I don’t know about any of ya’ll, but I’m getting slightly tired of all of the political banter that’s been passing through Facebook, despite my support and vote for President Trump. I actually began to write a post originally about politics and Christianity, but I felt it would do nothing, but incite arguments and fighting, which is just childish.
So, in light of this, and the fact that I know people who are getting married this year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what my wife and I learned in our first year of marriage. I find it to be of the utmost importance to understand what you’ll expect because the first year of marriage is one of the hardest you’ll have. Seriously.
Lesson #1: Intimacy is nothing like the movies!
If there is anything that I hope you take out of this, it’s this, fellow soon-to-be-married couples: Hollywood has deceived you! Intimacy is nothing close to what the movies show, especially if you have both abstained from sex until marriage like we did. It’s awkward and harrowing to start with, honestly. It’s very difficult in the course of a few hours to engage in one of the most beautiful displays of love God created for us simply because you are now married! You or your spouse may have self-esteem issues and guess what? That’s okay! Reassure and compliment each other. One of the most beautiful comparisons I ever saw about seeing your spouse intimately for the first time is that it is like unwrapping a gift, especially since you don’t necessarily know what lies underneath. God beautifully designed our spouses and we ought to appreciate it! And if things don’t work out like you planned intimacy-speaking on your wedding night, don’t fret. Practice makes perfect as does communication and patience, LOTS. OF. PATIENCE. And when it finally does “work,” it’ll be awesome on a level so much deeper than the physical one that comes to mind; it is a spiritual and emotional experience as well that bonds you with your spouse in a way that only you can bond with them in.
Lesson #2: You’ll likely struggle financially!
Money was pretty tight when we got married. We were both still in college our first year (though I graduated six months after) and it was tough. We never had to borrow money from our parents for bills or anything, but we had to adjust to living more frugally and not splurging. It got easier as we learned to budget and when and how to save money. You will fight about money; every couple does! However, have a budget worked out prior to marriage and stick to it and you will be much more prepared than we were.
Lesson #3: Living together is a huge adjustment.
We never lived together before marriage as we desired to honor God in our decisions concerning our relationship. Let me say this: living together as a newlywed couple really sucks. Not at first, though. At first, you’re still on the honeymoon phase. It doesn’t last long when you find out your spouse is leaving dirty dishes around the house, clean clothes on the bed or in the dryer, or when your spouse sees that you aren’t taking care of your part of the chores. Fights will happen, tears will fall, but realize that communication is key. Before marriage, make a plan. It will not stick, but try and understand your expectations for each other as best you can. This will save a lot of fights and make life more peaceful.
Lesson #4: Divorce will run through your mind, if not be verbalized, at least once.
This is one I was hesitant to write, but if no one else is going to say it, I will. You will contemplate divorce your first year of marriage. You will probably say it to one another. It hurts. A lot. You’re probably reading this and thinking, “Why would I ever say such a thing?” When you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on issues, such as those in Lesson #3, you get upset, frustrated, and begin to wonder if you made a huge mistake. You didn’t, I promise. You’re just getting used to each other. Kiss and make-up. Seriously.
Lesson #5: Cooking is hard.
But don’t give up! It took us forever to learn how to cook (edible) food. I am quite pleased with the repertoire I can create now, especially chicken-based dishes and Japanese food. Two things I will HIGHLY recommend: first, I get nearly all of my recipes from here. All Recipes has great recipes and the comments under the recipes will help you perfect your dishes. Never have had a bad recipe from there! Second, invest in a good set of kitchenware. I would recommend getting a dutch oven, a Crockpot, a skillet (the bigger, the better), a griddle, glass (not plastic!) containers with lids (Pyrex is the best in this), a whisk, a spatula, knives (steak, serrated, and butcher), cutting board(s), and whatever else you may need. However, those that I listed have been nothing short of phenomenal to my cooking of a variety of dishes.
Lesson #6: Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Self-explanatory. Communicate with each other. You cannot read each others’ minds. Don’t make assumptions. You know what assuming does!
Lesson #7: Don’t ever go to bed angry at each other.
I cannot stress this enough. Nothing is worse than going to bed angry at each other. Well, take that back: you/your spouse going to bed angry while the other goes to bed on the couch. Work out your problems before you go to sleep. It’ll make things better. Plus, it’s biblical (Ephesians 4:26)!
Lesson #8: Always compliment and flirt with each other.
Make your spouse feel good about themselves. With all of the above things going on, you and your spouse need to remember why you fell for each other and what makes you attracted to each other. For my wife, it’s hearing me tell her that she’s beautiful and that she’s a fantastic wife (which she is both!). Make your spouse feel loved, even when it’s hard to love them.
Lesson #9: Always say “I love you.”
Never forget that love holds you two together. I always tell each other that you love each other, even if you say it 3483048230843084 times a day. Like after phone calls, before bed, when you wake up, when you go to work, when you send cute texts throughout the day. No spouse will get tired of hearing this. This goes hand and hand with Lesson #8.
Lesson #10: Allow God to be the foundation of your marriage.
God created marriage because He knew that man needed a companion. Adam was lonely without Eve and she meant the world to him! God intended for marriage to be for His glory and we ought to honor God in our marriages as such. Having Him as the foundation ensures that we will do as we are commanded: love each other more than ourselves (Ephesians 5:22-33). This includes wives respecting their husbands and husbands loving their wives. Practicing this will grant you a happier marriage. One more thing!
Treat your spouse with honor or God will ignore your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).