SO. Randy and I are no experts at marriage. In fact, we really don’t know much at all with our 5 months of expertise. BUT, I have quite a few engaged friends who ask me questions here and there, so I want to share the few things I do know. Scrolling through instagram, you don’t get an accurate picture of what being newly married is like. You hear your parents and church leaders tell you this and that, but you don’t think that really applies to you guys. After all, you’re INCREDIBLY in love and you’ve never wanted anything more. And you KNOW it’s not going to be easy all the time, but probably most of the time, or it’ll be easy until you have kids, or once you get a job, or this or that.
So here’s a more accurate look on marriage based on my own experiences. Some of these things really may not apply to you, but most of them will. Every marriage is different and unique, but there are some things that I feel are universal. So take what you will, and laugh off the rest.
to my engaged friends.
congratulations!! this part is amazing and wonderful. but let’s talk about the parts coming up after the perfect day with the beautiful dress and all your friends. sure, picking out dresses is stressful, and making time for a date in between dozens of showers isn’t fun, but i think all of that is the easy part.
i wouldn’t say that marriage is hard. but it does take hard work. and a lot of it.
there are moments, hours, and days when you really, really, really don’t like the other person. at all. but you still love them. while disliking so many things about them.
you give the power, and are given the power, to utterly destroy the other person. with words, actions, and anything else. you have that power. and you also have that vulnerability. it’s an intensity of honesty that you probably have never felt before. it would be so easy for them to crush you, just as easy as it is for you to crush them. and in those ugly fights, you’ll want to pull out those words. and you’ll fight within yourself not to do it.
you will get to know their ugly. if you’re lucky, your spouse will still love that ugly side of you. you will know you made the right choice because you adore every side of them, even their ugly side. but it’s hard to see that in someone, and it’s hard to realize you’re showing it in yourself. not many people get to see your utter ugliness.
there will be so much stress. your stress is multiplied, because what’s mine is yours, and yours is mine. there will not be enough time for homework, jobs, families, friends, and each other. you will find yourself going to be some night realizing you didn’t really get to talk to your spouse. and they’re already asleep. you will find friends telling you how lucky you are, because your social life lives with you, and you’ll laugh and agree, and deep down you will feel so guilty because you haven’t spent quality time with your spouse in a while.
there will not be enough money to live like your friends on social media. you will see their trips and new cars, and you’ll wonder if you have enough to get gas to go to work. you will splurge on a slurpee or a single ice cream cone. you will come home with the weight of finances on your mind, and argue about budgets.
you will miss things. you will see your friends hanging out, and they don’t invite you. so you’ll invite people to things, and they won’t show. when you’re engaged you flake on things a lot; you just want some time with your fiance. and then once you are married, the people flake on you. keep in contact with your friends, and you’ll figure out very quickly who puts in effort for you. those are the ones to keep close. your spouse will be your best friend, but both of you need other friends to spend time with. don’t disregard your friends when you are engaged, and most of them won’t disregard you later. be present with them, and put out the effort now. then continue to put out the effort. some will fall by the wayside, and that’s ok.
compromise. you think you like the same kinds of everything when you’re engaged. and then, poof, you don’t. there are different movies you want to see, different foods you want to buy, different jobs you think you should or shouldn’t take, the list goes on and on. small and big compromises. all the time. but oddly, most of the time you won’t mind the compromises.
happily ever after doesn’t mean there isn’t sadness. you will be happier than you could have ever imagined, but there will be times when you are sad.
but then there will be times, early in the morning, when you wake up and see this person sleeping next to you. and your heart will be filled with more love than you ever understood. there will be nights of dancing in the kitchen, lazy days of cuddling and reading, surprises, clean houses and dinner on the table. there will be days when your spouse goes off to work or school, and you miss them. you miss this person who you spend all of your time with. there are moments when you find the giddy little girl with a crush thanks to a text or a note. there are deep talks about the future, ones where you are excited instead of scared. there are times spent on your knees, together when you feel you could never be closer. there are so many opportunities to serve, and you are excited to take them. there will be days when you glance over and your spouse driving, and your heart will stop, and you will be amazed that you ever lived without this person.
marriage is hard work. it is not something that is always easy.
but the things that take the most work, give you the most happiness.
so to my engaged friends, i am not perfect. my marriage isn’t perfect. few marriages are.
so here is what i am working on.
loving less selfishly.
apologizing and forgiving more easily.
serving with a smile.
putting him above myself, and everyone else.
happy engagement and happy marriage ahead!