Thursday, November 17, 2011

12 Guest Post: Ten Things I’ve Learned in the First Year of Marriage

My sweet sister in law, Emily, is guest blogging today and sharing reflections of her first year of marriage (and is sharing a pretty amazing dessert!) I picked some of my favorite pictures to include with her post! Enjoy! 

Ten Things I’ve Learned in the First Year of Marriage
            One year ago, my husband Parker (Elizabeth’s brother) and I were walking down the aisle into the world of marriage.  He was my dream come true, my knight in shining armor, more special than I could ever have imagined my husband to be. Our pre-marriage counselor warned us against picturing marriage as a fairytale romance where everything goes smoothly.  As wonderful as the first year has been, we have both needed lots of grace along this journey.  Many of you reading this post may be in different stages of life- single, divorced, married many years, or engaged.  I hope this is insightful for whatever phase of life you are in. Here goes!
1.      1. Marriage is like a mirror. There is no greater reflection of your good, bad, and ugly sides than marriage. My husband sees me at my best… and at my worst. God gently shows us areas that need refinement through our marriage. 
2.      2. We must spend time together for our relationship to grow. One of the best pieces of advice came from my sister Lauren who challenged us during our first year of marriage not to commit to a million different activities. As my husband and I both are recovering over-committers, this was difficult. But it truly paid off. If nothing else, we have committed to one date night per week. This can be as simple as taking a long walk together. 
3.      3. Men have selective hearing… especially when ESPN is within sight.
4.      4. There is an art to arguing. My husband could have made a great lawyer. He gets energized from discussing different facets of a case. I, on the other hand, shut down when conflict arises. We have learned to meet each other’s needs in this part of marriage. Over time, he has learned to be a better listener, and I a better communicator.
5.    5. My husband and I have very different shopping strategies. He likes to “hunt” for clothes. He has a specific want, sees it, targets it, goes for the kill, and runs away with his prize. I, on the contrary, am a “gatherer.” I look online at many different options, then go to the store and browse prices and styles. I will try on 10 different items, buy 3 and take back 2 after taking them home and deciding they either don’t look that good or aren’t cost-effective.
6.      6. Men love to be respected. This may look different for each man. For my man, this means verbal affirmation. I cannot tell him enough how much I think of him and how much he means to me.
7.      7. God is faithful. With all of our uncertainties of how our first year would go, he has been faithful in softening us in conflict and reflecting who he is. He sustains our marriage even when we don’t. 
8.      8. Men like things simple. Period.
9.     9. My obedience to God in being a good wife to Parker cannot depend on his actions. This is a hard concept to grasp as we often want to react to our spouse’s actions, good or bad. Christ’s love for us is unconditional and he gave us grace when we did not deserve it; therefore, I have the freedom to do the same.
10 10. The way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach… which leads me to one of my hubby’s favorite desserts. I made this two Thanksgivings ago and it has become a family favorite. 
Double-Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust and Brandy-Caramel Sauce
From Southern Living Recipes
Cornmeal Crust Dough
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chilled shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 to 10 Tbsp. chilled apple cider
1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Mound mixture on 1 side of bowl.
2. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. apple cider along edge of mixture in bowl. Using a fork, gently toss a small amount of flour mixture into cider just until dry ingredients are moistened; move mixture to other side of bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining cider and flour mixture.
3. Gently gather dough into two flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Double Apple Pie
2 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples
2 1/4 pounds Braeburn apples
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons apple jelly
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
Wax paper
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and core apples; cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Place apples in a large bowl. Stir in next 7 ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.
2. Place 1 Cornmeal Crust Dough disk on a lightly floured piece of wax paper; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Top with another sheet of wax paper. Roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness (about 11 inches wide).
3. Remove and discard top sheet of wax paper. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around rolling pin, separating dough from bottom sheet of wax paper as you roll. Discard bottom sheet of wax paper. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch glass pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Gently press dough into pie plate.
4. Stir apple mixture; reserve 1 Tbsp. juices. Spoon apples into crust, packing tightly and mounding in center. Pour remaining juices in bowl over apples. Sprinkle apples with 3 Tbsp. sugar; dot with butter.
5. Roll remaining Cornmeal Crust Dough disk as directed in Step 2, rolling dough to about 1/8-inch thickness (13 inches wide). Remove and discard wax paper, and place dough over filling; fold edges under, sealing to bottom crust, and crimp. Brush top of pie, excluding fluted edges, lightly with reserved 1 Tbsp. juices from apples; sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar. Place pie on a jelly-roll pan. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.
6. Bake at 425° on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; transfer pie to middle oven rack, and bake 35 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 30 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly, crust is golden brown, and apples are tender when pierced with a long wooden pick through slits in crust. Remove to a wire rack. Cool 1 1/2 to 2 hours before serving. Serve with Brandy-Caramel Sauce.
Brandy Caramel Sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar 
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons brandy*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Bring whipping cream to a light boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, brandy, and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
*Apple cider may be substituted.
Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. To reheat, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Place mixture in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.
Southern Living
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  1. Precious post - thanks for sharing! And that apple pie looks to die for!

  2. This is a wonderful post, thank you for sharing! And wow that apple pie looks delicious!

  3. I love BOTH of my sisters so much! Emily, thanks for sharing these beautiful bits of wisdom. And Elizabeth, thanks for using your blog to bless so many. xo, The Next Dalton Bride :)

  4. Aww this is such a sweet post! Emily you are so right on about what you learned about marriage! Love this recipe too!

  5. She is too cute Elizabeth! You have the best sister-in-laws!!! :)

  6. A lovely post and that apple pie looks delicious!!

  7. I love this! And is Parker playing for the Dodgers??? If so, where have I been??

  8. What a great post! I definitely learned a lot of these things in my first year of marriage too.

    I just stumbled across your blog and I love it! New follower :)


  9. Great post!! I think this is excellent advice, sounds like you have had a wonderful first year of marriage!

  10. they are such a precious couple. I love them both! She is wise, always has been. #4 was very helpful. Thanks Em & Eliz!


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