- Being engaged is EXCITING!
- Planning a wedding is EXCITING!
- Having showers and parties in your honor every weekend is FUN!
- Spending lots of money on beautiful things for a gorgeous wedding is FUN!
- Being the center of everyone’s attention is EXTREMELY EXCITING!
GETTING MARRIED IS EXTREMELY EXCITING!
- Your wedding day is probably the most anticipated day of your life. You may have been dreaming of this day since you were a little girl.
- You have been focusing and planning on this day and these few hours for months or years.
- You will probably have butterflies in your tummy and hardly be able to sleep the night before you get married and hardly be able to eat that day.
- Everything is ULTRA ROMANTIC on that special day.
- You probably have planned an elaborate honeymoon to go enjoy your first week or so as a newly married couple. That is VERY, VERY EXCITING!
- This is the beginning of all of your dreams coming true!
- This is the first time that you officially begin to represent the oneness and very great mystery between Christ and His church – there are huge spiritual implications in marriage, in weddings, and in the relationship between a husband and wife. That is EXCITING, too!
THEN YOU COME HOME.
Reality sets in for the first time as you learn to adjust to living together. Some of it can be a HUGE SHOCK.
- There’s no more wedding to plan. That’s a HUGE relief! But it also leaves a vacuum in your time and purpose in life. And there is the realization that one of the most glorious days of your life is behind you. For some women, that can be depressing, especially if you haven’t been doing a lot of preparation for marriage, just for the wedding ceremony.
- Your husband has to go to work 40+ hours/week.
- Your husband may feel a LOT of pressure to try to make more money to be a loving husband and provide well for you. He has NEVER felt pressure like this before. He wants to prove how much he loves you by providing well for you financially. It is highly likely that you may feel unloved if he works lots of overtime because he’s hardly ever home. He’s trying to show his love for you, and you may not be getting the message at all.
- You may not see your husband as much after you get married as you did before if he feels like he needs to work extra or fix up the new place a lot. It’s easy to lose that close connection you used to share.
- You may begin to realize sometime in the first year that you have no idea what you are doing, what you are supposed to do, how marriage is meant to work, or what to do to get things back on track.
- There is a huge adjustment in switching from your parents being your authority to your new husband being your authority. You may keep wanting to call your parents for advice instead of seeking your husband’s counsel.
- Your husband has never had authority over a wife before. He is probably extremely unprepared. It will take him many years to develop godly leadership. This is a process. He needs your support, your forgiveness, your grace and your faith even when he fails – which he will! YOUR response will largely determine how serious the setback of his failure is or how much he will be able to learn and grow from his mistakes.
- Your husband’s faults, sins and selfishness become GREATLY magnified. You may try to make him change or feel like you married the “wrong” person. (All of us marry the wrong person – we all marry sinners!)
- Your own faults, sins and selfishness become GREATLY magnified. You may be unprepared to handle this. You may have had NO IDEA how sinful you really were before you got married. I sure didn’t!
- Your sexual relationship may take some time to gel. Sometimes things can be painful or awkward at first. Seek a godly older married woman to counsel you if things are really difficult! Or check with your OB/GYN if you are having a lot of pain. You may both have very different expectations about how your one flesh relationship should be, how often, etc.
- Your husband may not call you as much once you are married and living together.
- Your husband may not text you as much once you are married.
- He probably feels like he won the prize – YOU – and now he can relax and not put as much effort into wooing you.
- You may still have guy friends and have to decide what to do with these relationships so that they don’t threaten your marriage or become a source of temptation down the road.
- You may both have very different expectations about how to spend your free time. You may assume he’ll spend all his non-work time with you – why wouldn’t he? When you were dating and he was there, that is what you did, after all! He may assume he can settle down and do some things that help him relax like watch tv, do hobbies, play some golf with his friends, play video games, etc. To him, being in the same room with you IS being with you. He may not want to talk all of that time. To you, you may feel lonely just being in the same room with him if he’s not talking with you. You may expect him to spend hours just talking with you, staring into your eyes, holding your hand, going on romantic walks, cuddling and completely doting on you. If he is NOT doing all of these things, you may think he doesn’t love you any more. That is NOT what he thinks at all!!!!
- You might have to go to work 40+ hours/week. Your schedules may not match.
- The wedding gifts have to be put away and the house/apartment decorated.
- The lifestyle you can afford may be WAY below what you were used to with your parents.
- There is grocery shopping to do.
- Someone has to cook meals.
- Someone has to do the dishes.
- There is vacuuming, dusting, bill paying, lawn mowing, and all manner of non-romantic, un-fun chores to be done.
- You might prefer different schedules and have a hard time coordinating bedtime.
- He might like the tv on to sleep and you might hate it.
- He might have sports on all the time and you really don’t care about sports.
- He might want to hang trophies or deer heads in the living room.
- He might not like your pink, girly decorations all over the house.
- Your husband might be super sloppy in the bathroom.
- Your husband might be super sloppy in the bedroom.
- You might be super sloppy and your husband might ask you to do a better job with the housekeeping and that might really hurt your feelings.
- His clothes and shoes and stuff seems to scatter all over the house the minute he walks in the door. You might get the house all cleaned up, and as soon as he comes home, it looks like a disaster again. You might resent his lack of consideration and start telling him things like, “You need to put your shoes in the closet!” “You need to clean up your wet towels in the bathroom! You always make such a mess! I feel like your maid. All I do is clean up after you.” To be fair – he probably doesn’t really notice he’s doing that stuff, and he probably isn’t trying to upset you on purpose. This is where grace and mercy comes in. You can ask him, respectfully, to clean up his things, please. But if he doesn’t – please realize that this is SMALL stuff. There’s a HUGE chance you’ll be a widow one day. And then you would give ANYTHING to have your husband come home and mess up the house. Your husband is more important than a clean house! Your peaceful, loving, respectful relationship is more important than who picks up the wet towels!
- There are no more parties in your honor.
- There are no more gifts. (until Christmas and your birthday, of course!)
- You may have a lot of debt from college loans and the wedding expenses.
- There may be family conflicts between you and in-laws or him and your family and you may not be sure how to handle that yet. Since leaving and cleaving is still very new to you, it’s easy for each spouse to side with his/her own family instead of with his/her new spouse and this can cause extreme resentment and tension.
- You may not be able to afford going out to eat for dates like you used to now that you have so many other household expenses.
- Your family and friends might not be around as much, giving you space to be a newlywed. And while that is probably a good thing, you may feel like your support network has vanished from beneath your feet. Your man is probably not an adequate substitute for the support your mom, dad and all your girlfriends were giving you before.
- Learning to merge two lives into one is HARD. There may be disagreements, arguments, fights, misunderstandings, tears and a lot of angst sometimes.
- You may want to turn to family and friends to complain about your man, but if you do, that will undermine your respect of him and your trust in him – and their respect for him, if they agree with you that he’s awful. Remember that if you speak disrespectfully of him, other people may not be as forgiving later as you might be. Seek a GODLY OLDER MARRIED WOMAN to be your mentor! Choose someone who will uphold respect for your husband and your marriage covenant!
- You and your husband have two unique family cultures and ways of doing things. It’s not that one way is right and the other is wrong, or one way is better than the other. They are different. You will have to hammer out your own new way of doing things as a new family.
- Your husband is not a woman! If you expect him to think, act and feel like you – things will be a MESS! Allowing him permission to be a man and admiring how different he is will help things go a lot more smoothly!
- Your husband is not your dad! Let him do things his own way.
- Your husband is not your sister or girlfriend. He may not be able to take hours of talking and emoting. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He might just be a guy!
- You may not agree on decisions. You may mess up and act disrespectfully when he wants something you don’t. Please apologize as quickly as possible to restore peace and unity! If you tell him your feelings and desires, and he decides to do something other than what you want, accept his decision graciously with something like, “I trust you to do what is best for us. I respect that God made you to be the leader of our marriage. Thank you for doing what you believe is right. I appreciate your willingness to listen to my input and feelings.”
- You may feel unprepared for domestic duties like cooking, cleaning and running a household. Your husband may not like your cooking as much as he likes his mama’s – and that can hurt your feelings sometimes.
- You may have problems, questions, concerns, issues, confusion and not know where to turn for godly help and advice.
BOOKS I WOULD RECOMMEND FOR A NEWLY MARRIED WIFE TO READ TO LEARN ABOUT GODLY MARRIAGE, GODLY FEMININITY, AND GOD’S DESIGN:
- “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle (if you tend to dominate and your husband tends to be passive, intended to be “religion neutral” but, in my opinion, holds up the commands of scripture for marriage very well.)
- “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. (A REALLY helpful Christian book to explain God’s basic design for marriage. A good place to start.)
- “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn (A Christian book full of large scale studies and statistics that explains how men think, what their perspective looks like in ways we can understand, and unlocks the mystery of masculinity. EXCELLENT READ! You will be shocked at how different guys really are from us! Knowing how he thinks will help you approach your man a lot more effectively.)
- “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner (A great Christian resource to help you learn what it means to respect your husband in a God-honoring way.)
- “Sacred Influence” by Gary Thomas (An in-depth Christian book, better to do this one after the others, probably. Goes deep into theology and the ability of a woman to be a godly influence on her husband. Beautiful!!!)
I pray that You will help these precious girls prepare for MARRIAGE – not just one exciting wedding day! Give them the tools they will need to be godly wives. Help them discover Your beautiful design for godly femininity, for godly masculinity, for marriage and family life. Help them to have realistic expectations of their men and of marriage. Help them learn to plug into Your power to respond with grace, poise, mercy, forgiveness and flexibility when their plans don’t go the way they wanted them to.