On our wedding day, we asked guests to write words of advice to kick-start our marriage. After the reception, we placed those cards in a vase and took them with us on our honeymoon. We wanted to read them before our marriage really began. I will be writing a post about the advice we received in a later post, but I thought I'd take a moment to mention a few changes I wish I'd known before getting married. Had I known, I may have understood our vows spoken between one another all the more. Our commitment to one another would have held even more meaning.
If you are in the process of preparing for a wedding, I think it's just as important to prepare for your marriage. That said, this post is especially for you. For those who have been married for any length of time, I'm sure you'll find yourself nodding your head emphatically.
1. We are the adults.
My husband and I were married young. I was 21. While we were considered adults, we had a lot of "adulting" to accomplish, and there's nothing like adding kids into a marriage to make you grow up real fast. I'm not a kid anymore, though sometimes I still don't feel like an adult.
2. Selflessness needs practiced more than ever before.
I must admit, being selfless is a struggle for me, and I've had to work on it more than ever before since being married. Before marriage, I knew that I'd put my husband's needs before my own, but I really had no idea what that would look like and how difficult it would be. However, it's all the more easier to be selfless when I know my man loves me and demonstrates that daily.
3. Kind words hold value in tense situations.
I used to think my husband and I would never argue before marriage because it hadn't really happened and we weren't like the others. Ha. Ha. Ha. There is nothing "adult" about that opinion. We have disagreements just like any other marriage, and I'm learning that using kind and careful words in tense situations diffuses explosions. Trust me, it has taken a while, and I'm far from having it down, but I'm banking on the phrase that "practice makes perfect."
4. Hearing "you are beautiful" means more to me now.
I've experienced life with my husband. He sees inner and outer flaws that weren't there before marriage, yet he still calls me beautiful. I've struggled with outer flaws since our wedding day. My body now has stretch and surgery marks, and I cried for days and days at the onset of stretch marks when I was pregnant. Thanks, hormones. I've learned to embrace these flaws, now considering them battle wounds made while creating two little miracles.
5. Time, distance, and kids have made us feel more like family.
We've been married just over four years, we live a few hours from family, and we are parents to two little girls. Something about that equation has made us feel more like family than when we were first married.
6. Communicating EVERYTHING with my spouse is key a healthy marriage.
Feelings. Dreams. Money. Parenting. Communicating. The list goes on.
7. We are learning how to spend money wisely.
It's one thing to have a parent stressing to save money and stay out of debt, and it's another to try to save money and get out of debt. Making that happen with your spouse adds another element. Diligence and communication are required when it comes to money in marriage.
8. We have to resolve conflict sooner rather than later.
Oh man. I talked about selflessness and kind words, but sometimes conflict escalates to the point of frustration. It's not like getting upset with a parent or a friend, because it requires resolving before the day ends and as quickly as possible. We are a team, and we can't function well with opposition from our teammate.
9. Time for one another isn't on our side.
Before marriage, I thought we'd have all the time in the world for each other, forever and always. The first year was fine, but add kids and dreams and work and church and watch what happens. We have to be intentional about spending quality time with one another, time in which we set aside everything else and just focus on one another like the dating days.
10. I am more in love with my spouse than when we first married.
I thought I knew love to its fullest when we wrote letters to each other while dating, but I didn't. I thought I knew love to its fullest when he asked me to marry him, but I didn't. I thought I knew love to its fullest when we said "I do," but I didn't. I thought I knew love to its fullest when we laid eyes on our firstborn, but I didn't. I thought I knew love to its fullest when our sweet second came along and we watched sisters bond with one another, but I didn't. I think I know love to its fullest now, but I don't. It's phenomenal how love grows stronger with time, and I'm excited to see how our love deepens in the years ahead.
Hey Marrieds! What have you learned within your marriage that you didn't know before the wedding day? Let those awaiting marriage know in the comments below.