My wonderful husband and I will celebrate nineteen years of marriage next month and I’ve often pondered things I wish I learned sooner. Time and experience are often our greatest teachers, but what if we could learn from the mistakes of others? Wouldn’t that be the desired route? Here are three things I wish I’d figured out as a 25 year old newlywed:
- Your marriage won’t be perfect. Don’t compare your relationship to your friends’s marriages. (You don’t know what happens when Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful aren’t on their P’s and Q’s) We are all unique and as such have our own set of challenges to overcome.
- You don’t hold the power to change your spouse. Only God and prayer can do that. Work on you. Lay any expectations at the foot of the Cross.
- Overlook the petty grievances (i.e. socks and underwear on the floor, dividing up the housework, etc.) and focus more so on the big picture.
I can recall many challenging years as my husband worked long hours and the demands of raising small children coincided. I was tired. He was tired. I think a big challenge in any phase of our lives is the fallacy of thinking that things will always remain this way. Life changes. Our kids are no longer toddlers. They’re nearly all grown. Our relationship has become rich and full, our love deeper than ever. You see, the storms of life and the good times, as well, have both served to enrich our love and commitment to one another.
Too often spouses are ready to jump ship almost before it has left the harbor! Hold on. Remain steady. The waters will be rough during the course, but you will be stronger for it. You are not perfect nor is your spouse. Expect imperfection and you will not be disappointed, my friend. Extend grace. Forgive often. Love extravagantly.
The best things in life take time. Marriage is not a sprint. It’s more like a long distance marathon. Pace yourself. Give your relationship time and your spouse room to grow. They don’t have life all figured out nor do you. Make Christ the center of your relationship and He will never fail to guide you.
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.” ~ I Corinthians 13 MSG