If only we knew then what we know now after 28 years of marriage, our lives would have gone a lot smoother. Now don’t let that scare you—because we think marriage is GREAT! We’re not ever going to tell you that it’s not challenging, but we do want to encourage you that it can be a lot more fun than it is hard, and we want to let you know that even the hard stuff can be good.
As our youngest daughter is entering the newlywed stage of life, we find ourselves pondering what we wish we would have known back then and asking ourselves how we can help set her marriage up best for success. Truth be told with that second question, as her parents, we’ve already done the majority of our most impacting work in her life as she had a front row seat to watching our marriage unfold. So, if expanding your family is going to be part of your journey, we want you to know that one of your best parenting tools you will ever have will be your marriage. That’s one reason why what we want to share with you is so important.
What We Wish We Knew as Newlyweds
In our opinion as marriage counselors and as a married couple, we believe the biggest blindside of marriage is the massive amount of refinement that comes with it.
Most of us enter marriage with the expectation and excitement that you have found the one to love and to love you exactly as you are forever and always. While there very well be some truth to that, more than likely you married someone who will eventually highlight every flaw you have and every area where you need growth. You married the person that will help you grow and be refined more than anyone else. This part of marriage isn’t much fun, BUT it sure is purposeful, especially when you know about it in advance!
Your spouse will be used by God to help you become more like Christ. They will test your patience, increase your humility, grow your empathy, and teach you how to forgive and offer grace. However, there is a catch.
You must be willing to surrender to the process. You can choose growth, or you can dig in your heels and choose pride, blame, and division. We encourage you to choose wisely, and always be willing to work on yourself. Another thing we wish we knew was how much vulnerability was needed in marriage. If you want to grow your trust and your connection, you must be willing to be raw and to share real and honest feelings with one another. There is nothing that will connect you more than vulnerability. Never shy away from saying the hard, the embarrassing, and the authentic things.
Keep in mind that your marriage will be like a bowling ball on a hill. If you’re not actively moving it up it will start to slip. Marriage does take work, but most of that work is just being intentional. Go on date nights, have fun, connect through communication daily. Be on guard against the mundane trap. Your marriage is worth investing in. You want to be sure it lasts a lifetime.
For some final takeaways, we also want you to…
- Always have fun! Fun and friendship are the things that help you best be able to handle what life throws at you.
- Remember that it’s not the problems that will take your marriage out, it’s what you decide to do about them. Always be willing to fix what breaks along the way!
- And finally, keep Jesus in the center.
If you want more help with any of this, be sure to check out our Newlywed Couples Devotional and all our available resources including the Expedition Marriage podcast.
May you always enjoy the journey of marriage!