10 Things I Wish I’d Known on My Wedding Day
I walked down the aisle to the hope of always and forever.
Our pastor completed pre-marriage counseling with us. But nothing really prepared us for marriage struggles.
So I’m looking back over the last three decades of marriage to offer hope to you as a wife, regardless of how long it’s been since your wedding day.
Here are 10 things wish I’d known on my wedding day:
- Learn to talk with each other in an authentic and vulnerable way.
Men and women communicate differently. Our temperaments and past relationships have shaped us.
Learning all the differences is key, but also learning to be authentic with your husband by showing your vulnerable side. Tell him how you are vulnerable at work, in other relationships, online and with your marriage. Get it all out in the open and be the real you.
- Ask for and give forgiveness.
In Jesus, forgiveness has been freely extended to us for our sins and missteps against God. Likewise, you can ask your husband to forgive you for your missteps against him and freely offer him forgiveness when he wounds your heart.
Forgiveness releases us from the shackles unforgiveness places on us. “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 (ESV)
- Pray over your marriage.
For years I didn’t realize the importance of praying over my marriage. Now, my prayer life always includes praying for myself as a wife, for my husband biblically and spiritually and for us as a couple.
- Understand individual feelings and sort through them together.
Marriage can birth various emotions: jealousy, uncertainty, frustration, fear, anger, disappointment, guilt, shame and loss of hope. Knowing how to understand and sort through them individually and together helps bring you closer, eliminates suspicion with complete transparency and brings peace of mind.
- Set boundaries to affair-proof your marriage.
Protect your relationship from betrayal by setting boundaries for both of you.
It’s unfair to expect your husband to set boundaries with other women if you don’t think it’s necessary for you. I’ve heard wives say they can be close friends with other males and not cross the line.
But this gives the enemy an open door. Like guardrails on a road protect us from going over an embankment, boundaries provide guardrails on our hearts. Physically, emotionally, online and by phone, decide together appropriate boundaries to set.
- Stay present and attentive.
Once we are married, it’s so easy to focus on work, friends, children, hobbies or even ministry and not stay in the present with your husband. Yet God intended otherwise.
Do you find yourself spending hours being attentive to the kids and others while your husband has only what’s leftover? Reflect on how you can stay present and attentive to your husband’s needs.
- Work together to identify and resolve key issues.
Often we run to our friends to talk about what’s wrong in our marriage and with our husbands. If our friends aren’t people who can really help the situation, these talks only cause more resentment.
Instead, when you are intentional to work as a husband-and-wife team to identify the key issues and ways to resolve them, you gain reconciliation and togetherness.
- Discover how to build and sustain a trust-filled, Christ-centered marriage.
Go through Bible studies together. Read Ephesians and other Bible passages that discuss tools for strong marriages.
Read or reread our book, “Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with your Husband.” Research other highly recommended marriage books. Ask God for wisdom and pray for a Christ-centered marriage.
- Develop lasting safety, honesty and intimacy.
After becoming a believer, I discovered the Lord is my safe refuge. Marriage is also meant to be a place where we find safety, honesty and intimacy.
How do we develop our marriage as this kind of refuge, after our safe place with the Lord? Start by keeping intimate things confidential unless you tell a counselor. And tell your husband your need to feel safe in your relationship, honest in your discussions and intimate in every aspect of your marriage.
- Ask for help when needed.
Sometimes we need help from wise couples, ministers and professional counselors. Never feel like you should be able to pull yourself up by your own marriage bootstraps.
My husband and I have gone through several seasons where professional counseling was needed and helped us in ways we could not have accomplished by ourselves.
Wife Step: Go through these ten action points with your husband, discussing each one at length and how to apply them to your marriage.
Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. As an award-winning writer and avid speaker, she loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, she has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Karen’s writing connects family life experiences, Christian ministry, and real life scenarios as women to the timeless truths of Scripture. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com