Hey everyone! So, I got a personal request from a newly-engaged friend to do a post about marriage advice! I enjoy getting feedback from readers about topic suggestions, because honestly, I hit a wall sometimes, and don’t know what to write about LOL. Bur since “marriage” can be a broad topic, I asked what she would like the post to focus on, and she suggested: establishing a strong relationship during the first year of marriage, communication, and spirituality.
As I mention in a lot of my posts, this is just my personal advice and opinions – I’m not expert by any means! So let’s get started!
ESTABLISHING A STRONG RELATIONSHIP
Everyone says the first year of marriage is supposed to be the “honeymoon phase”, right? Well, that’s true to an extent. But, the first year of marriage can also be somewhat challenging. This is not meant to be negative or discouraging – just being honest and realistic. Blending two different people with two different personlities takes work, and the biggest part of it involves the realization that you now have to put someone else’s needs and interests ahead of your own. Both people are coming into the marriage with different backgrounds and experiences. Every decision now includes you and your spouse, which means there are going to be disagreements and compromises. But we’ll talk more about that in the “communication” section!
Whether you’ve been together for several years, or only several months, marriage is still a big step regardless of how well you may know each other. It always bothers me when people say, “Marriage is just a piece of paper” – to me this kind of attitude is demeaning, and lacks appreciation for the gift of marriage. I’m not trying to get up on a high horse or anything like that, but I think it’s important to realize how big of a committment marriage really is, in order to build a strong relationship. It’s also important to recognize that things are not always going to be easy just because you love each other. Neither person in the relationship is perfect, both people are going to make mistakes, and both have equal accountability to the success of the marriage – marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100.
Now that we got some of the moe serious stuff taken care of, let’s talk about fun stuff. It is equally important to remember to have fun and enjoy being married. Another thing I don’t like to hear about marriage is that things get boring after you’re married. True, people get used to each other and become more comfortable and all that, but that doesn’t mean the relationship has to become boring, or stale. Small gestures will have the most profound effect – saying “I love you” every day, doing things for each other without being asked, going on dates, showing affection and appreciation, etc.
So we all know communication is a very important element in building a healthy marriage. As much as we love our spouse, communicating our wants, needs, feelings and opinions might not always be the easiest thing, if it something that may be cause for disagreement. Despite the challenge of being open and transparent, it’s very important that you and your partner are aware of each other’s feelings. Granted, expressing you feelings and showing emotion may be easier for one person than it is for the other, so keep that in mind when an issue comes up.
I mentioned disagreements and compromise earlier. Like I said, every marriage is going to have issues that need resolving, and both people need to be attentive to these issues. The important thing to remember when disagreements or difficult topics arise, is that you’re in this together so the goal should be to resolve the issue – not to win the argument. Sometimes this means humbly admitting when you’re wrong. Even if you didn’t say or do something with the intention of hurting the other person’s feelings, sincerely acknowledge their feelings, and show you’re being attentive to how it affected them. Another thing to keep in mind is, sometimes people just want someone to listen to them – it’s not always about fixing something. Also, remember that not all communication is verbal. Body language, affection, cards, letters, etc., are all ways to communicate, as well.
Anyway, the big take-away is, when it comes to communication – listen to understand, don’t listen to respond. It definitely takes patience, understanding, selflessness and empathy to communicate effectively in a marriage.
We’ve arrived at the most important part of marriage – being spiritually strong. To me, this includes being spiritually strong as individuals, as a couple, and as a family, if and when you decide to have kids. Before we get into more detail on this topic, I will be honest and admit that I was not at a spiritual high when my husband and I got married. Nevertheless, I did not let that stop me from working to get back to a better place and repairing my relationship with Jehovah. More importantly, both of us worked on strengthening our spiritual bond (with each other and with Jehovah) together.
Like anything else, being spiritually healthy requires effort and discipline – study together, encourage each other, make sure meeting attendance is a priority, go out in service together. Also, remember to rely on Jehovah, and maintain his view of marriage. I know I said earlier that things won’t always be easy just because you love each other, BUT love is what will get you through the challenging times. Pick each other up when things get challenging. Most importantly, keep Jehovah first!
Obviously this is just a fraction of the advice I, or anyone else could give to a newlywed couple. The main thing to remember is that marriage is a thing to be cherished, and is something both people have to constantly work at. Marriage is not two separate people who love each other, but still want to do their own thing – but rather, marriage is two people joining to become one.
Share your marriage/relationship advice below!