We asked each person to write down their best marriage advice for the bride. This of course got me thinking about the biggest lessons that I have learned. It’s in no particular order, but this list is what came to the forefront of my mind, and is obviously not exhaustive, but what I would want to tell my soon to be married self four years ago. Of course, ultimately no advice prepares you for how hard and sweet marriage is. Just enjoy the ride and learn from your successes and mistakes.
• Study him. Know his likes and his dislikes. His dreams and hopes. Learn his love language. These may change over time.
• Try to put yourself in his shoes and think about what his perspective is and why he may be feeling that way, instead of always focusing on your own feelings.
• Be his safe place. Show him that no matter what he does or says you will love him and respect him unconditionally.
• Support his leadership, whether or not you always agree (you can discuss disagreements privately but don’t do it in public!). Don’t talk bad about him in front of others!
• Focus on the good. Practice biting your tongue or saying something nice instead. Let yourself cool off before you approach him if an issue must be addressed. Always say thank you. Praise is much more effective than criticism–but don’t manipulate!
• Don’t resent having to ask for help or tell him what you need. He can’t read your mind.
• Prioritize intimacy even when you don’t feel like it. Think of the marriage bed as renewing your vows. It’s so much more than simply physical.
~Don’t expect from him what only God can give. Be satisfied in Christ. He is the only person who will never let you down.
~Be his wife. Not his mom, or his school teacher, or his boss, or his pastor or the Holy Spirit. You are his lover and his partner and his friend.
~Don’t be afraid of dry spells. The feelings will evolve and come and go, have highs and lows. Good times and bad. Just cover your marriage with prayer and patience and remember that love is primarily an action and where you lead your heart the feelings will follow.
~Serve/give with no expectations or strings attached. But just because you love him.