Congratulations on your recent marriage, I sincerely wish you all the best! As you begin your new life together, there are a few things that I thought you should know. I'm sure you received A LOT of advice on your wedding day. And I'm sure by now you've realized that some of that advice is really helpful and some is not actually realistic.
At my own wedding and other weddings that I've attended, I've heard a lot of different pieces of advice. Some are a little silly like, "when you fight, fight naked". Others sound like great advice but in reality, aren't the best like, "never go to bed angry". (Tip: If you're in a big fight and it's late and you're tired, go to bed. If it's the middle of the day, take a nap. Things seem like less of an issue when you're well rested.) I have heard quite a few sweet words of wisdom given to newlyweds like, "always kiss goodnight" or "hold hands often". As I've been thinking about our marriage journey so far, I've come up with a few words of wisdom of my own.
You Are a Team
This is the biggest thing that I feel like every couple should remember. By working together, you will get more accomplished and you'll be more likely to win in life. With anything that you are working toward, work as a team, and work together, not against each other. I'm not a big sports person, but I do know that in most sports themed movies, there's that one person who has to be humbled and stop playing like they are the only one or the most important player on the team. Learn from their mistakes rather than making your own. Let your spouse's strengths compliment your strengths and together you'll be ready to conquer anything that comes your way.
Make Time for Your Marriage
Every time a phase in our life ends, I think about all of the things that we'll be able to do with the extra time that we have. I'm always so sure that we're going to have extra time to focus on each other but inevitably, something always swoops into to feel those cracks of time just as quickly as they opened up. Over the years I've learned that if I want to make my marriage a priority, I have to do just that and make time in my schedule for my husband.
Continue to Date Each Other
Whenever I mention that I think couples should continue to date each other, people usually think I'm just suggesting that they put date night on the calendar once a week. While I'm a huge advocate of date night, there is so much more to dating each other than that. It's the flirty text messages throughout the day, getting all dressed up for the time you spend together on dates, kissing often and doing those little things that you were doing when you dated each other. It's finding a way to let your spouse know that you're thinking about them throughout the day. Whether that's sending them a quick link to a funny video, story, or meme that you know they'd enjoy, grabbing their favorite drink when you're out running errands or surprising them by taking care of something that they'd normally do so that you have more time to spend together. Find ways to continue to court each other and keep the spark alive in your marriage on a daily basis.
It Isn't Always Easy
One thing that I used to hear a lot was that marriage is hard work. Building a successful marriage does take effort and I guess you could say that it takes work, but it's fun work! I never like to refer to marriage as hard or difficult because those words don't quite fit marriage in my mind. Life is a journey, and when you get married you have a partner to take that journey with you. In a way, that actually makes your journey easier. There's someone by your side to catch you if you fall, somebody to lean on through the struggles and a best friend to share in all of your joys and successes. When I look back on our journey as husband and wife so far, I see those obstacles that we encountered, but I don't see them for the struggle that they were, I see them for the success that we felt when we conquered them and the way that they helped us to become a stronger team. Which leads me to my next point...
The Challenges Will Make or Break You
When our daughter was in the NICU a year ago, I realized that it was a challenge that could tear us apart or bring us closer together. For three weeks, we were in balancing life between the hospital and home. Our two little ones were our top priority and it would have been easy to put our marriage on the back burner and focus on how stressful life was. Instead, we worked together to find the best way to care for our little ones and we made sure to find time for each other every single day, even if it was only 15 minutes. At the end of that obstacle, we were stronger and happier because of the way we had chosen to approach it. You can choose whether or not the trials that you face are going to make you a greater team or bring you down.
Married life is great, and you will love it!! Having a friend to take with you to dinner, weddings, the new movie that just came, all of those family events, etc. is a lot of fun. Planning for the future, working on projects together and tackling life one problem at a time is rewarding. Enjoy each moment that you get to experience together and look for ways to improve your marriage every single day.