To the Newlyweds...

To The Newlyweds

One of our dearly loved ones recently married.  I wrote them a note of encouragement and shared some things I've learned about marriage.  After I sent it I thought, 'hey, I should ask some friends to share their thoughts also', wisdom in a multitude of counselors and all of that... so I did!  

I posed the following question on Facebook and below you will find the thoughts of my friends and relatives.

If you have been married a "long time" (however you define that) ... I have a question for you!
What is the number one bit of advice you would share with an about-to-be married couple? Thanks!

The "two becoming one" is a lifelong journey that only starts with "I do". It is learning to be a team, working with each other's strength and weaknesses to become stronger by blending their strengths. God plus two is a beautiful thing.  - Martha

I don’t know that this is number 1, but it’s the first thing that came to mind...
Many disagreements and disappointments come from unmet (often unvoiced) expectations. Communication is so important, not just once feelings are hurt, but beforehand to hopefully avoid or at least minimize those hurt feelings. Be clear, be kind, give the benefit of doubt. - Kelly

Communication is everything. Don’t assume things. - Barbara

People think marriage should be all bliss and that it just happens. It’s work and choosing love, joy, respect, etc. - Tawna

Know that disagreements will happens. Work to find mutual ground. - Jennifer

Yield your rights.... it’s true for every believer in every relationship but especially in marriage. - Annette

Don’t go to bed angry and always tell each other you love them. - Amanda

Even if hurt or business keeps a couple from talking about deep issues or expectations, it is so imperative to “voice “ it. Some couples do well talking, others writing or texting each other. Pray pray pray before voicing to clear up emotional strain and under cover manipulation. - Rachel

Be triangular in your marriage. You and your spouse at the bottom, and Christ at the top. There is much more to be said but that is the start. - Steve

Don't make someone else's bad mood personal. It's amazing how many arguments can be avoided if you just give someone else time to get out of their funk-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-you rather than playing off it and making it snowball. - Rachel

Two adages I have adopted at different points in my 22 year marriage are these: 1. Love is not what you say or even what you feel. Love is what you actually do. 2. Expectations ruin relationships. I would also add something that I have tried to instill in all of my children as they begin to look for a spouse is that when you marry someone you are essentially marrying their entire family as well. Choose wisely. - Kent

Things that bug you that your spouse does, can be voiced, and then let go. These are truly little things that do not matter to your relationship. Things that affect you personally, should be voiced, and voiced again if needed. It is not nagging to communicate. - Melissa

If you can learn to "unburden yourself" (download all the thoughts, and frustrations, and things) to Jesus first, you'll make life so much easier for yourself and your spouse. It leaves more time to focus on the real issues and have MORE stress-free moments together. - Chautona

Establish a discipline of praying together. - Amy

It is rarely 50:50. But it still has to add up to 100. Someone will always have to give less for some reason (usually a good reason) and the spouse has to pick up the slack. - Kathy

Prayer together it keeps your marriage strong even through the weak times. - Andrea

You will disagree. You won't always "like" each other. That's okay. The stronger marriages realize that and push through. Don't sweat the small stuff. If he/she squeezes the toothpaste the "wrong way", get two tubes. - Barry

Do not ever go to bed mad or upset with each other. - Vickie

Never ever forget to hug, never go to sleep mad!!! Ever!!..Don't expect your partner to read your mind, that is impossible. Never expect an apology after every disagreement because you will be wrong half of the time!! Want to stop an argument before it starts, simply say  "I am sorry" whether or not you are right... it really is not worth the pain of hard feelings. Love, laugh, be happy and proud of each other! And most importantly, God is first always. !!! -Joann

Never tell mom how bad he is, you will forget, she never will! - Joann

Speak well of him to others, yes even with your mama. - Tally

Always listen to each other. Put each other first. Trust is number one. - Mac

Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. One can't forget, but when we do remember offenses, true forgiveness means no malice will be attached. - Michele

Make sure that the things that don't really matter don't become mountains. If I don't think the world revolves around me, this is easy. - Michele

And, wow, was I blown away at all of the collective wisdom shared!  God is good to give us one another to live our lives with, isn't He!  

Below is an excerpt of the letter I sent (with all personal information removed...) I share it because God is so good!  I reflected a lot as I wrote this letter and then to ask on Facebook and have so many friends share the same thoughts... what an awesome God we serve!  

I am so excited for y'all, excited to see how God works in your lives and all that you will accomplish for him!  

Take time to talk.  Always.  Communication is the second most important part of marriage (the first being diligent followers of our Lord).  If your spouse says something that hurts you, don't believe it.  Consider that you may have misunderstood or they may have miscommunicated.  Always, always assume the best, forgive the rest and always say I love you.  And talk it out.  But remember communication is not just talking, it is listening.  I think listening is even more important than talking.  Listening is active not passive.  Listening is not hearing.  Hearing is passive, it happens because you have ears and a brain.  Listening is what your heart does.  Listening is what we do to understand.  Too often we hear and begin to formulate our response while the other person is still talking.  This is self-focused.  Don't do this.  Listen with all you have, listening takes all of your attention.

Speaking of love... remember love is a choice, it is not an emotion.  You have chosen to love one another.  That choice, that commitment will get you through all the rough waters that will come your way.  They will come but you have each other and you will get through everything the Lord allows in your life to His glory.  When you are frustrated or hurt and you don't "feel" all lovey... remember the truth of the situation and that is that you have Chosen this person to love.  Remembering that choice is usually all I need to get my focus back where it needs to be.

I share this with a hope and prayer for you, dear newlyweds.  May God be your guide in all that you do and may He bless your marriage as you seek to live for HIm!

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I care what you think! ~Dana