Last week was my wedding anniversary.
The past eight years have felt at least 16 years long, and at the same time five minutes. They have been the greatest and hardest years of my life, and the Evangelical Church did little to nothing to prepare me for it. For all of the feigned worries of a “Biblical” marriage, I was basically told it would be difficult but because we’d keep G-d first, everything would be fine.
Which, honestly, was bullshit.
So in honor of last week, I will be giving you eight pieces of advice I wish I had received as a newly married person (whether or not I would have taken it is another story):
- If you watched porn before you were married, chances are you’re still going to want to watch it after you’re married. I will never forget people talking about marriage as this cure all for sexual desires and intimacy and how shocked I was the first time I got the urge to watch it after we tied the knot. I was so ashamed and I thought there was something wrong with me.
- Your happiness is not wrapped up in your spouse, and it is not their job to maintain your happiness.
- Start seeing a marriage counselor right away. Seeing one is not a failure or a sign of failing. You are two different people trying to come together and form a relationship, you will need help finding language to do that, and ways to work through hurts you unintentionally cause each other. (As an aside, while I am not a huge personality tests fan, I recommend figuring out which enneagram numbers you and your spouse are. It’ll help with communication.)
- As much as Christmas isn’t about presents, it totally is. My wife and I come from two very different backgrounds when it comes to gift giving so come up with something you both can agree on for holidays. For example, Christmas in our house is one thing you want, one thing you need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read. That has been a lifesaver.
- Put your phone away and remove your iWatch on dinner dates.
- Sex may ebb and flow but Netflix binges together are forever (and thats normal).
- You don’t need to have all of the same interests. I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons my best friends for almost four years, my wife wouldn’t be caught dead doing that. In the same way I wouldn’t be caught dead in her workout class.
- You are on each others side, never lose sight of that. Especially when it comes to in-family fighting, disagreements with in-laws, or friends. Always be a united front. If you disagree with something the other said, talk about it after or call for a time-out/war counsel and have your own aside.
This isn’t a perfect list, just advice I wish I would have received early on in my marriage. And there are still plenty I didn’t touch on like non-traditional conforming gender roles (for example my wife is the “bread winner”) but that’ll all come later.
Peace be with you.