My baby sister got married this weekend! She was beautiful, the wedding was beautiful, marriage is beautiful. I love weddings, and in the spirit of my sister’s recent wedding, I wanted to do a post on the most important things I’ve learned since my wedding.
On March 5th, we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. My goodness, it went by so fast.
No wonder it’s such a blur, we have done so much in the last 5 years. We got married in March of 2011, and then in October 2011 we moved from Tampa to Orlando for my husband’s job. In January 2012, I got pregnant with our oldest, and he was born in September of 2012. Then, in January of 2013, we moved from Orlando to Charlotte, NC. We bought a house in December of 2013, and then I got pregnant with our youngest in March of 2014. He was born in November 2014, and then in September of 2015 we moved from Charlotte to Nashville, TN. In 5 years we’ve had 3 fairly big moves, 2 babies, bought one house, sold 2 houses, had 4 different jobs, and countless ups and downs.
After the wedding, everything changes. Most of us girls dream about our wedding day for such a long time while we’re growing up. We think about what it’ll be like, what we will be wearing, who the groom will be… I always thought mine would be Jon Bon Jovi. I guess I was just a little off.
The weeks and months leading up to the wedding are made up of building anticipation and emotion. It’s real, it’s happening. We spend so long planning our weddings, yet not much time planning our marriages.
The wedding day is perfect, regardless of whether things went the way you wanted them to or not. The bride is stunning (dang, self, look at you!) and the groom is dapper in that tux. What a hunk!
You walk down the aisle toward your soon-to-be husband, and the world seems to just focus on the two of you. This is the day you’ve been waiting for, for so long. It’s here, you’re becoming a wife. And you’re gaining a husband. you’re becoming a team.
…Wait, what? Well, yeah, that makes sense. But I guess I didn’t think too much past the wedding day. I knew the day after would come, but I was so focused on the day itself and all of the details involved, and the time it demanded from me, that I didn’t have the time to think past it.
So now what?
Y’all are probably like “didn’t this crazy woman take premarital counseling?! They talk about how to prepare for marriage there!” Well, yes. We did take premarital counseling. And it went perfectly. We had such an amazing plan for our future, and how we were going to handle arguments and finances and decisions… it was perfect. But then we actually got married.
So here are some things that I have learned about marriage over the past 5 years that have worked for us:
- Always choose love. Oh man, there are some days we drive each other nuts. I mean straight up nuts. Maybe you just didn’t sleep well the night before because your husband was snoring and you had to hold yourself back from pushing him off the bed… Oh you’ve never thought that? Yeah, me neither. But if we don’t choose love, especially on those days, then the love will find somewhere else to live. Falling in love is a feeling, staying in love is a choice. Some days it’s harder than others, but every day it’s worth it.
- Pray together. We didn’t do this at the beginning of our marriage, but since we started a few years ago, it has helped tremendously. There is just something indescribably intimate about talking to God about your hopes, fears, and dreams, out loud in front of your spouse. You are at your most vulnerable, and they are there supporting you and opening themselves up too.
- Happiness is also a choice. There are things that will irk you. Like how it seems that they always put their dirty dishes into the sink instead of the perfectly empty dirty dishwasher….. or something like that, I assume. I mean, maybe if your spouse does that. 😉 Sometimes they will straight up make you mad. And there will be times where you just go through weeks that are just blah. But you can still find happiness there. One of my favorite quotes about marriage came from the Sex and the City Movie. (Not what you were expecting, huh?) But hear me out- the girls were discussing their relationships, and Miranda was talking about how the last time she could remember being happy was 6 months ago. She asked Charlotte when the last time that she was happy in her marriage was, and Charlotte’s reply was “every day”. Miranda looked shocked, and said “you’re happy every day?!” and Charlotte responded “not all day, every day. But every day.”
- Be supportive. Sometimes, all they want to do is tell you about their day. If you aren’t at a place where you can fully focus on what they are saying, then either stop what you’re doing, or find time later to continue the conversation with your undivided attention. If your spouse feels like you don’t care about what they have to say, then they’ll eventually start talking to someone else. Even as innocent as this may seem, it’s very bad for your marriage. Your spouse should feel 100% comfortable talking to you, and should never feel like they can tell someone else (especially of the opposite sex) something that they can’t tell you. That can open up all kinds of issues. Be intentional about listening, be supportive of their dreams, and ask how you can help them achieve them. Work together on setting goals, and I mean actually writing them out. That way, you can truly picture where you want to get from where you are currently!
- Remain united. This one is really difficult because so often, there are people that interfere in your marriage. It could be a single friend that wants you to go out with them regularly, it could be in the form of (hopefully well-meaning) parents, or it could even just be kids being kids. Those kids, I’m telling you. They come out of the womb with one mission; divide and conquer. Well, that and ‘seek and destroy’. Regardless of who the third party is or what their intentions are, you must remain a united front. Your marriage is sacred, and it can’t be left vulnerable. Have each other’s backs all the time, and only discuss doubts in private. Never talk bad about your spouse in front of anyone. You may be in a fight right now, but you’ll forgive him. Your friend or family member may not be able to so easily.
- Forgive each other. Sooner or later, you are going to let each other down. That’s what you get when 2 sinners get married. Everyone brings in their own baggage, and disappointment happens. Forgiveness is a command from God. It’s not a suggestion, we are told to forgive. If we want to be forgiven, we can’t withhold it from other people. And yes, we do things that require forgiveness too. Maybe not as often…. (kidding!)
- Don’t stop having fun. Once life sets in after the wedding, it can sometimes feel like a huge letdown. Everything settles, the photos come in, and all of a sudden, it’s just the two of you doing things like laundry and grocery shopping. If you just let the mundane take over, then everything is going to feel like it’s lost it’s spark. Keep having fun, travel, go on dates, make each other laugh, be silly, and it will make all the boring parts (paying bills, anyone?) of marriage so much better. We are champions at playfully mocking our kids. They’re young so they don’t get it, but it keeps us seriously entertained. Don’t judge, we’re awesome at it.
- Have lots of sex. (Sorry, mom, if you’re reading this!) I’ve touched on this topic before a bit and I’ll just touch on it again. There is a reason that God created sex for marriage, and it really bonds two people together. Women have a whole different need for sex than men do, but both need it to remain close. Y’all, this book is a fantastic book for married couples, and I highly suggest it. It just gives you a more complete understanding of the way the husband and wife both work and why sex is as important as it is. Plus, it helps with the having fun part in the marriage, right? (Again, sorry mom.)
- Bickering helps. This may not ring true for every relationship, but bickering helps us. The reason that I stand behind this is because we really don’t disagree a lot, so if we were bickering constantly then it may not be the same. But when one of us disagrees with the other, we (respectfully) bicker about it, getting all of our feelings out on the table. This doesn’t allow for any negative feelings to start getting pent up inside, because everything comes out in the moment. It helps to avoid big fights because there are 6 months of hurt feelings about to blow up because they’ve been held in for too long without being resolved. So we bicker, and we either solve it or agree to disagree, and then we move on. Most likely to whatever’s on Netflix.
There are probably so many more things that I’ve forgotten, and I’d love to hear your tips too, if you have any! The thing I love best about having a community is how we can help and build on each other. So what advice do you usually give newlyweds?