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5 Lessons I’ve Learned In My First 5 Years of Marriage

5 Lessons I’ve Learned In My First 5 Years of Marriage

black man and woman married after sunset

Marriage is one of the greatest testers of faith and builders of character there could ever be. The act of two imperfect people striving for a more perfect love is bound to come with challenges. But it can also be blessedly rewarding.

The first five years of my own marriage have been no exception. In reflecting on my first half-decade of matrimony, I decided to take the plunge and share five of the many, many lessons I’ve learned about marriage so far.

So you wanna be married? Here are five things you should know before you marry.

1. If you want to remain separate while married, just stay single.

Marriage is like carpooling. You’re two people in the same car, headed in the same direction, to the same destination. The whole point of marriage is to do life together. It makes no sense to get married and remain the same person you were, doing the same things you were doing as a singleton.

I get it; it’s kinda scary to let go of complete control and all your own wants. However, marriage is very much about the good of the whole. It requires one to grow in selflessness daily. It’s one thing to draw boundaries and retain some form of identity, but it’s another to grip your own life too tightly to embrace a new one together. If you’re going to

2. Work on your personal development before marrying.

Some people marry younger than others. No one marries at the exact same point in life as the next person. However long or short your wait is, spend that time growing. Strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Pursue more education and interesting career opportunities. Get some stamps in your passport. Fix your credit. The list goes on. The experiences and life lessons learned can do a lot to help both you and your spouse as you build your life together.

Also, I’d be remiss to not mention some of the difficulties in doing certain things after marriage. Trying to accomplish different goals is like being in the car with someone who needs to run a bunch of errands. You may have to compromise on which errands you run, when, how long they can take, etc.

Your life will change. Don’t get me wrong – your spouse will hopefully support you and help you accomplish these things. However, you must consider them, as opposed to only considering yourself. Marriage may mean waiting on things or prioritizing the most urgent needs above your own desires.

3. Marriage won’t fix everything.

Whatever baggage and bad habits you have before marriage will not automatically disappear afterward. Sticking with our carpool analogy, getting in the car with someone else means having someone to help you with your luggage, but it does not mean the luggage unpacks itself.

If you have unresolved hurt from past relationships or your childhood, it may eventually show up in how you treat your spouse and how you trust your spouse. Another frequent example of a heavy bag in marriage is conflicting spending habits. If you have trouble managing money, your spouse can help you work on it, but if you don’t make the effort, you’re not going to change. Furthermore, they will end up paying for it, as if you just dumped your luggage in their lap and went on your merry way.

Pre-marital counseling is highly encouraged to help sort out some of the issues in your relationship before marriage. Many states will even discount your marriage license fee for doing a certain number of sessions. All in all, you will never have it all together but do make an effort to get there.

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4. If “50/50” was really a thing in marriage, then “for better or worse” wouldn’t mean as much.

Ah, the great 50% divide. The internet has debated so much about “50/50” you’d think they were negotiating a contract. And I’m sick of it. Life is not black and white or cut and dried.

What good is having someone to help you navigate the murky gray waters of life if you’re stuck on who’s holding which paddle? At any given point, one of you may be stronger than the other and have to pick up the slack of the weaker rower. One person might get tired, causing the other to have to paddle a bit more while the other recovers. You get my drift. Focusing so staunchly on even divides in every area all the time is a good way to leave your spouse hanging or vice versa. In marriage, the two become 100% of one together.

5. STOP GETTING YOUR IDEAS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS FROM STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET.

Yes, I know you’re reading a stranger’s blog article about relationships right now, but hear me out. You don’t have to take any of what I just said as law. None of these life lessons may be applicable to you. I don’t know. The point I’m trying to make is that your marriage is between you, God, and your spouse. These court of public podcast bros will you get an issue quick (while they sit at home wallowing in their incel-ness – a story for a different day).

At the end of the day, you and your spouse must pray and decide what works for your home. Please don’t base the totality of your beliefs about marriage and relationships on internet opinions, nor allow them to sway you from what you know is right. Just don’t do it.

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