Some stuff you should know before you get married

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I have had an idea forming in my head for a few weeks now. I’ve been thinking about all the advice we give women and men before marriage and how much of it is good and true, yet how often we forget to tell them some very practical ideas and hints about how to function together. As a couple. And how sometimes the solutions to common problems aren’t nearly as deep and difficult as we imagine them to be. So, here it is friends, Debi’s list of: Stuff They Should Have Told You Before You Said “I Do” (but will still be helpful now)

My handsome husband on our wedding day….

1. Whatever side of the bed you pick on the honeymoon will be yours forever, so choose wisely.

2. You will probably get in your first married argument on your honeymoon. About something dumb. Don’t sweat it- you’re both running on high expectations and exhaustion.

3. There are basically two kinds of arguments: arguments about something that is on the surface unimportant, but under the surface a much deeper issue AND arguments that mean nothing more than one or both of you are being a sinful human being. Women tend to think ALL arguments are in the first category. Men tend to think ALL arguments are in the second. A huge task will be for both of you to learn which is which.

4.Social media is dangerous, friends. All that friendly, witty banter back and forth is often flirting in disguise. Be cautious and careful about what you say, to whom you say it and the ability to keep secrets. (I have said it before, but in marriage, everybody should be an open book!)

5. If one of you likes to be early, and one of you likes to be late you can either: argue a lot OR pout OR take separate cars. (pick C, I swear, you’ll decide it’s worth it)

6. Your sex life, like every other aspect of your relationship, is one you will grow in. Don’t expect it is be magical all the time. Unlike every other aspect of your marriage it is intended to be kept sacred and private between the two of you. It is meant to be a safe space where you can be completely vulnerable and exposed. If you share details with others, you ruin the safe space. It will NEVER be skyrockets at night, if you ruin the safe space.

7. For the men- leading your wife is important. But, leading her to the right place is essential. You cannot lead her someplace you are not headed. If you want her to manage money better, run the house better, meet your needs better- you must decide if you are willing to do for her what Christ did for you. Also, sometimes you will be leading her well, and she will pout, cry, yell and generally respond horribly. Lead her anyway. She needs to know that you will head toward Christ even if she is standing stubbornly behind you. This creates both security and inspiration.

8. For the women- respect is what drives your husband. Do not tell his mistakes, foolish moments and flaws to others. Instead tell his strengths and successes. Brag on him in front of him and behind his back. Brag on him to your parents and your children. He will not always earn your respect. Show him respect anyway. He needs to know that even when he is a jerk or a failure, you are still beside him believing he is more than that one moment. That you trust God to work through him.

Loved the day I became Debi Russell!

9. One of you is probably better at paying the bills and will tend to take charge. This is okay, but the other person still needs to be “in the loop” on a monthly basis. Budgets still need to be agreed upon together and not dictated by the bill payer. The one who is not primarily paying the bills should not feel as though they are a child asking permission for $10 to grab some lunch nor should they feel at liberty to spend whatever they want knowing the other person “will handle it”. This is why monthly communication and agreed goals are very important.

10. It’s really good to periodically take some time away from one another to allow time to miss each other. It will not threaten the marriage to have some separateness. Each of you having a hobby or time you get away from the house is fine and even healthy, as long as you are mindful of the need to balance that with time together.

11. For the men- sometimes, when your wife is really emotional, all she needs is for you to approach her and hug her. Don’t solve the problem. Just hug her and let her know you love her. She’s a pretty smart gal anyway- or you wouldn’t have picked her, right? So don’t worry about fixing the problem- she’ll handle it. She just needs to know that in the moments where she is overwhelmed and hormonal and dramatic- that you still love her. (When in doubt: hug+I love you. Seriously, this will help)

12. Marriage is crazy hard. Fighting is inevitable. You will not always even like the person you married. Sometimes you will worry you made a mistake. That, in fact, this person was just hiding all their flaws and they duped you into marrying them. But, the truth is, YOU bring out the flaws in them. Believe me, they are as shocked as you are in what they are discovering in you and themselves. There is no other relationship that quite exposes our selfishness like marriage. It’s annoying and humbling and freeing. Stick with it! Get with a good christian counselor when you need to. Read books when you need to. But mainly, love your spouse deeply- the way God loves you. This will get you through the rough times and enhance the good times.

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