Around this time three years ago, I was busy preparing for one of the biggest days of my life. My wedding was just around the corner, so my schedule was filled with RSVPs, last-minute dress alterations, music selections, and table seating assignments. I was excited but also scared. In fact, you might say I was planning for the worst.

In the years leading up to my wedding, I had been consistently warned about the first year of marriage. I had heard that it would be difficult, that the transition would be challenging, and that I would sometimes wonder if I had married the right person. I had sat through numerous wedding homilies in which the pastor spoke of inevitable marital strife. And I listened with dread as older couples foretold the trials ahead.

As a result, I entered marriage with joy—but also with no small amount of fear and trembling. I loved my husband and thought the world of him, so I shuddered at the thought that my feelings could change.

Based on this "advice" before our wedding day, I spent my first year of marriage anxiously waiting for the shoe to drop. Any day now! I thought. One of these days I will wake up next to him and second-guess our decision to marry. Any day now we will find ourselves in a knockdown, drag-out fight in which we are shrieking and throwing our wedding bands at one another.

The day never arrived. My first year of marriage came and went without a hitch. In fact, it was wonderful. We worked hard on our marriage, sure, but I also loved it.

Our marital bliss only invited further input from older couples. "Our second year was actually harder than the first," some would explain. So rather than live in the present joy of marriage, I resumed a defensive posture, waiting for the difficulties ...

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