In June, the Hubs and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Seriously, three years has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was laughing at my bridesmaids as I made them try on ugly dresses, and husband and I were arguing about the wedding color scheme (both true stories).
On our anniversary, I asked Husband what has surprised him most about marriage. He said he was most surprised by how easy it was. I couldn’t agree more. You see, when most people get married all they see is rainbows and butterflies. They imagine a life of perfect bliss and then are sad and disappointed when they realize that marriage isn’t a fairy tale, it’s real life. Husband and I were the opposite. We expected the worst. Okay okay, not the worst. We wouldn’t have married each other if we had expected the whole thing to be a giant poo storm. However, we were very realistic about the whole thing. We have two couples to thank for that- my parents and Joe’s second oldest brother and his wife. Both those couples have awesome marriages that started out rocky. And both were very honest with us about those struggles and how they overcame them. We took those lessons very seriously and as soon as we said “I do,” we braced ourselves.
But a funny thing happened. In listening to those couples, and our premarital counselors, and other strong couples, I guess we actually learned some things. Without even realizing it, we put their advice into practice. The way that they solved their problems was the way that we avoided many of our own. And sure, there have been some not-so fun moments and some difficult situations we’ve had to overcome, but overall, we are both extremely happy with the way these first three years have panned out. I think we have built a solid foundation so that if, in the upcoming years, some truly crappy things do happen to us, we’ll be ready to battle them together.
After only three years, I am by no means a marriage expert. However, I’ll end this post with three pieces of advice that have helped Husband and I over the years. As wedding season continues and more people head into wedded bliss, I hope you’re able to make your first few years of marriage a little easier by following this advice.
- Always keep Christ at the center of your marriage. His relationship with the Church is the perfect example of what a perfect marriage should look like. Read the Gospels, see how Jesus served the people on earth and the way he talks about the church, and apply those principals to your marriage.
- No marriage is an island. I can’t tell you how many times I was worried about something in our relationship only to realize that one of my girlfriends had experienced the exact same thing in the past and had great advice on how to overcome that particular struggle. It’s so important to stay in fellowship with other Christian couples who are just as committed to their marriages as you are to yours, so that you can all encourage each other, pray for one another, and give advice.
- Learn how to communicate with your spouse. There are a ton of books on this, some you may find helpful and some you may not. But the reality is there is no one magic formula for perfect communication. It’s a lot of trial and error and it takes a lot of patience. Husband and I still don’t communicate even close to perfectly, but we are much better than we were 3 years ago. Learning to communicate effectively has helped minimize fights, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
YOUR TURN! What marriage advice do you have for all the 2012 newlyweds?