I was 21 when James proposed to me. He was my first love. We knew we were created for each other. He was the one, I knew it. Without a doubt.
We were young, in college, and giddy with excitement during our engagement. We heard all the usual advice from people about marriage: “Never go to bed angry.” “Always kiss goodnight.” “Say ‘I love you’ often.” “Respect each other.”
These seemed like common sense to us. Engrained in our brains since we were little. But no one gave us the “unspoken list.” The list that would have actually made us feel “normal”. There were things about James that made me believe he was an alien and things about me that made me look like an emotional basket case.
So here’s the list you really need to know before walking down the aisle:
1. Your spouse might snore, drool, or steal the covers. Okay, “that’s lame,” you may say now, but just imagine…you’re lying in bed at 2 AM after a horrible day at work. You are exhausted, you have to catch a flight in 4 hours for an important business meeting in the morning and the love of your life sounds like a jack hammer. This might happen. You will have to find it in your heart of hearts, and in your delusional state of mind, to love them despite this atrocious habit (that they cannot help).
2. Your wife may become moody for no apparent reason. It is weird, but it happens every month. And it will happen for the rest of your marriage. Get used to it, and bring home chocolate. Women, realize that you are over-sensitive, cranky, and emotional and give him a break.
3. Sex may not be that fun on your honeymoon. Being abstinent before marriage was a beautiful (but difficult) part of our relationship. It taught us self control, and forced us to get to know each other on a more spiritual level. But, it also made us a bit antsy for our honeymoon. I had ideas of grander about what our honeymoon would be like. I didn’t have one friend warn me that sex during that week would not be the fairytale I had dreamed of. While beautiful, and extremely emotional, physically it was not the what I had imagined.
4. Sex gets better with time. After our honeymoon and settling into our lives at home, sex became more and more fun. And it just got better, and better, and better. When we were engaged I was told by a coworker that we would get tired of each other. This is a lie. The deeper your relationship grows, the better your relationship in the bedroom will become.
5. Your spouse will be super annoying. They might clip their fingernails in bed, or leave dishes under the couch, or hog the remote, or be a toilet paper “under not over” person. They may want a cat, or go hiking, or put an empty milk carton back in the fridge. Odds are, you are going to be annoyed by each other. Just remember, you love them. For better or worse…right.
6. You can get pregnant. Did somebody tell you how this happens? Well, you might have plans on waiting a few years before starting your family. But here’s a newsflash: if you’re doing the deed, you might get pregnant. Just so you know.
7. You will have different opinions. James and I could not be any more “equally yoked” as a couple. But what do you know, we argue. We disagree with one another about the most ridiculous things, like driving. You can know all of the “fight fair” rules but the fact of the matter is, you will argue about stupid things. Just remember, you love each other. Be the bigger person and let the little things go.
8. You will change with time. I have heard it said that couples divorce because their spouse changed. Guess what, so will you. Change is unavoidable, and change is good. Change can happen with a different job, or move, or even a baby. You can not help but grow; you just have to learn to change together. When you change together your relationship matures and develops into something more sound and steadfast.
9. You will not know everything about each other. Even 7 years later I’m still learning more about my husband. I love this aspect of marriage, but it did take me by surprise. I thought I knew him inside and out. But to my surprise, I did not. I love learning something new about him (as long as it is good).
10. You will love each other more tomorrow. I never thought I could love James more than I did on our wedding day. But nearly 7 years later, I feel like I barely loved him then compared to how I love him now. It sounds cliché, but our love really does grow each day. If you are willing to make your marriage a priority, you love will reflect your hard work.
Here is a bonus one from my hubby:
11. Priorities Matter. Putting Christ first in your life really does make for a better relationship. Trust me. It’s a proven fact. If you want to be a better husband/wife, spend time with Jesus first.
There it is. Some of the nitty gritty of married life.
I hope it helps you feel a little bit more normal as a newlywed. It is going to be difficult, but it is totally worth it. When it’s good, it’s really good!