Today we have our second post in our NewlyWednesday series, and I'm so excited to share it with you! Laura has the sweetest heart and was one of the first to jump right into helping our Pennies and Rocks wedding campaign, and Daniel and I are forever thankful. Speaking of Daniel--she's also married to one, so don't get confused. :)
Hey blogosphere! I’m Laura, and I’m married to my main squeeze, Daniel. I went to OBU with Jordan and Nataley, and I also had the privilege of donating some of my own wedding décor to Jordan for “A Wedding for Pennies and Rocks.” Such a neat project!
Daniel and I just celebrated a year and a half of marriage + a year in our neat 1920’s house on December 9th, so I’m no marriage expert. But I’m honored to be featured – shout out to Jordan and Nataley for trusting me to keep all this fame from going to my head. :)
10 Things Nobody Told Me About Being Married
1. Your families, while they may have similarities, are probably very different.
I am a true Southerner, born and bred. Daniel was born in the South, but his parents are both from the North – Wisconsin, to be exact! I grew up eating fried chicken; Daniel grew up eating brats and sauerkraut. I grew up saying “y’all;” he grew up saying “don’t ya know.” (Not really.) All kidding aside though, when you bring two people together from two different families, it requires a little A LOT of grace, a good sense of humor, and willingness to compromise. Daniel and I both had preconceived ideas about how to handle certain situations because of what our parents did. Most of the time, we both think “my way” is best because we’re already accustomed to it. But we are our own little family now! We are a blend of two families, figuring out through trial and error what works for us and our future kids. Sometimes we do stuff my family does. Sometimes we do stuff his family does. And sometimes (GASP) we do stuff that NEITHER family does.
2. It’s easy to stop learning about each other.
At the start of any friendship, learning about the other person is easy because there is so much to learn! You want to know everything about that person – their favorite food, the music they listen to, what they would do in case of a zombie apocalypse, etc. You don’t imagine that you could ever run out of things to talk about. But when you marry this person and settle into an everyday routine, it is just as easy to believe you’ve already learned pretty much everything there is to know. Um, NOPE! You will ALWAYS have more to learn! Don’t become too lazy to pursue your spouse. Ask new questions. And ask the old ones again, because the answers may have changed! I spent an entire year thinking that Daniel’s favorite candy was still Cookies and Cream Hershey’s bars, when, in fact, he had found a new love – Riesens. I would never have known if I hadn’t asked again!
3. You have to put the toilet seat down…every…day.
Seriously. I really think it’s every day. I am dreading the day that I walk in the bathroom in the middle of the night and forget, and just fall in. (Addendum – literally three days after I wrote this, I almost did. I barely caught my balance in time.) Overarching point: sometimes, they will drive you absolutely, positively, I-just-want-to-lie-facedown-on-the-floor crazy. But…*reality check*…you drive them crazy too.
4. Comparisons are dangerous.
I think all of us know that person. The girl who constantly posts via social media how much she loves her man, how her boo sent her fifteen bouquets of flowers this month, how they just built a new mansion, her engagement ring is 4 carats, and he bought her a car ‘for no reason.’ In those moments, you might start to think “My husband doesn’t ____. My husband isn’t ____. My husband won’t ____.” DANGER DANGER DANGER. Do not entertain those thoughts. Step away from the jealousy, sister. Social media only gives us one side of marriage: the side that is posted publically. Typically, the pretty is posted and not the ugly. Things might look great on the surface, but their marriage may be struggling behind the scenes. You just don’t know. So PLEASE don’t get sucked into comparing your marriage to someone else’s by using Facebook or Instagram as your measuring stick. Take time to remind yourself why YOUR guy is so great and why you fell in love with HIM.
(Side note – don’t go to the opposite extreme and start hating on someone else’s relationship just to make yourself feel better about your own. Let’s be classy, folks.)
5. SO MUCH comes down to expectations.
This is a big one, guys. I’m about to get super honest, so bear with me. Before I got married, my expectations about sex were super skewed. Media portrays it terribly – either it doesn’t matter at all, or it’s the only thing that matters. Either way, according to our confused culture, it’s this incredibly perfect euphoric experience. If you grew up in church, you probably did True Love Waits or something similar, and you heard over and over to save sex for marriage, save sex for marriage, SAVE IT FOR MARRIAGE ALREADY. But they never really tell you why to save it, so you spend your whole life wondering and waiting. And then, you get married and go on a honeymoon, after wondering and waiting, and you finally realize WHY they tell you to wait. You wait because it ISN’T a perfect euphoric experience! But when you marry the right person, it’s okay that it isn’t. It’s okay that it’s awkward and funny, because you know that they love you. You know they care more about YOU than they care about themselves. You know that when you wake up the next morning, they will still be there.
This is just one example of many, but my point is that expectations can change everything. Talk about them together. How often should the laundry be done? What kinds of things should you buy together and what things are a waste of money? Not everyone has the same opinion or upbringing as you. Make sure that your expectations – about kids, about the future, about who is ‘supposed’ to take out the trash – are realistic. If you don’t talk about them, at least one of you will spend a good part of your marriage either frustrated or disappointed because something didn’t live up to his or her expectations.
This sounds silly, but I truly didn’t realize how much I would be sharing when I got married! Yet another reason to make sure you marry the right person: you share everything but your toothbrush. It took some adjusting for me! I spent my whole life using my money, spending my time hanging out with my friends and driving my car, and basically doing whatever I wanted. When you join forces, “my” becomes “our.” We don’t just share kisses and information anymore. We share a mailbox. We share a refrigerator. We share a bed. Good grief, we spent what seemed like 17 years kicking each other every night and fighting for covers before we finally figured out how to share our bed. HA! Being married means lots of sacrifice. I’m guessing the only thing that will require even more sacrifice is having kids.
7. Don’t forget to appreciate the little things.
People always say this, but there’s a reason they say it. It’s because IT’S TRUE. Real life isn’t full of extravagant trips and fancy dinners. Sure, those things are nice occasionally, but when you only have two weeks of vacation a year and you have bills to pay (which is…hmmm…all of us?), you can’t afford to do stuff like that all the time. That’s where appreciating the little things comes in. For example: Daniel brought me a Dove chocolate bar today for no reason. I put his towel in the dryer so it’s warm when he gets out of the shower. He cleans the stovetop (a job I absolutely HATE). I make his favorite food for supper. Little things can be just as meaningful when you do them out of love. Train yourself to watch for those moments and thank your spouse for his or her thoughtfulness!
8. Marriage is fun!!
Whenever Daniel and I were engaged, I remember hearing “Marriage is hard work” a lot. Every married person I talked to said it. Only a few told me that being married was genuinely fun. Don’t get me wrong – it is hard work. But it’s also GOOD hard work, and it truly is fun! You create inside jokes that no one else gets. You can travel to all sorts of places with your best friend by your side. You know exactly how to cheer each other up and make each other laugh. (I get SO much joy from making Daniel really laugh.) You can be silly and weird, singing in your ugly voice and dancing around the house in your underwear like an idiot with no fear of judgment. You guys…….I’m telling you. It is so. much. fun.
9. You really don’t have to be miserable unless you want to be.
Every day, we are presented with the same choice: to walk in joy or in bitterness. Regardless of your circumstances, you can choose to have joy and be thankful for what you have. I know couples who have experienced things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy – debilitating cancer, children dying, and declaring bankruptcy, to name a few. The reality is that awful things happen, but our reactions (good or bad) speak volumes to our spouses and to the other people around us. It’s just another way to imitate Jesus through your actions, really. When you have a terrible day and you drive home to an unmade bed and a dirty kitchen, praise God that you have a husband to cook and clean for. When you’re irritated because supper is getting cold and your husband still isn’t home from work, praise God that he has a job to help provide for your family. Managing to keep a good attitude in the midst of a frustrating situation is hard, but it can make a world of difference.
10. Sometimes, YOU are the one who needs to change.
I know you grew up doing things a certain way. I know that your way is “the best way.” But…can I be blunt? Sometimes, it isn’t. Believe me, I’m speaking this to myself too. It’s okay for someone else to be right sometimes. If you’re like me, you have a hard time admitting when you’re wrong. If Daniel and I argue about something, I’m more likely to dig my heels in and wait for him to apologize first. But honestly? That is incredibly NOT like Jesus. If my goal during marriage is to be right more or to win more arguments, I’ve already lost. Sometimes, you are the one who needs to change, not your spouse. I pray often that God will make me a godly wife. Lately, I’ve been in a season where God is pointing out a lot of things He wants to chisel out of me, and one of those things is selfishness. I’ve never used the word ‘servant’ to describe myself, but I want to. And the more I listen to God’s voice and allow Him to change my heart, the more I become like Him.
Thank you for sharing so much wisdom with us, Laura! :)