Monday, February 27, 2017

Five Things I Wish I Had Known as a Newlywed

A couple weeks ago Howell told me the sermon topic at his men’s morning group was “10 things I wish I knew when I was 21.”

We started talking about how that would make a great blog post if we related it to our first year of marriage. So this week, I’ll share five things I wish I had known in our first year of marriage. (In two weeks, Howell will share his five.) 

1. It’s okay for Howell to have friends and need guy time—like hunting or playing basketball. These are good for his soul, and rather than feeling insecure that he wants time alone or time away, I’ve learned to encourage him to do so. 

2. We don't have to be the same. It’s okay that he loads the dishwasher differently or that he doesn’t know what we’re doing five weekends from now, or even that he doesn’t like all my same shows. He doesn’t have to be like me to love me, and if he doesn’t do something like I would, it also doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

3. In most arguments, we’re both wrong. I probably didn’t learn to apologize and ask for forgiveness until about year four or five of our marriage. If I was upset, of course my reason was legit—and Howell was wrong. Period. I had to learn that sometimes I need to apologize for getting upset—for overreacting, for being too sensitive, for responding in anger, etc.

4. My response is my responsibility. Most of the time, what Howell said or did was not offensive or hurtful, even if I took it that way. But whether my reason for getting upset was legit, I am always in control of how I respond.

5. Howell's heart for me is good. I wish I had learned to get to Howell’s heart sooner instead of jumping to the constant conclusion that “he did X so he must not love me.” So often I would get my feelings hurt over something he did or said, and it would take a while to calm down and hear that he either didn’t mean it that way or didn’t realize that X decision or statement would cause me to respond the way I did.

**Bonus! I’d tie all this together by saying a common theme in our first year of marriage was insecurity. Most of the time, however I was responding or reacting was based on my level of security. I often doubted Howell’s love for me, and I was quicker to be suspicious that he doesn’t love me than to believe that he did.

But the greatest lesson I learned—and it changed our marriage drastically—was to find true security in the Lord. Howell can’t be my all and everything. At some point, he’ll let me down—and no one wants to live under that kind of pressure anyway.

But if I trust in the Lord to be my source, then I can also learn to trust my husband’s heart toward me, and I can feel secure in our marriage because I feel secure in the Lord.

Friends, if you’re newly married, you might find yourself in conflict often, but you can get to your spouse’s heart and see that he or she loves you; you can find self-control and respond appropriately; and you can find security in the Lord for a healthy marriage.

If you’ve been married a while—what are your lessons? What do you wish you’d known in your first year of marriage?
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