I had no flippin' idea. Marriage was actually work, really hard work at that. This person who wooed me and loved me and read poetry to me turned out to be the least romantic husband in the world. It's like the wedding package was all bright and shiny, but the marriage center was kind of gooey and tart. I already took a bite, so it was too late to return it to the store.
Today, it's been 10 years since we took our vows. I am 32, but I feel 42. I am still the wife to one, but now a mother to two. Life is so exhausting that I rarely think about the day I wore white and promised to love, honor and cherish. I hardly know the girl I was. I have, however, gained a few more life experiences, which is good because the jeans are a little bigger these days, too.
If I could give advice to a soon-to-be-bride, who, like me, is young and a tad foolish for the bright, shiny package of marriage, here is what I would say:
- Nothing can prepare you for your new husband moving his stuff into your one bedroom apartment in trash bags then asking where he should hang his black light. Do not be afraid. It may take 10-15 years, but he may mature into something really amazing, especially with your love and acceptance. Then again, he may not.
- There are five love languages. Know your own, but especially know your husbands. You are wasting your energy doing four other love languages when, really, all you need to focus in on is one--his. It helps to tape your love language to the bathroom mirror, so he reads what you need every morning of his life.
- Nobody is perfect. If you can't forget, at least try to forgive. You may sacrifice more, hurt more, give more, love more than you ever imagined, but there are great rewards. The ironic part is that you might not always see those rewards. Keep working on it anyway.
- In the first year of marriage, go through a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class, so you the last thing you have to worry about is your finances. Also, please don't play the lottery. Being rich gets you in as much trouble as being poor. Aim for the middle, or a little higher, I say.
- Never mention divorce in jest or in anger. I truly believe saying the word gives it power over your relationship. It's like a seed in the bottom of your heart. It may grow sprouts at the oddest time and push all the other good stuff right out of the way.
- Lastly, be careful of all marriage advice from others, including the information above. Every person is different, so is every marriage. Cookie cutter advice only works well when making cookies, not when talking about relationships or people.
This is my married life, the good and the bad. I do, I do, I do.