One year of marriage in the books… what a milestone! Not only have you survived the first year of marriage, but hopefully you thrived!
The first year is probably the most amazing time because –> A, you are now one flesh and connected in a way that you cannot be with anyone else and B, you now have a best friend to navigate this life with.
Even through all of the good times, there is definitely a learning curve. Hindsight is 20/20, and there are things we wish we knew before that first year!
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One thing that helps me with these marriage-related posts, is asking my husband what he thinks!
There are two sides to this story and I want to give a special thank you to him for collaborating with me on this. This is such an exciting thing to be able to feature his thoughts on the blog, specifically 6 important things we have learned in our first year of marriage.
1. Prepare for Marriage, Before Marriage:
When we got to the point where we knew marriage would be in our future, we began to read. A lot.
We studied many marriage books (see the bottom of this post for resources) because having a God-honoring marriage was the most important thing to us. Some ways we prepared:
- We probably read Ephesians 5:22-33 thousands of times.
- Nick and I dug into God’s Word to truly understand what HIS purpose for marriage was and then tried to mold that image onto our relationship.
- The main thing we did was protect each other and treat each other as a brother/sister in Christ until the day of our wedding. We did NOT have sex until our wedding night. The temptation was there in a very real way, but by focusing on things we could do to improve our relationship and by God’s grace we remained pure until that night.
This is also a good time to talk about things in your past and be completely transparent with one another. I love this list of conversation starters and questions!
There are 365… yep, you read that right! One for every day of the year, and by the time to get to the end you can go through them again and see how your answers have changed.
2. You Married the Other Person Because You Love That Person:
Wow, way to state the obvious right? Hear me out!
Sometimes in our marriages, we get upset at each other or as Nick likes to call it, “heated fellowship.” It is easy to assume in the heat of an argument, “Well he/she doesn’t care about anything I am feeling/saying/doing” and write off the other person as uncaring, or disrespectful.
How many of you wake up every morning thinking, “What can I do to hurt my spouse today?” Of course, you don’t! We have to remember that our spouse has only goodwill towards us, otherwise, we would not have married that person.
However, we realize that we are all imperfect people, and this is why we need a Savior.
The Holy Spirit reminds us of these things, and this only happens when we are in communion with Him every day.
We definitely are not perfect, but do notice a difference in our responses when we are practicing this.
3. Your Spouse Isn’t a Mind Reader:
This one is pretty self-explanatory; unfortunately, my husband and I both need the explaining from time to time.
I don’t know about you all, but neither of us was born with the gift of mind-reading.
This was definitely a big struggle for early in our marriage. I would expect cute love notes everywhere, every day, undivided attention, and him to know everything I was thinking and feeling… without telling him.
Imagine someone asking to make you a batch of cookies, without giving you any sort of recipe. You can try, and maybe even do well, but most likely you will fail to give them the exact type of cookies they wanted.
They are then upset because the cookies were nothing like they expected! Are you surprised?
We set these unfair expectations on our spouse without communicating to them, and then are hurt when they are unmet. I should have communicated to Nick things that would make me feel loved, but know he loves me regardless of whether those things happened or not.
Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who can meet every need you have, not our spouses! Clear and honest communication is the key here because no one is a mind reader!
4. God Made You and Your Spouse to be Different
God created everyone in his image; no one person is alike, especially when it comes to males and females. Can I get an Amen?!
We are created so differently, and that is the beauty in marriage. God knew what a man needed, and what a woman needed, and created both of us to perfectly come together under Him. Nick and I found a common interest in our love for the Lord, and are now glorifying Him together.
With that being said, we are two VERY different people. So how can we both be right?
In the book Love & Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs, he talks about how men see and hear through blue sunglasses/hearing aids, and women see and hear through pink sunglasses/hearing aids. We both think differently and feel differently about certain situations.
For example, Nick truly enjoys shoulder-to-shoulder companionship, such as watching movies together, going to the grocery store together, or attending sporting events. He genuinely enjoys my company.
On the other hand, I enjoy sitting in a quiet spot and wanting to talk about anything and everything, with no distractions. Is either of these desires wrong? No! We just have different needs that we desire to have met.
Being so different allows us to complement each other in so many ways.
Nick is so generous and helps me to be more giving, something I am not naturally good at. I tend to be more organized and keep track of certain things, something that doesn’t come naturally to him. The Lord uses things like these to grow us as a couple every single day.
5. Don’t Stress Over Money:
Most people say the two biggest causes of stress in marriage are these –> Sex and Money. The devil loves nothing more than seeing things like these divide a marriage.
I do want to get one thing straight… Money in itself is not evil.
We do need it to live and exist in this world. The issue is when it causes tension in our marriages.
1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.”
Jesus even says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the other and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Don’t let the love of money, whether it be wanting more of it or worried about not having enough, cause you grief, especially in your marriage.
There have been many times where Nick and I were worried we wouldn’t have the finances we needed for whatever situation it was, but the Lord has always made sure it was there. Give your 10% tithe, bless others, and you will be blessed.
6. Remember, It’s Not About Me
Say this out loud with me, “It’s not about me.”
One more time. Great!
Sometimes in marriage, we think, “I can’t believe I am being treated this way,” and then BAM!
We use that thought to justify a hurtful response towards our spouse.
We justify our responses with “it isn’t fair” or “we didn’t deserve that” but let’s just stop and think.
What do we really deserve and what’s really fair?
It isn’t fair that Jesus Christ had to be tortured and hung on a cross to die for the sins we committed. He didn’t deserve to die, but He chose to because of His great love for us.
We deserved Hell, but instead we get Heaven.
God offers us grace and forgiveness when we mess up; shouldn’t we offer the same to our spouses? If two people in a marriage both choose to think this way –> it’s not about me <– and respond in obedience to Christ, our marriages would probably be filled with more joy and less bitterness.
Bitterness is the disease that kills a marriage quicker than any other. Satan will use that to consume you and allow you to think it is okay to sin because of how your spouse responded to you.
The truth is, it is ALL about Jesus Christ, and we get to love our spouses because of the way He loves us.
These 6 things have helped us so much, and it doesn’t stop after year one! We are continually learning and putting these things into practice every day.
Reading these as a single person is also a great way to prepare yourself for when the time comes too.