I have a sweet, precious, young friend who is getting married this summer. She’s the kind of girl who hasn’t crossed too many boundaries, even if her toes have been right up near the line. She has never lived anywhere other than her mom and dad’s house. She made a promise to God, her parents, herself, and her future husband to remain pure until marriage. Unlike so many who make the same promise, only to falter, she has kept it faithfully.
She will be a good wife. She is marrying a man who will be a good husband. They will be happy together. Though all couples are unique in their stories, there are a few things within marriage that are universal. Because no one did it for me, I decided to write my friend a letter with a few helps and hints and “well, I never would have thought of that” tips.
These are only a few of the things I've learned in almost 5 years of marriage....
• Be kind to each other. This may seem elementary, but we tend to hurt most the ones we love most. If you practice kindness daily, your marriage will benefit daily.
• Show him how to load and unload the dishwasher, how to separate and wash the clothes. Have him teach you how to unclog a clogged toilet, and change the oil in your car. You are a team. There are no “wife” chores or “husband” tasks. You are a team.
• Make it a point to know what his favorite meals are, and how to cook them well. Memorize how he takes his eggs, salad, and steak.
• It takes more time to complain that he left the toilet seat up (again) than it does to just put the toilet seat down (again).
• You will fight. You will. Do it fairly, without bringing up old fights. Resolve it quickly and move on. Also; try not to tell your mom when you fight. You will forgive each other more readily and more quickly than your parents will.
• Do not, do not let him use the bathroom with the door open. For at least 6 months. Some men do this. You don’t need to share everything. There are things you can’t unsee, or unsmell. Just. Trust me.
• Talk to each other. Again, it sounds like a no-brainer, but you will save time and effort if you will just talk to each other. Don’t assume he knows what you are thinking, and don’t try to read his mind.
• Laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at him, and laugh together. There is nothing you can’t get through together, and it is always easier when you do it in joy.
• The most intricate parts of intimacy will come eventually. Every aspect of your marriage (especially the newest parts) will grow and change and mature with time. Don’t worry if things don’t, um, fit at the beginning. (See also: Try, Try Again) Be patient with each other. And have fun. *wink wink*
• Spend time apart. You are two souls united together, but that does not mean you must be inseparable. Cultivate your own interests; you will bring more to the marriage if you are engaged in other ways.
• Pray together. Pray out loud together, pray silently together. Also, read and study the Bible together. The foundation of your relationship with your husband is your relationship with the Lord. If one suffers, the other will too.
• Maintain only one checking account. Hold each other accountable with your finances. There is no “my” money and “your” money, only “ours.” Pay bills together, make a budget, stick to it. And write it all down.
• Try to hold off on the baby-makin’. If you can, give yourselves at least a year before getting pregnant. You need to walk with each other through each of the seasons before adding another little someone to the mix.
• Establish routines and traditions; even if they are small. It is corny and clichéd, but every moment is an opportunity for a memory.
• Cherish this new adventure for what it is. You are young and beautiful and in love. You have found the one whom your soul loves, and together you are beginning an amazing new journey. There will be hard times and there will be joyful times, and you will cry through both. Keep Christ in the center of your relationship; go to Scripture before you go to your best friend. Know that your husband is the spiritual leader of your home, and also know that your most important role is as his supporter and encourager. You are his bride, his beloved, and he is to treat you as Christ treats the Church. If you consistently put each other first, no one’s needs go unmet. Be gentle with each other. Be honest with each other. Be each other’s biggest fan. Continue to date each other. Forgive each other quickly. Enjoy each other.
• You will figure this out as you go. People will offer you (unsolicited) advice. Take what you want, toss the rest. Those wedding bands do not come with superpowers- you will figure this out as you go.
So, what's the best advice you give to newlyweds?