The first year of marriage can be given a bad stigma, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it can be an amazing start! Here’s how!
Like so many other Americans, I have been inspired and challenged by War Room, the Kendrick Brother’s latest motion picture that has been blazing through the box offices as the number one hit.
War Room illustrates the story of The Jordan’s, a beautiful African-American family who seem to have no issues from the surface level. The husband, Tony Jordan, is a handsome charismatic man and is the top salesman at his company. His wife, Elizabeth Jordan is a poised and successful real estate agent, and their daughter is a beautiful sweet girl who excels in both school and athletics.
Despite this seemingly perfect appearance, their life behind closed doors is a completely different story. Tony is revealed to be an emotionally distant husband, Elizabeth as a tired and embittered wife, and their daughter as a little girl heartbroken by her parents’ constant fighting. Can you identify with this family portrait?
Unfortunately, most Americans can relate with this scenario. Like the Jordan family, they want to have a good marriage but have no idea where to begin.
Thankfully the Jordan’s discovered the power of prayer and in the end come together in love and unity. This film resonated with so many because it offered hope, hope for family and hope for marriage, an institution so many had begun to feel was archaic, or worse yet, impossible to actually enjoy.
Read on and find tips that will strengthen you whenever you choose to begin your journey into marriage to avoid making the common mistakes evidenced in The Jordan Family and in families all around the nation who see in themselves an inner exhausted, nagging wife or distanced husband.
The first year of marriage is essential because it is Foundational, the seeds that are planted in this year will inevitably grow in the years to come, either revealing a beautiful flourishing relationship or a withered, neglected marriage. Some affectionately call the first year of marriage the “honeymoon phase” but those who have been married past a year will normally recall the first year as the year of major transition, unexpected difficulties, and also marital bliss.
These seven tips will help you in Your First Year of Marriage:
1. Be Patient With Yourself and Your Spouse
Be Patient with Yourself! You have never been married before and neither has your spouse, so you both will need grace. Mistakes are unavoidable and perfectly fine if you are learning from them and growing together.
Love takes a lifetime to learn, and is something we daily need to be perfected in. Submission, love, and respect are all character traits that too must be learned.
Enjoy the process of growing together and fight the urge to compare yourself to more seasoned couples who seem to have “made” it. They too were newlyweds once and grew together!
2. Continue Pursuing One Another
Dating doesn’t have to end with the first “I do.” Keep the affection and attraction you had for one another fresh by continuing to pursue each other. Go on weekly date nights and weekend getaways.
I’m so glad older couples stressed the importance of a weekly date night early in our marriage. This small tradition has become the bedrock of keeping our marriage enjoyable and exciting. Have fun!
Pinterest has a plethora of fun and inexpensive date nights. You can even keep a mason jar full of date night ideas on popsicle sticks that you can pull out at any time.
They can be as simple as visiting a local book store together and reading a novel together or as extravagant as going on a night boat cruise through a city harbor.
3. Make Time for Rest and Fun
The importance of having rest and fun to having a healthy marriage cannot be overstated. As life responsibilities pile on from job searching, applying for schools or employment, it is so important to plan out moments daily and weekly to simply relax, unwind, and enjoy one another.
Remove yourself from anything that would require you to produce or perform and prioritize your well-being as a family. Every conversation cannot be about finances and various life obligations, you have to have time to allow yourselves to just be with one another.
Go for a walk, read together, take a bike ride, or simply watch an old favorite film together, what ever will slow you down and bring you peace.
4. Get Into Each Other’s World
There is nothing more heart-warming than sharing a personal hobby with your spouse. It is such a great way to practically show your husband or wife your love for them.
Beyond mere words, it demonstrates that what matters to your spouse also matters to you.
Even if the activity doesn’t immediately seem enjoyable to you (watching the football game, attending a ballet, cooking), doing it with your spouse will help you understand them more and create a deeper bond between you both.
5. Esteem Each Other Higher than Anyone Else.
This tip may seem evident, but it can be very difficult to actually implement.
Nearly any married couple would state their family or marriage comes first, but it takes continual heart checks and deliberate actions to make sure you are truly putting your relationship with your husband or wife above anything else.
Make your husband feel like a king, and allow him to treat you like his queen. (See my recent blog on Getting Priorities in Order).
6. Seek Mentors
It takes a village to do anything, especially the things that matter most. Find a couple that are enjoying a thriving, strong, Godly marriage and who have your family’s best interest at heart and regularly seek counsel from them.
Open up fully with them help them navigate your first year of marriage. Their experience and love for you both will help enable them to see your blind-spots and offer solutions.
They will also be able to help you both see the other’s perspective more clearly and leave with more compassion for your spouse.
7. Keep God First!
This is the final and most important step to ensuring a successful first year of marriage and life in general! Marriage is a reflection of Jesus and His selfless unconditional love for the church.
Without God there will be no love in the marriage and it will be doomed to fail. Early in your marriage, make seeking God together your first priority.
Pray together, do daily couple devotionals, and worship together. Above all else maintaining a strong connection with God will solidify and strengthen your relationship with one another.