As a soon-to-be bride, I asked my friend and mentor Tami Myer of MannaForMarriage.com several questions to help prepare me for my wedding this month. Although the wedding event is beautiful, we both believe that preparing for a lifelong marriage is more important than preparing for a single day. Having been on her own marriage journey for over thirty years, she graciously agreed to share some of the lessons she’s learned along the way. Please join me in welcoming Tami! I hope her answers to my questions will encourage and bless you as much as they have me.
Bride: Opposites do attract, and my fiancé and I are no exception! What advice can you give to help us celebrate these differences instead of resenting them?
Yes, celebrate your differences! You will have to be deliberate about doing that, though. Otherwise, you will drift into frustration and resentment.
You could start by making a list of those differences. (And then make another list after you have been married for a few months because you will discover more, believe me.) As you review your “reasons for celebration,” make the conscious choice to look for ways to make these differences work for you, not against you. Where can they provide balance? Where can they add strength? How might they simply provide richness and color? How do they give insight into your different needs and unique perspectives?
Remind yourself—and your husband–that your differences are for accepting, appreciating, and enjoying. Be deliberate about complementing and complimenting, rather than competing and condemning.
As you yield to the Spirit, your spouse’s differences will either delight you or polish you. Either way, they are blessings!
Bride: So often, I hear, “The first year is extremely hard.” Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I am glad that you heard that the first year is difficult because, for many couples, it is! Simply knowing that can be very helpful. It is like putting your seat belt on when the pilot announces that the plane may encounter turbulence: you will be better prepared to handle the situation well.
During your first year of marriage, you might feel as though you are in junior high because everything is intense. It can be an emotional roller coaster. It certainly helps to know that this is normal!
Here are some examples of common first-year turbulence:
- You think that you made a terrible mistake.
- You are alarmed that your husband is not the man you married.
- You panic.
- You are disappointed.
- Your feelings get hurt.
When you experience some (or all) of these things, you can come back to this article and check them off your first-year to-do list. Then you can also check off these items:
- You have many wonderful joys!
- You experience new adventures.
- You learn more about the amazing, complex, fascinating person that your husband really is.
- You learn surprising things about yourself.
- You learn awesome things about your God.
You will find that you made it through junior high again! And through each successive year, you will learn how to make it the best one yet.
Bride: Perhaps because I’m getting married in my thirties, I don’t have the “rose-colored-glasses” view that a teen or twenty-something might have. Instead, I’ve seen enough life and marriage struggles to know marriage isn’t always easy. What encouragement can you offer the new bride?
This is a common concern, even for younger brides (and grooms). Many people are a bit hesitant to marry because they have not observed healthy marriages up close and in action. However, they have seen countless shipwrecked marriages, and they wonder if they will be able to steer the ship of marriage any better themselves.
But take courage! It is quite possible to sail that ship triumphantly, and many have done so. It will take work, of course, but sailing is not a mysterious skill. You can learn! You must choose your teachers carefully, but there are many who are trustworthy and who are eager to help you and support you.
Building a marriage is a lot like building a house. Although many have never seen the blueprints, and many others refuse to follow them, there is a reliable blueprint for marriage. Take courage! There is a Master Builder, and He is eager to help with every part of the construction.
Marriage is not easy, but the best things in life never are. In this fallen world, good things are always opposed, and great things are greatly opposed. You must simply remember that you are holding something very valuable in your hands—something sacred. Don’t let go! Refuse to believe that marriage is not worth the effort.
Your marriage is not a hobby; it is a commitment to serve another person, someone made in the image of God. As you minister to your spouse, your submission to God becomes a platform for His Spirit. He will work powerfully and redemptively in both your life and your husband’s.
Marriage is not only like sailing a ship and like building a house, but it is also like growing a garden. You will have to dig up stubborn roots and lug away heavy rocks. You will wonder if the weeds will ever stop coming. But take courage! You will also be planting and pruning, watering and weeding.
And beautiful things will grow.
For more marriage encouragement, check back next week for more questions from the bride, and visit Tami’s website MannaForMarriage.com.
Questions from the Bride, Part 1 – @kjhogrefe & @Manna4Marriage (Click to Tweet)
Marriage is not easy, but the best things in life never are. – @kjhogrefe & @Manna4Marriage (Click to Tweet)