Amid a recent discussion about singleness, I found myself kindly reminding a friend that although I’m married now, I’m just one pandemic removed from singleness.

This habit we have of a writing off others’ experiences is not really helpful. In fact, it’s something I’ve touched on before because I see it as a detriment that’s amplified by our silence. In other words: when we don’t speak out in the middle of the different stages and struggles, we unknowingly limit our witness when God moves us along. Case in point: if you hadn’t read my blog in the past six years, you wouldn’t know that my “wisdom” (limited as it may be) about singleness, mental health, and fear is birthed from lots of struggle. It’s that struggle that, I believe, helps bring credibility to the words.

That doesn’t mean we are called to broadcast every struggle and season to the World Wide Web. Rather, it means that as God leads, we are to share what He shows.

So, in that spirit, I’d like to share ten things I wish I’d known about the first few months of marriage!

1. Be prepared for the fact that—especially if you’re a woman—it’s normal and likely that you will cry on your honeymoon

Wow, when someone first told me this, I was shocked. Despite my highly-sensitive nature, I couldn’t imagine a honeymoon that included anything but pure bliss.

Less than blissful moment: getting stranded by Southwest in California.

Maybe your honeymoon did or will look like that. Kudos. But the resounding wisdom I got prior to our wedding was that, just like marriage, the honeymoon would include high points and low points. Going into the honeymoon with this knowledge was incredibly helpful because it allowed us to give ourselves grace when the tears—of joy or frustration—came!

2. You’ll want to shrink away, but that’s never the answer

I can’t speak for every new wife, but I can speak for myself: Having come from a broken home, opening up my heart to others (even my incredible and gentle husband) is hard.

It wasn’t long before I was tempted to isolate myself after getting married. It seems ridiculous, yes. It’s also completely normal. Marriage is amazing, and… marriage is hard. So are moving and work stressors and all the other dynamics of life. It is part of our fallen human nature to want to hide the not-so-pretty aspects of ourselves–whether in marriage or friendship.

I internalized many of my anxieties and overwhelm, thinking that–especially because I’m introverted–I just needed some space.

Nope. Not a good idea. Here’s why: The first few months of marriage are a unique chance to draw close to your spouse and that’s going to be uncomfortable. In fact, that very discomfort reinforces the truth that God designed marriage to be unique; a husband and wife are to have an intimate bond that no other earthly relationship can mimic. No wonder it feels a bit scary!

I learned that that hard way. But, by God’s grace, my husband and I soon realized what may seem obvious to you: “Wow, when one of us is struggling and decides to pull away, they start struggling more. But when that person instead draws near to the other, both of us grow and feel much better too!”

Crazy, right? 🙂

3. Document the victories–big and small!

First grocery trip as a married couple? Snap a pic. First time saying “that’s my husband” or “my wife went running and there are wild pigs here and now I can’t find her”? Celebrate it (as long as said wife arrives safely back at the room)!

My point is that marriage is exciting, and you only have one “first” for the big and little milestones along the way. Someday, you’ll be celebrating the big anniversaries, but don’t wait until then to be obnoxiously happy God has brought you together!

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a caveat here. Don’t be “obnoxiously happy” in an obnoxious way! That is: singleness is hard. So are marital struggles, loneliness, and death. Remember these sensitivities as you rejoice in your marriage. Use your union to make much of God, not yourselves.

4. Pray together every day

This one’s pretty simple. Find a time (a consistent time will likely help) to pray together as often as you can. If one of you isn’t comfortable praying out loud, try praying silently together or praying through Scripture together–that’s helpful regardless, by the way.

When you pray, focus specifically on your marriage. Then, take a few moments to pray for each other. While you could very well pray for hours for every missionary, friend, recent wedding guest, and world event you both know of; it’s best to start with the fundamentals. As God grows your prayer time, focus where he leads you to focus. But don’t do so at the expense of praying for your marriage and for each other’s spiritual health.

5. Continue meeting with mentor couples/friends

Woohoo! You’ve recited your vows and premarital counseling is behind you. Yeah, probably don’t view it that way….

Regardless of how your engagement season played out, those wedding vows you said are vows you are to keep. And it’ll be hard to do so if you cut out the valuable mentors in your life.

Whether it’s formal or informal, be sure to prioritize your relationships with the spiritual mentor couples you know. They were in your shoes once, and if they’ve opened their home and hearts to you, don’t take that for granted. I’m addition to our parents, my husband and I have two mentor couples we see regularly. They are so helpful in giving advice, asking us hard questions, and helping us navigate all the unknowns.

6. You have incredible power to build up or tear down your spouse, so use it wisely

Remember point #2 above? Vulnerability is a beautiful thing, as long as your vulnerability is with someone who can be trusted.

My husband and I got married in late September. Yet, I can already see facets of his heart, his flaws, and his weaknesses that no one else can. As his wife, I get to speak truth into those areas. I can encourage and bolster him like no one else can!

The same is true in reverse. Because I know my husband so intimately, I can wound him to an extent that no other person can.

Whether you are currently single or married, this truth bears remembering: You will/do hold a unique power as a husband or wife. Wield it as you would the most precious china.

7. People may back away for a time, and it’s okay to call them out on it

So, a funny thing happened when I got married. I didn’t hear from my family for weeks! After I finally broke down and confessed my irritation to them, I learned that they were seeking to give my husband and I space to bond. It was an act of love!

If this occurs to you, please receive it as such. At the same time, know that it’s perfectly okay to reach out to your friends and family to express your desire to connect. It doesn’t mean you’re bad for not clinging to your spouse; it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Everyone has different needs as a newlywed and as much as they love you, those around you won’t know what your needs are unless you tell them.

8. Marriage is indeed hard, AND you’ll grow immensely if you embrace the “hard”

“Marriage is wonderful, AND it’s hard work.” I can’t count how many times my husband and I heard that phrase prior to marriage. I assured everyone that I understood–I’d read plenty of books and read articles and asked all the questions.

I didn’t understand. I couldn’t! There’s no way to prepare for the exact highs and lows you will experience in the future, and that includes the highs and lows of marriage.

Guess what? That’s okay. You will find marriage more wonderful and more difficult than you thought.

9. You’ll be tempted to compare your marriage to that of more seasoned or newlywed couples–don’t

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: married life is not fully blissful. Especially early on, it involves adjustment, creativity, and a lot of forgiveness. For every Instagram photo of a couple’s serene Sunday afternoon, there are hours of undocumented frustration, awkwardness, and domestic normalcy. That doesn’t mean that marriage is dull. Far from it! It does mean, however, that what you see online or even on a Sunday morning at church is not the full picture. Be gracious to yourself and others.

10. When people tell you to “enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasts,” feel free to kindly ignore them

As a college senior, I heard a similar sentiment regarding post-graduate life: “Enjoy college, these will be the best years of your life!” How depressing is that?!

I’m happy to report that is not true, and I’m also happy to report that married life isn’t a downward spiral after the first few months. If I’m honest, I’d say it’s been the complete opposite for my husband and I. We are loving marriage more and more as we settle into the groove and learn how to love each other. Marriage can absolutely be exciting for the duration of life, if only we will let it!

Check in with me in a few months or a year to see if these statements still ring true. I am certain, however, that they will. So whether you’re married or single, let them provide you with some perspective. Above all, each statement points back to the ultimate truth that God is faithful to bless and mature us as we pursue Him above all.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s