Is it only my social media newsfeed or did everyone and their cousin get married in the last couple months? Tis the season, I suppose!
So you’re a newly wed? Congratulations! However, this article isn’t just for the newly weds. This is for all y’all: the married and unmarried, because eventually, you’re likely to be married too.
Before James and I got married everyone told us the first year of marriage would be pretty terrible. Thanks for the encouragement!
James and I happily rejected that word of warning and decided that our first year of marriage would be amazing. We didn’t do this naively though… We understood what they were saying… Just like anything you do for the very first time, with zero hands on experience, there will be difficulties! So here we are, we’ve been married for nearly 10 months and the verdict is: Marriage is, hands down, one of God’s most genius ideas.
However, it’s only been so amazing for us because of our intentionality towards each other and our marriage. So here’s some tips we’ve held tight to since the moment we departed Fiji.
1. Never allow the honeymoon to end.
Now I know that is so cliche, but it’s true. The honeymoon isn’t about a luxurious environment, the honeymoon is about one another, 100%. If you’re like James and I and you saved sex for your wedding night, the honeymoon is about having as much sex as you possibly can in one week (don’t say “TMI”, you all know it’s true). Real life doesn’t exactly allow that sort of day to day routine, but that doesn’t change the fact that after the honeymoon: Be as intentional as you possibly can with loving and adoring your spouse.
2. Sex: Give yourself and one another grace.
James and I guarded our purity with vigilance before we met each other and got married (I didn’t even know what a penis looked like in real life!). Needless to say, we were quite clueless when it came to sex. Everyone knows the basics, yeah, but you still have to give yourself grace! Do NOT compare your sex life to what you’ve seen or heard from other people or the media. If you’re clueless, just have fun together! Google sex positions (Just don’t let your dad use your iPad when he swings by to say bye the morning after the wedding night… Sorry Dad!) , try them out, and when you realize that only a gymnast could pull off something like that, laugh with each other and move on to the next one. But don’t don’t don’t make it solely about the act of sex. Just like number one, make it about each other, you’re blessed to share something so special with one single individual for the rest of your life, never take that for granted, cherish it, cherish one another.
3. Take care of your body.
How’s your post-wedding workout routine going? Being married does not mean you treat your body any differently than how you did leading up to the wedding. You don’t need to go to the extremes that some of you might have gone to to have the “perfect” wedding bod, but eat right and exercise regularly! You owe it to yourself as well as your spouse to be the best you you can be. James and I are in better shape now than we were before we got married. There’s no room for excuses: We run one mile from our house to the park at least four mornings a week and do CrossFit (bodyweight workouts) on the playground. Like I said, no excuses.
4. You’re not single anymore, so stop acting like it.
You can take a lot away from this point. All I’m trying to say is, your life is no longer your own. Your life is shared with your spouse. Honor the place that your spouse belongs in. Make decisions together. Plan out your week together. Decide on dinner together. Whatever it looks like in your marriage, always remember that you are not your own, you and your spouse are one. Things get ugly when that’s forgotten and one “part” of you goes in one direction and another goes in the opposite direction, someone usually gets hurt.
5. Your spouse is not God…
Oh how we Christian ladies pursue God while we’re single, sometimes lonely, and not so patiently awaiting our spouse… We pursue Him with tenacity before we’re married because the center of our heart that belongs only to Him cries out to Him night and day, and we’re aware of that. But what happens when He gives us what our heart desires? At times we stop pursuing Him because that spot, at the center of our heart, has been filled with someone that doesn’t belong there… God’s gifts should never take the place of God. Keep God in your God spot, both of you, because it’s quite likely that some of the issues you’re having in your marriage are simply because He’s not where He belongs, and you need to invite Him back in His rightful place.
The beginning of bringing resolution to every problem is communication. Communication doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it does change the way you feel. This has been James and I’s life saver. When he has unknowingly hurt me I have one of two choices to make: I can shy away and allow my pain to turn into anger or I can humble myself and come to him with “I felt _____ when you ____.” Danny Silk KYLO 101. (Do yourself a favor and buy that book here) However, things could get even worse with communicating if you don’t “Keep your love on”… So: KYLO!
7. Constantly pursue one another: Love is a choice.
I believe one of the greatest mistakes made within a marriage is the ending of pursuit. Just because you’re married and he/she is stuck with you does not mean that you should take advantage of that security. Appreciate and value you your spouse just like you did before there was a ring on your finger. Everyday, win them over with your love, as though you’re just beginning to fight for their heart to be yours alone. When James proposed to me he said, “I promise to love and protect your heart, always and forever, right from the start. Ultimately love is a choice, one I will choose daily to voice.” Ever since then, that is what he’s done. On the good days and the bad. Not because he’s always felt like it, but because he made a covenant to do just that, so he owns up to that choice.
Sadly, this leads us to the final point…
8. “Just because you’re married and he/she is stuck with you…” – Truth is, that doesn’t appear to be true anymore.
Now a days people get married, divorced and remarried as many times as they please. Which is why this is my final tip. Marriage is a covenant, one that lasts forever. But sadly, marriage has become something entirely different than what it is. It’s become something you can get out if you please, which is not what a covenant is. I found something very interesting when I googled “define covenant”:
Everyone is running around making covenants with people when they aren’t even familiar with the word that sets the standard for their actions! Now check out the graph for divorce rates:
Interesting. That’s all I really need to say.
If you’re married, and the honeymoon’s over, all that matters is that you chose that person for forever. Now you’re responsible, as is your spouse, to own up to that choice for forever. These 7 tips are really just the beginning of what it takes to make a marriage great. But it’s 100% possible and it’s 100% up to you.
For our wedding day James and I had wooden signs which lined the isle we walked down. On each one was a line of 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8… But instead of it reading, “Love is patient, love is kind…” It read, “We will be patient, we will be kind…”
The only way that love will never fail is if you align yourself and partner with the One who is Love, and your actions intentionally flow from that relationship. That is when, “Love never fails” and you won’t either.
Keep your head up, the best is yet to come.