Advice from a Newly-Vetted Newlywed

Advice from a Newly-vetted Newlywed!

Newly-vetted Newlywed

The last year of being a newlywed gave me more insight into myself and the meaning of marriage than any marriage advice books you read before the wedding did. My husband and I moved overseas just a few weeks after saying our “I do’s”.  Our move across the ocean meant having to say goodbye to all things familiar and lean solely on each other {and God} in our new home in a new country.

The whole process was like teaching a kid to swim by throwing him off the ship; you learn quickly to adapt or sink quickly. This weekend, my baby cousin, my sweet friend took the “plunge”, said her “I Do’s”, and has now entered the world of sink or swim marriage! Looking back, I want to share some words of love and {in}experience that will hopefully serve as some metaphorical “water-wings” to help you stay afloat and you dive into this new part of your life 🙂

  1. You don’t always have to be right– My husband and I have had countless “discussions” about the right way to load the dishwasher, sort laundry, even how to blow out a candle! Our discussions are usually extremely innocuous, yet when we get stuck over whose way is the right way, our silly disagreements can escalate into something foolish. Yet when you are first married, you are trying to merge two ways of life into one unified team. More serious discussions of where to spend holidays, how to plan your budget, or where to move can become points of contention if anyone is looking to win the other to “their side”. When you are learning to live with one another, my advice is to wipe your expectations of how things were done clean and make a new plan of how you will do life together!

  1. Don’t be wrong{ed}– Okay, you can be wrong (trust me, I am A LOT), but when you are, don’t be wronged. This meaning, don’t be easily offended by your partner. We all drive the “struggle bus” some days, saying and doing stupid things. In those times, you would want your partner to have grace for you. Yet, it is very easy to make yourself the “victim” when you feel wronged by your husband or wife.
  • For example, one day I was feeling sick, tired, and undesirable after teaching a long day of kindergartners, cleaning up 5-year old’s vomit, and wearing an unflattering kid-proof outfit now covered in playdoh, glitter, and paint. The words that came out of my mouth to my husband were, “I feel fat and tired”. “You should really go to the gym!” my husband retorted. If you thought the eye of Sauron was fiery, you didn’t see the look I gave him! I spewed, “You think I’m lazy and fat… how dare you, I work so hard.” Poor guy. The problem is I had an expectation that my guy would shower me with compliments and affirmation, not a suggestion… I also attributed a false motive behind his comment, whereas, he later explained, that I had told him earlier that week that I felt happier and had more energy when I hit the gym before school… he was trying to help. Bless his heart 🙂 But this moment made me realize that “love is not easily offended; it keeps no record of wrongs”… when we are thin-skinned we set ourselves up for undue hurt. Just like you would like your partner to give you the benefit of a doubt, always assume your spouse had the best intentions in what they say and do (and remind them that the next time, just to hug you and tell you that you’re pretty).

3.   Talk about money– Confession: my husband made a 10 year financial budget/savings goal plan on a spreadsheet DURING OUR HONEYMOON. It was hardly romantic, but it was incredibly loving. Talk about your long and short term goals. Build a budget and stick to it. Start saving for retirement NOW (millennials, don’t count on collecting social security) and start adding to college savings plans NOW!!! If you save early, and make the hard choices right away, the dividends later in life will be that much greater. It’s easier to learn to live modestly now together then to trim back your lifestyle later because you can no longer afford it. The couple down the street may have all the new toys, but don’t let other’s financial choices steer you away from the plan you agreed upon together!

4.   Do premarital counseling– Okay, so you did the books already before the wedding. But so much of what you expect and who you are change as you are married for awhile. My husband and I looked and observed that as our life circumstances changed, so did our previous opinions. I remember in the movie, Christmas Vacation, the main character finds himself locked in the attic and finds gifts covered in dust, tucked behind rafters, that he had carefully wrapped and hid away, but it got forgotten over the weeks, months and years. I urge you to revisit your premarital books and materials a few months after the wedding and you will find some treasures you forgot about.

5.  Call your mom– Your mom and dad still love you and want to hear from you. You don’t need to call them every day like a homesick college freshman, but make sure that your parents and in-laws know that they are a valuable part of your life. Also, this is a side note, but make sure you write those thank you notes early and get them to the people you love!  They want to hear from you too! They are a guarantee for early onset carpel tunnel, but there is nothing worse than a bride that doesn’t send those thank you notes…(moms nagging us as kids had a point about manners… it reflects on them as well) Get them done early so they are not hanging over your head…people will appreciate your gratitude!  Oh yeah…and call your parents!!!

6. Vent to each other – So call your parents, but don’t vent to them.  Have boundaries in what you say to others. If your parents are like mine, for example, you can expect biweekly inquisitions about the state of your womb… children are a you and spouse decision! If you are having a disagreement with you husband, vent to your husband, never to your in laws or parents. The Bible clearly outlines how when we get married, we leave our parents and cleave to our spouse. Meaning in all things, make sure your spouse is your first and primary confidant. You are each others’ greatest cheerleaders and encouragers. In all things, make sure you communicate well with each other.

7. Pray for your spouse, not about him

Finally, above all things, PRAY. I knew this, but into my marriage I had to check how I was praying for my husband. Many times I found myself selfishly asking God to change how my husband would say or do things. Instead, I needed to pray that God would work in my own heart and that He would grew my husband in the way that was best. When I stopped complaining about my spouse to God, and started praying for him, my attitude and heart softened, which in turn, fed our communication, leading to positive change in our marriage… Always pray FOR the person you love most.

I sometimes joke with my friends that my purpose in life is so that others may learn from my mistakes. My prayer for my baby cousin and others is that you can glean from other’s mishaps and victories as you begin this amazing journey together.

All my love,

kenzie-from-gumptiongrace-com

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