Maybe I was naïve, or maybe I was just incredibly idealistic but the hardest lesson to learn as a young bride was that life is not like the movies. I’m stepping out on a limb here but I don’t think I am the only girl who cried in her pillow at night when the honeymoon was over. Looking back after almost 20 years of marriage, I’ve learned a lot - a lot that you might not normally read in one of those 2 pound bridal magazines. So here are my top three tips for new brides:
1. Disagree – Conflict is a normal part of healthy relationships. There is a Bible verse that says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” My husband and I did our best to follow this rule in our early years, but I’m not sure it means what we thought it meant. Believe me; no one solves a relational conflict at 2 o’clock in the morning after arguing since dinner. What we’ve found that works for us is to say: “You and I are at an impasse. I love you, but I don’t agree with you and the longer we stay up the less progress we make. Let’s agree to disagree tonight and come back to this when we are not emotionally wasted.” I get a little time to process and we get to take a fresh look at our issue.
2. Be Stubborn – When those challenges do come, hold on tight to your commitment to each other. You may feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up, dig in your heels and take a stand instead. Don’t give up easy! But know that there IS a difference between commitment and resignation. I’m not suggesting anyone resign themselves to living in the muck and mire of relational difficulties. I made my bed and now I have to lay in it – Gross, NO! One of the greatest features of the human race is our ability to change and grow. Stubbornly hold on to the hope that you can change and grow together!
3. Lower Your Expectations – This is not to say lower your standards, nope that would certainly mean a bigger mess. This is to say that as lovely as it would be there will most likely NOT be a sunset backlighting your hair with an angelic glow when you have to confess that you went over budget on your girlfriend shopping trip. And I don’t know what kind of super hero vision Beyonce has but I have never seen a halo around my man’s head. You did not marry a perfect guy and you are not a perfect girl. Expecting perfection will set you up for major disappointment. Anticipating the challenges of life will put you in better position to hit them head on.
Marriage is the joining of two lives. I heard someone compare it to the convergence of two rivers, those first few miles can be a little turbulent. Think of these early years as the class IV rapids adventure thrill ride. There will be plenty of time in the years ahead for taking in the scenery. My best advice – put your hair in a pony tail, grab an oar and row!
Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/