ENTIRE LIFE. Seriously your heart, mind, body, spirit and soul will go THROUGH IT. You will learn things about your spouse that will shock the heck out of you and you will be reminded of traits in yourself that you buried so deep down that even you forgot you had them. Being married to Ethan has not only forced me to grow within myself in ways I didn’t think possible, it has shown me just how strong we are as a couple. Our marriage is living proof that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known each other, how long you dated or how much you love each other…you will never know how strong you are as a unit until after you’re married.

Alaska Elopements | Anchorage Alaska | Sachel Samone Photography | Women's Portrait and Elopement Photographer

I am by NO means an expert on marriage nor am I saying that the things that have worked for me so far will work for you, but here are a few things I’ve both been reminded of  and discovered over this past year:

1.There is NOTHING like Prayer. 

Chiiiiilllllleeeee….listen here. Can I tell you something? Ethan, myself and our marriage stay at the TOP of my prayer list. This marriage wouldn’t exist without it. For us, divorce isn’t an option. It’s just not. Period. So when times get rough, prayer allows me to just talk to God in ways Ethan wouldn’t understand and even in the good times, prayer humbles me and helps me to remain grateful for the blessing I have in him. As a wife, I’ve seen that when I pray for Ethan separately, great things happen. It overwhelms me with peace and allows me to keep my eyes on the bigger picture. But even better than that, praying TOGETHER just does something for our souls. It brings us closer together in ways that I can’t even begin to explain. Throughout this year, we’ve had to learn the art of compromise. We’ve had learn what it means to sacrifice. We’ve learned what it means to truly forgive. All that stems from prayer. I really believe a lot of our disagreements haven’t blown up because of prayer. Once we got married, I begin to see all kinds of spiritual attacks on us.I mean y’all…the devil TRIES. IT. Since getting married, we’ve felt with family negativity, work issues and SO MUCH MORE. Plain and simple, prayer is the biggest weapon in our arsenal. You’re going to go through trials and tribulations, but when you pray your way through…I’m telling you God will DO IT honey! But don’t forget to pray and give thanks during the happy times as well. Because trust me…God did that too.

2.Counseling does not stop after you say “I do.”

If you went through pre-marital counseling before you got married, I’m sure you can agree with this. If you’re engaged to be married, this is an important thing to recognize. Pre-marital counseling is great. When Ethan and I went through it, I definitely learned some things and while it did better prepare me for marriage, the truth is…no person on this earth can 100% fully prepare you for marriage. A lot of marriage is on-the-job training and as you discover the ins and outs of your new job, you will need someone to talk to. Not a friend who will be biased to you and definitely not your family members. Doing check-ins with your counselor, however frequently you deem necessary, is not only a great thing, but it will help you keep your sanity and understand each other in ways you two quite honestly…just can’t see.Ethan and I have endured a lot of hard moments throughout this year. And I do mean ALOT. And while I’ve always prided myself on being a great listener when it came to him, I’ve actually learned that I’m really not. In fact, I’m actually a really really great talker. What counseling has done for us has helped us to really learn how to effectively communicate with each other. A lot of people may automatically think that when you go see a counselor, something is wrong, but I just don’t think that’s true. Your marriage machine may be very well-oiled and running smoothly, but counseling can definitely help keep it running smoothly. The way I see it, counseling isn’t just for fixing things that are broken..it’s also to keep things from becoming broken.

3. Your husband is no Angel…and YOU ma’am are no Saint either.

Ok, this is a big one for me. When we got married, I’m not going to lie…I totally expected for Ethan to be perfect. I mean c’mon….he’s known me for SO long!! Surely, he knows what pushes my buttons and what it takes to really keep me happy. Boy was I wrong…not in a bad way, but more of “snap back to reality” kind of way. James 3:2 really reminded me of that:

“And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths…”

Ethan is my husband and I love him to pieces, but he is not perfect. Only one perfect man has ever walked this earth and last time I checked, “Jesus Christ, Son of God” was not listed on my marriage license. Ethan is a man…a man who has disappointed me in the past year and will disappoint me in the years to come. And while we’re at it, I have disappointed and will continue to disappoint him too. I’m just as imperfect. I come with weaknesses and I definitely have my fair share of faults. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve known each other, the truth is, we’re getting to know each other on a whole other level: as husband and wife and with that comes a lot of FORGIVENESS. YES CHILE…FORGIVENESS..on a DAILY basis. 🙂  I truly believe God is using the reality of us living with each other to teach us how to grow in patience, understanding and forgiveness. In realizing just how imperfect we are, I’m beginning to learn to move past it, accept it and appreciate both him and myself more for who we are and for what we do.

Alaska Elopements | Anchorage Alaska | Sachel Samone Photography | Women's Portrait and Elopement Photographer

4. You are allowed to set boundaries… 

and you shouldn’t feel bad for doing so. Just because you’re married, doesn’t mean you earn a free pass to say and do whatever you want to your spouse. Maintaining respect is completely necessary. That’s the only way you two can really thrive together. Sometimes husbae gets the side eye. Other nights, he looks at me like I just did the dumbest thing in the world. But no matter what, once the respect is gone, it’s easy for everything to snowball out of control…so don’t let it disappear. Set boundaries on how you will argue, how you will make decisions together and what you will and will not tolerate from each other as husband and wife. If you completed premarital counseling, you may have done this already, but hey…there’s nothing wrong dropping a reminder every once in a while.

The same thing goes for your family. I’m the oldest of three girls…it’s literally been my mom and her girls for years and even though she’s known Ethan since he was child, it’s still been an adjustment as she realizes I’m no longer just her child, but someone’s wife. I’m not as available as I was before and my priorities have shifted. Don’t get me wrong, loving your family and having their support is essential. I love my family and sisters like no other. I also know there is no group of people who can bring out the “people pleaser” in you like family. But remember that you two are each other’s forever #1 priorities. I have had to learn how to set boundaries and sometimes it is in fact easier said than done. Your family will need time to adjust to the fact that they are no longer your top priority. And you know what? That’s completely understandable and totally ok.

5. Money becomes a terrifying issue.

Sharing money is scary. Seriously, nothing makes you feel more like a grown-up than having a joint account. The associated problems of budgeting and determining what is fair spending and saving can be a headache when you are getting used to your spouse in those first few months. It’s no longer just about me and my love for all things travel and retail therapy. It’s not about Ethan and his love of watches and video games. It’s now about us doing what’s best for our family and future children. Some things have to be sacrificed and sometimes that can be hard if you can’t see the bigger picture. I’ve learned that sharing money is one of the greatest ways to really evaluate if I’m thinking like a “me” instead of a “we.”

6. The art of Compromise.

Ethan and I grew up in very different households. SO naturally, as alike as we can be, we have different ways of dealing with finances, disagreements, household chores, etc. For the first few months, we tried so hard to get each other to do things the way WE liked it, that we would end up arguing over “why your way is wrong!” Learning how not to sweat the small stuff means letting go of “my way.” It means that you understand that you both have your own quirks. I mean honestly…would it REALLY RUIN YOUR DAY if you folded his shirts the way he likes it? Do you really have to fold them your way because YOU think it’s better? Husbands!! If you’re reading this, would it REALLY KILL YOU to not leave your dirty dishes in the sink after she’s already cleaned the kitchen or loaded the dishwasher? Is it really going out of either one of your ways to discuss in depth the topics of sex, careers and who does what around the home? Not everything needs to be complained about and not every argument will have a clear winner. Choose your battles carefully and spend less time arguing. Because when you spend less time arguing over who is right, you both win. 🙂

and finally,

7. Appreciate each other.

I know it’s one of those things that shouldn’t have to be said, but if you two dated for a while and got married after being together for years, it’s easy to slip into a world of complacency and begin to take each other for granted. After knowing each other for 20 years, being married to Ethan this past year has made me love and appreciate him even more. I appreciate him for who he is and what he has done. When the times get hard, remember why you got married in the first place. Recognizing the good things definitely does the spirit good.


As I said before, there is nothing on this earth that compare to being married. It’s the greatest joy to be able to be Mrs. Team Harris and to have a permanent sleepover with my best friend. But it’s not all sunshine. When people ask me “how’s married life?” I look at them and tell them “It’s amazing…but it is HARD!!” But like everything else worth having, it’s worth fighting for and putting my energy into. When you get married, at times, you will get angry. You are going to be sinned against and you’re going to be frustrated. You’re going to scream because you’re not feeling heard and you’re going to secretly ask yourself if you made the right decision. But you will also laugh a lot, build incredible intimacy and strengthen a bond that NO ONE can break. You’re going to smile from ear to ear and wake up with such joy in your heart because you’re HIS wife.

If you’re currently in your first year of marriage, I’m rooting for you! If you’ve survived your first year of marriage, what pieces of advice would you like to share? C’mon now, don’t be shy! Comment below!

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