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New Wife, Give Yourself & Your Husband Grace


There’s a popular saying that the first year of marriage is the hardest. While I’m not sure I agree with that, it’s true that the first year has unique challenges you’ll likely not see again in your marriage.   My husband and I got married when I was 20 and my husband was 24, and we got married right before the start of our senior year of college. We lived in a tiny 490 square foot apartment, and we went to schools across town from each other. We lived on student loans and my husbands’ part time overnight job at a group home. We went on road trips from Maine to San Diego to Glacier National Park, sleeping the whole time on air mattresses that deflated multiple times a night.   We graduated on the same day in May and then started 9 months of unemployment and vagabond living, with 94k of student loans looming over our heads.   And looking back, although we’ve had difficulty in the seven years of marriage since then, that first year was unique. We were learning new rhythms, learning each other, learning how to manage differing expectations, and how to solve disagreements. Marriage is such a major life transition, and it’s easy to feel discouraged about your marriage in that first year.  

So, friends, remember to give yourself and your new husband grace during that important first year of marriage. 

  You’re Both Learning Each Other You probably knew your husband well before you got married, but there’s a whole new level of getting to know after marriage. There’s the differing cleaning styles and preferences, sleep schedules, old traditions, differing needs for time alone, and each others’ love languages.   There’s a learning curve in learning each other, and although it might feel difficult at times, the learning process is good and healthy. Just like it takes a lifetime to know Christ even a little bit more, so it is with our earthly relationships with our husbands, albeit less intimate.   Because you’re still learning each other, you might notice  having less grace for your husband because you have less understanding of the heart issues behind his struggles. It takes time to fully understand how each of your childhood’s affect living together in marriage, and to become aware of your different triggers. You’ll both be learning more about yourselves, good and bad.    You’re Learning New Rhythms I was used to going to bed when I wanted, getting up when I wanted (within reason), making my own schedule, eating when I wanted, and doing my work when I wanted. Marriage welcomed a new season to align our daily rhythms, and although it’s still something we’re continuing to do seven years later, it’s the hardest during the first year.   Aligning schedules challenges you to submit to the others’ desires and needs, and also grows your ability to be selfless. And honestly, it’s a lot easier to be selfish when you’re not married because others’ needs aren’t usually contradicting yours. But in this first year of marriage,  God uses this to sanctify us to become more like Christ-even when it’s hard.   Differing Expectations Going into marriage, if you have expectations you don’t even realize you have, it will impact how you react and interact with your husband.   For example, for years my husband and I would argue every time about when to leave a family members’ house. One of us wanted to stay longer, and one of us wanted to leave earlier. I always expected we’d leave sooner, and he always expected we’d stay late. And just to show how long it takes to sort out differing expectations (your whole life), we are just starting to make this decision more easily because we know the others’ expectations.   These differing expectations can be tied to household chores, personal space, time alone, intimacy, or even traveling. You name it, you and your husband likely have different expectations about all different areas of life. It’s not a bad thing, but in the first year of marriage in particular, these differences will be highlighted. For the New Wife Learning How To Solve Disagreements  My husband and I argued the most during our first year of marriage than we ever have since. I think it’s normal for couples to argue during the season of new marriage because they are learning how to effectively work through arguments as a couple.   While it’s important to work through disagreements in a healthy way, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s normal to struggle to find your footing. I wrote a whole post about learning to argue well for A Wife Like Me, here.   Major Life Transition Lastly, remember that marriage is a major life transition. There are changes in the dynamics with your family of origin, the feelings of sadness about leaving your family of origin, learning a whole new role as a wife, becoming a part of your husband’s family and learning their dynamics, and learning what it means to be an honoring and loving wife to your husband.   The first year of marriage is beautiful, special, and important. It’s a time of major transition, and it’s normal to go through hard parts of marriage, both during the first year and beyond. Let’s acknowledge that the first year can be hard, for the simple reason that two people are learning how to become one. That is a beautiful thing. During that first year, give both yourself and your new husband grace.  

Wife Step: If this has convicted your heart to any areas you’ve been struggling with, go to your husband or husband-to-be and share with him what’s on your heart. Pray together, asking God to grow you in grace and bring unity within your relationship.

Meagan Elling is a wife of 7 years to Reed, mama to two little girls, writer, and house renovator. She is a SAHM {I’ll let you decide if you want this spelled out or not} in Duluth, MN with a writing degree she thought would go to waste. She is passionate about encouraging women, ministry, traveling, reading 5 books at once, and Texas Roadhouse bread. Meagan writes at www.meaganelling.com and on Instagram @meaganelling.

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