We have a young family friend who married very recently. She’s a lovely girl and I recognize many of her characteristics as I was similar at her age. We even ended up at the altar under very similar circumstances. If I could give a young newlywed bride advice this is what I’d say. In fact, I’m already planning to print this and give it to her.
- As a Christian committed to Christian marriage, resolve to set aside your ambitions in favor of your husband’s. Yes, you’re smart, and yes, you could do great things, and yes, I know you had a plan for your life. However, you are a wife now. This means you are no longer leading the dance of your life; your husband is.
- Part of submitting to your husband is not bad mouthing him to your family. The worst thing you can do when you’re angry with your husband is talk to your mother about it. Unless there is a very serious marital breach to address, your family should know nothing about your internal squabbles, as most of disagreements aren’t worth the drama of letting outside observers know about them.
- His family is your family now. Be respectful, always. Learn and love his family as your own no matter how difficult it may sometimes be.
- Keep your eyes on your own paper. One of the main reasons wives have so much to nag and complain to our husbands about is because we labor under the deep delusion that we are perfect. That everything we do is the right or best way. There are two problems with this way of thinking. The first is that we are not perfect. Imagine that! And the second is that even if we were, it doesn’t change the command from God that we respect and submit to the authority of our husbands.
- Don’t be afraid of the word submission. A wise husband appreciates his wife’s intelligence, gifts and talents and wouldn’t consider refusal of such a valuable resource. A loving husband knows that his wife needs this from him as much as he needs her strengths and talents. It doesn’t diminish you in the least to trust God with control of your life and marriage. Submission is a signals to your husband that you trust him. The more you demonstrate faith in him, the more he will demonstrate faith in you.
- Most of your girlfriends and female family members have no idea what a happy marriage looks like. At your age, most of your friends are still single. They can not offer you relevant marital advice. Be careful who you listen to.
- Never use sex as a weapon against your husband. Not only is it sinful, it’s unloving, disrespectful, and indicates that you care very little about the state of your marriage. Don’t do it. Ever. Contrary to popular modern opinion, it is good and right for you to do it even when you don’t feel like it at first. You’re married. You don’t set the terms of intimacy as you will.
- Do not let yourself go. When you’re young and beautiful, this hardly registers on your radar screen. However, marriage is a long haul. Babies come, you get tired, you eat junk, and you get lazy. Develop healthy habits now. The bloom of youth keeps at bay what it will not a few years from now without some work on your part. Your husband will appreciate the effort.
- For the unequally yoked: Your outward expressions of faith don’t make you any better than your husband. I realized that mine actually made me look worse. The church girl who marries the heathen is hardly in a position to judge him, is she? Always have a measured and honest appreciation for who you really are, faults and all.
- This is your husband until death parts you. Do not entertain divorce fantasies of your own, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to plant seeds of doubt. The grass is not greener on the other side. If your grass is brown, oh well. God expects you to tend to it, water it, and green it up. You’re not allowed to hop back over the fence. You will be utterly shocked at how much you’re willing to concede and overlook when you accept that this is your life. For better or worse were not just words you uttered. God expects you to keep them.
- Laugh a lot. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Marriage is not the vocation for a woman overly obsessed with her dignity. Self-actualization? Forget that. It’s feminist speak for “put your husband and kids on the back burner and charge forward in search of your own happiness.” Selfishness will never make you happy.
- The kids are his too. The fact that you were the incubator doesn’t make them anymore yours. Don’t ever forget that.
- Laugh a lot. Yes, I know I already said that.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, I know I already said that too.
- Sex… Yes, I am repeating myself again, but I should add that it’s fine, preferable even, to enjoy sex with your husband.
- Don’t be a martyr. Have some fun, and be fun to be around.
- You’re not done growing or changing. Enjoy knowing that this is not the end of your journey. Keep learning, keep your mind and heart and hands busy. Learn something new.
- Enjoy being in love, and don’t be afraid to show how head-over-heels you are with your husband. There is nothing wrong with a woman who loves her man. Let him see it, let others see it. Praise him in front of others, show your respect for him in front of others. Have his back, and bless him with your loyalty.
If I’m forgetting any important pieces of advice, I trust someone here will remind me.