Things I wished I knew before I got Married
Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint.
What a true statement. People’s perceptions of marriage are that it is forever. You want to take your vows once and be married for the rest of your lives, till death do us part!
One the things that people tend to underestimate with this concept is that FOREVER is a LONG time. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel unnecessary pressure to get everything perfect in the first week, the first month or the first year of marriage.
You are not doomed if your marriage is not perfect! In fact, it may take you years, or even a decade to really get your marriage gliding smoothly. So take it day by day, and love on your spouse while you make it better.
Marriage success comes from practice and repetition.
You practice being married every day. Practice being a better spouse, anticipate needs and think about the needs of your mate.
You may have heard someone say, “My doctor has a practice over there”. My attorney practices law in the state of North Carolina”.
If these highly trained, highly paid professionals need to practice their craft every day, why wouldn’t you need to do the same with your marriage?
So here is a question: Before you get married, are you practicing marriage or are you practicing divorce? If you are dating people and breaking up with them every time you get upset with them, you are practicing divorce. Married couples go through challenges, through “tough times", ups and downs together, and this strengthens their relationship and bond.
An example of pushing through as strong married couples do, would be a couple having a strong disagreement about the husband frequently visiting “gentlemen’s clubs".
The wife is ardently against it and the husband doesn’t see anything wrong with this. “I look, but I don’t touch,” he says. “I’m not doing anything wrong”.
If this disagreement continues for months and years, it could deteriorate the trust in the marriage and result in divorce. This couple, however, sits down immediately after the wife voices her displeasure. They block out time to deeply discuss the issue. They listen to one another, they seek to understand each other before they attempt to make themselves understood. This process may even take a day or a week for them to agree.
In the end, the husband decides that his marriage and his future are much more important than his occasional indulgence with the strip club so he decides not to go anymore, realizing it is a real threat to "peace in his house" and how his wife feels about him. (This, however, is another topic, for another book.)
Deprioritize EVERYTHING other than your marriage, except for God.
Put another way, nothing is more important than your marriage and therefore you need to prioritize it over all other things in your life.
Prioritize your marriage over your career, over your children, over your mom, dad, and your extended family; other than God, all of your relationships should be after your marriage in order of importance.
Additionally, if you have a new baby, there are certain things the baby needs, including attention, however you cannot let that new baby take priority over your spouse. For example when the baby is young, you may want to have the baby sleep between you and your mate because it’s more convenient for feeding, however, you need that private & pillow talk time with you and your mate so the baby needs to go back to their bassinet or to their bed.
Always act like you’re 35 in your marriage.”
“This is an interesting title but allow me to give it a bit more depth. The idea here is to deploy wisdom, when you’re young in your marriage and when you’re older and/or have been married for a long time, make sure you’re doing things that you did when you were younger. When you’re younger, leverage couples that have fruit on their tree; people you respect and can emulate. These kinds of people can be fantastic models for you. They can mentor you, give words of advice and encouragement and really help you strategically when you are navigating rough patches in life.
Additionally, positive people in your life can be a constant, regular reminder of how to do things you’ve not experienced before. If you have faith that their wisdom makes sense in your particular situation, this can make all the difference in the world in your relationship.
Conversely, when you’re a middle-aged or older couple, you can use the youth and vigor you see in younger couples as a gentle reminder to keep the “flame lit”! You may not be able to do each and everything a young couple does, but make sure that you “borrow” some youthful spirit to stay eternally 35 years old.
Marriage is about your mate and Not about you.
My marriage is completely about my wife. Everything is about queen Tracy in my house. I make it about her needs, what she wants, I anticipate things that she MAY need or want down the road. I make everything about Tracy every day. When I do this, she loves it! She loves me for it and the environment that I create for her allows her to flower, to grow, and to be in submission to me. “Submission” means that one is “under” the mission of another.
I’m completely in submission to Tracy which allows her to be in submission to me. Tracy notes that dying to self is a daily key. In Romans 6:6 NLT, It notes, We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin may lose its power in our lives. As Christians, we know that our sins were nailed to the cross with Christ and we don’t have to be “sin conscious” any longer as all of our sins have been forgiven.”
“We, however, living in human bodies can be selfish in our thinking frequently. So when we die to self, we remind ourselves that our ego is no longer central and that we are now one flesh with our spouse.
Our old selves died like Christ died for us and our new selves are about our spouse. I make it about Tracy & she makes it about me. She anticipates my needs and because she knows that I’ll do anything for her, that I’ll protect her, that I stand by her, she feels the same about me. We both submit to God and to each other so that enables us to be Joyous every day! Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Matt.6:10
Living with abuse is NEVER ok.
When you get married, the idea is to be married for the rest of your life, however, there are a couple of exceptions. If your mate is abusing you, this is NOT ok. Mental abuse, nor physical abuse is acceptable in any relationship, marriage included. Abuse includes a spouse sleeping all over town with everyone other than ”
“you, extreme mental and verbal abuse, and everything in between. An example could be that a husband is physically hitting his wife every time he gets mad. Or maybe the wife curses her husband out every day when she is not happy with him leaving his underwear in the family room instead of the hamper in his closet.
Certainly, arguments happen in relationships; disagreements will occur, after all, we’re people right? Sometimes life impacts us differently. We go through different stages of life, there could be work stress, extended family dynamics, layoffs, family deaths, etc. that can cause strife and disagreements. These kinds of things, like many other challenges in life, be the catalysts for disagreements, however, these are completely different from abuse. Abuse is NEVER ok. If you are experiencing abusive difficulties in your with your spouse or significant other, seek professional assistance immediately, and get divorced if you must.
Never Sacrifice your spouse’s feelings for the benefit of Someone else in your family.
“This is something that I had to learn early in my marriage. Family dynamics that linger from childhood and young adulthood can bleed over into your marriage. My wife has to know that I’m her guardian, I’m her protector and that I will always defend her and our marriage.
This can be tricky if you have a close bond with others in your family. Again; the primary relationship is you and your spouse; NOT you and your buddy, you and your mom, you and your sibling, etc. Biblically, cleave unto your spouse is what we believe in and that means simply that the most important thing is the primary relationship with your spouse. (Genesis 2:24--Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Matthew 19:5--And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?)
Celebrate your Partner’s Differences.
If you married someone who was just like you, that would not be any fun. Differences are important and should be celebrated. Your shortcomings are probably strengths of your mate and vice versa. When you have two people who balance each other, with different strengths placed together, this makes a powerful match!
So don’t poke at your mate’s differences. Those differences are some of the elements of why they are a great match for you, multiplying the good in your life. Your weaknesses are offset by the strengths of your mate. (Genesis 2:18 KJB--And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.) Eve was designed to help him.
Don’t put off doing nice things for your mate!
Tomorrow is not promised. Make sure that your mate knows that you love them, that you are excited about your life with them. Whisper sweet nothings in their ear, tell them you love them, tell them they make your life better, they are a great parent, etc. Bring those flowers and candy home; open doors, give hugs; take advantage of today. Make those love deposits in the love bank of your relationship. Whatever your spouse or significant other likes, make it happen, seize the day! Additionally, don’t just engage in this activity for sex. Be sincere, be authentic and do it with no expectations. (When you’re doing all of these things as a husband, sex will probably come later anyway).
The Magic happens in the Failures.
In life or in marriage sometimes we’ll miss the mark. This goes back to marriage being forever. If you take that approach then this is a great start. Look to understand that the mistakes you make can be great learning experiences. What went wrong? What upset your spouse or mate? What was your role in this and what could you do to make it better the next time? Each time you experience something like this, learn and grow from it, improve and make it better the next time.”