Just over a year ago, my husband and I said “I do.” Like most new couples, we received lots of advice, and we welcomed what wisdom others had to share. However, one reoccurring comment troubled me: “The first year of marriage is hard.” Although I understood that we would both have adjustments to make, I didn’t like this “survivalist” mentality. After all, Jesus came so that we could have life “more abundantly” (John 10:10), and surely that concept applied to marriage, part of His design. But what did I know?
Well, I have good news. The first year of marriage doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can truly be extraordinary, but both husband and wife are responsible to each other to make it that way.
#1: Agree that you married the right person.
Once you say, “I do,” this one is signed, sealed, and delivered. In God’s eyes, that person is now the “right person” because you made a covenant before Him with this individual. You can’t make the excuse, “I married the wrong person.” The truth is that anyone you marry will disappoint or upset you at one point or another, and that reality doesn’t make him or her the “wrong person.”
In short, remove this excuse from your vocabulary. Resist the temptation to compare your spouse to any other person. It’s not a fair comparison, because you don’t know anyone’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your spouse’s. This person, complete with brokenness and beauty, is God’s plan for your life. Relish that reality and that privilege.
This person, complete with brokenness and beauty, is God’s plan for your life. Relish that reality and that privilege.Tweet
#2: Be kind and thoughtful to each other.
This one should be a no-brainer, but if the Apostle Paul felt the need to remind his readers, then more than likely we can use the reminder too. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
Marriage brings adjustments. You each bring different life experiences and personal habits into the relationship. Instead of expecting the other person to be just like you, embrace the differences. Also, make room for changes.
When we got married, James moved into my house. Realizing what a big change this would be for him, I rearranged and gave away furniture to make room for his. I also practiced saying “our home” instead of “my home” and tried to look for ways to incorporate his things.
Everyone’s situations are different, but during those first early weeks and months, be sensitive and aware of simple ways to make the transition smoother. When in doubt, ask what you can do.
#3: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
My husband and I marvel at how much other couples seem to fight. We’re redeemed sinners like every other Christian couple, but we don’t argue or yell at each other. If we disagree, we talk about it. If we’re having a bad day, we’re honest about it. If we mess up, we have to apologize.
I remember having a particularly rough day at work. Coming out of my office, I found James working on his laptop and told him straight: “It’s been a tough day, babe, and I’m pretty upset about it. Just know that it has nothing to do with you.”
Don’t make your spouse guess if you’re upset with him or not. Be transparent. Once James knew how I was feeling, he was able to lovingly support me through my emotions instead of wondering if he were somehow responsible for them.
To read the full post, visit Manna for Marriage, the blog of my friend Tami Myer, a gifted writer and marriage mentor. I’m honored to be sharing this two-part series with her readers and you.
Next time, we’ll look at more choices couples can make to get their marriage off to a great start. For now, which of these ideas is most helpful to where you are right now?
How to Have an Extraordinary First Year of Marriage by @kjhogrefe on @Manna4MarriageTweet