This is the final article in the five-article Valentine's Day Series that has published Feb. 7-11.
There are many "firsts" in that first year of marriage, and today we meet Selah, 24, and Trey, 27, Hicks who are about to celebrate their first-ever Valentine's Day together as newly-weds. The two reflect back on their past eight months of marriage, which wasn't all "rainbows and unicorns" as they anticipated, but say their friendship and love for one another has made every bump in the road worth it.
After catching one another's eye in the gym, Selah and Trey officially met through mutual friends in 2019. The two conversed back and forth over the phone for weeks before actually meeting. The first time they met was in an AMC parking lot for Selah to give Trey a painting of his favorite superheroes she made for his birthday. She was hesitant to give this stranger she had a crush on such an intimate gift, and he was hesitant to take it, but they both gave it a shot. They ended up talking for hours in that parking lot, and from then on have been inseparable.
Selah and Trey dated a year and a half before getting engaged, and two years from the day they met in that parking lot they married.
"I could see that we like level each other out in ways," Trey said. "... I'm more of the calm and collected most of the time and she can bring that more energetic side out and I can help her to calm down.
"I don't know, it just seemed like pieces to the puzzle and they were kind of coming together. And the more time that went by for me, it was kind of just like, OK, I can see this flourishing into something that's going to be really amazing."
"Anybody really that I came in contact with, they always said to me marry your best friend," Selah said. "Like that was like the biggest thing. ... And a lot of the guys I dated previously I've always had a big heart and so much love for each and every single one of them, and always considered them to be a best friend at some point ... and I think what was different with Trey was like ... not a day goes by where we don't miss being with each other."
The First Year
"It hasn't even been a year yet, but this first year of being married has been extremely challenging," Selah said. "I did not expect our first year of marriage to be this challenging, I really expected it to be like rainbows and unicorns, but it hasn't been.
"But we love each other and we're making the most of it and we're having fun. ... I feel like I see a lot of people on social media and they get married and it's like easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy the whole time until it gets to their third or fourth year and then it gets challenging, or until they have kids or whatever.
"And when our first year hit and I was like holy crap this is not easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy; we don't even have kids, we have dogs, and I was just like this is crazy. So I mean everybody's experience is so different, but that's been our biggest challenge."
But no matter what challenges have arose over the past eight months, Selah said, "everyday we always say I love you and we always say you're my best friend — because we are."
"We've thought what would happen if we weren't together, and I'm like it's really hard to picture that, and I think it is for everyone, but it's like you're that much of a best friend to me that I can't," she said. "It's not even a romantic thing that you can't picture, it's literally just being together and experiencing all the fun things in life that we love that's just kind of like — I have to find a way to come back to you somehow and hangout."
One main challenge has been work life keeping them independently busy. From Trey working as a fireman at the Hot Springs Fire Department and going to school to become a paramedic, to Selah working on her start-up esthetician business, there's not much "them time."
"I think it's that separation where we haven't had that time to be around each other like we use to be, so like it definitely it like makes that connection pull away a little bit, and I think that's a huge thing," Trey said. "That's definitely the biggest thing."
"After we got back from the honeymoon it was just like one thing after another," Selah said. "And we still get time together ... we have dinner together, but when you're apart and you're so busy and you're exhausting all of you into the things that you're doing whether it's work, business, school, whatever; and then you come together, it's like, OK, I feel like I have nothing to give.
"I do, but it's like oh my gosh we're so drained, we're so de-energized if that's a word. And to be honest, for married couples who know it's like that affects your romantic life."
Selah noted it's not "like a bunch of bad things are happening," but that oftentimes it's simply the lack of connection their schedules allow.
"I feel like we've had to kind of find ways to reconnect when we got married," she said. "And that's totally normal, people do that, they go through those seasons, and I feel like right now we're in a really good season of being able to connect ... even if we only have an hour or two together."
"We definitely don't want to disregard the busy work that we're doing," she added, "because it's bringing in income and it's to better our future. ... Even though I hate him being gone all the time I'm like, OK, I have to suck it up and stop being so selfish because he's doing this to better our family and it will bring more money in the end."
In the midst of these challenges, menial frustrations start to creep in, like frustration with their unfinished home; something that could snowball quickly.
"I've had to change my mindset on the things that are negative," Selah said. "It's out of my control, there's nothing I can really do about it. I'm thankful to have a job, I'm thankful to be married to my best friend, I'm thankful to have a house even if the garden isn't finished, even if the kitchen isn't finished and we have no freaking cabinet doors."
"I think we had all these amazing things happening at the beginning of the year (of marriage)," Trey said. "Like we went on this huge family vacation, we bought a new house, we got married, went on an amazing honeymoon, and then the second half of this last year was kind of like, OK, now we're back to reality.
"... I think it will be good though. I think this is just one of those growing seasons for us individually and together, and I think we are getting through it and I think we're learning a lot through the process, and we're doing this together and I think that's the biggest thing."
One thing that has helped is they both take windows of opprotinuty to do things and be together; whether it's staying indoors on a snow day, conquering and dividing to get their home clean, making a quick grocery store run or grabbing dinner from Chili's after a stressful day.
"I think just experiencing marriage together has been the fun part, honestly," Trey said. "Like I think growing together, learning together, I think just the marriage in itself, like doing it together, has been the fun part, in my opinion. And it's like she said, it's been challenging at times, and everything, but I think for me, like I said, the fact is doing that with your best friend, I mean there's nothing else like it, really."
The Advice Given, And Taken
There have been a few valuable pieces of advice the two have received that have helped them cope with the challenges.
"No matter what happens, you're never each others enemy," Trey said. "It is a team effort and if something goes wrong, you kind of have to put your ego aside and it's not like I'm right, or you're right, and that can be hard sometimes just because as human beings we like to feel like we know if we're right or wrong ... I think it's just that understanding of we need to work on this together."
"The other thing is not going to bed angry," Selah said. "... Even if the situation, whatever it may be, is not resolved, we both try to say you know what, we can talk about this tomorrow if need be. I love you, you're my best friend and I'm so happy we're together."