I’ve been meaning to share this post since November 22, 2015 (our first year anniversary), but with a new baby, work, ministry, more work and just my desire to fully share these thoughts regarding the first year of marriage, I just finished the blog. I understand that everyone’s first year of marriage is different, but I thank God that ours was AMAZING, and I give all the honor and glory to Him because it could have been different, BUT GOD!
1. God has to be at the center of your marriage.
There is no way around it and you shouldn’t want to have it any other way. Praying with my wife, going to church with my wife, being in ministry with my wife…those were vital to the success of our first year of marriage. Our individual relationships with God, mixed with the time that we spent together in prayer and worship, created another level to our intimacy. I thank God for a praying wife. I thank God that I know she covers me in prayer and that I do the same for her. Having our individual prayer lives is important, but praying together allowed us hear each other’s hearts, concerns, and gave us another way to learn and understand each other. I personally believe that having God at the center of your marriage is a must if you want it to be happy and prosperous.
2. Your spouse should be your bestfriend.
As intimate as your marriage should be, the person who you marry should be your bestfriend. I’m not saying you can’t have other close friends, but your spouse should be the person who you want to share everything with FIRST. Once your spouse knows, then who you tell after that is up to you (depending on what the information is). Whether it’s good or bad, something that I’m concerned about, something I want prayer about, my wife is the first person that I want to share my thoughts with. And in my mind, it only makes sense for your spouse to be your bestfriend because your lives are so intertwined. What happens in your life affects your spouse and vice versa.
In order for your wife to become your bestfriend, this also means that you need to marry someone that you like. You need to like their character, appreciate their values, and respect the way that they think. Besides my wife being gorgeous, I really enjoy her company and the way she thinks. Understanding her thought process and her past experiences were important for me to assess during our courtship. I’m sure it’s difficult to be in a marriage with someone that you “love” but don’t like, but I’ll save that for another blog post.
3. You have to think like you are married.
From the moment that you say I do…your single life is over, and as a husband/spiritual covering for your family, you have to learn that fast. I’m talking about fast. Although the woman ultimately has the choice to say yes to your request for her hand in marriage, once you officially become her husband, you have now assumed a role that has a special meaning in her life. There is a new level of responsibility that is automatically placed on you, not only by your wife, but by God. God expects husbands to LOVE their wives like Christ loved the church (i.e. sacrificial love), and this requires the help of God because in our flesh, it is humanly impossible to love like Christ without His guidance and direction.
Scriptural Reference – Ephesians 5:22-33
4. Marriage is amazing and the most rewarding job you can have in this life.
Marriage is work. Good work…but work nonetheless. Merging two individuals who have years of life experiences, differences in how they were raised, what their expectations are, what level of communication they need, how they address issues, etc. is definitely work. Our first year was basically spent learning each other, spending time with one another, managing our expectations for each other, working through any small misunderstandings that occurred, and preparing for the birth of our daughter.
5. If you think you don’t have to say it, you more than likely do.
Sometimes you just have to say the things that you believe your spouse should know. I know for men, we are not always the best at communicating every little thing, but it will cut down on the confusion and misunderstandings that can take place when you first get married. For us, we went through multiple transitions in a short period time. We started courting, got engaged, bought a house, had a big and beautiful wedding, went on our honeymoon and moved into our home together all in one year. Needless to say, we were still learning each other which left room for disagreements to occur. However, because of the level of respect that my wife and I share for one another, we were able to avoid the major “blowouts” that you hear about during the first year of marriage. If we disagree, we agree to disagree and move on, with minor eye-rolling and stale facing here and there, followed by an apology and some form of making up (turn up). LOL.
6. It’s important to be consistent and do what you say you are going to do.
Just do what you say you are going to do, and if you can’t, communicate that. Unmet expectations will cause division in any relationship, but especially a new marriage. Your first year of marriage is already full of transition. So at a very basic level, as you and your life partner learn each other, work to be as consistent as possible and give grace when things aren’t done (because they happen as well).
7. Sex is essential.
When my wife and I got married, we were both virgins. 29-year-old virgins who wanted to please God and believed that sex was supposed to only take place inside of a marriage. After a year of enjoying that level of intimacy with my wife, I am so glad that we both waited to share that level of intimacy with our soul mate. I truly believe that God specifically designed sex to be such an intimate and soul connecting experience that He only wants us to engage in the act with our covenant partner, i.e. the person who he created to share that experience with us. Because we did not have any baggage in that area, we were able to enjoy and figure out what sex was for us. We didn’t have anyone else to compare too or try to live up too. I thank God for the freedom that comes along with doing it His way. Sex is amazing, beautiful and created by God. He wants us to enjoy it.
8. Sex and Intimacy are different. You can and should be intimate without having sex.
In premarital class, we talked about nonsexual touch. Now me being a 29-year-old virgin at the time, that didn’t make sense to me. I figured that all touch with my wife should be sexual (which clearly meant I had some things to learn). For women, it’s the small things. Holding her hand. Giving her a hug and kiss. Giving her that, “You’re sexy and I want you” face. Touching the small of her back while you are praying together. Sitting next to her on the couch because you want to be near her. Laying in the bed cuddled up without the expectation that sex is about to happen soon (although for most men including myself, that is the ideal situation lbs). These are all things that are nonsexual but will likely make your wife feel butterflies on the inside. For many women, nonsexual touch is just as important as sex is for men.
9. It’s important to be honest about things you like, and especially about things you don’t like.
I read this in an article and it changed my perspective. You have to communicate with your spouse about things you like and things that you do not like. If I constantly asked you to do something that you didn’t like to do, that would more than likely annoy you. But when you communicate those things upfront or when you are presented with the situation, that helps to alleviate the annoyance. For example, if your spouse doesn’t like cleaning the kitchen, then maybe that needs to be your job. But if every day you come home and see that the kitchen is not clean, and that causes you to be frustrated, maybe you need to ask your spouse whether they actually like to do it or not. It’s Communication 101 and sometimes that can be the hardest thing. My wife and I divided the house into areas that we were responsible for cleaning, and that made everything so much better. The expectation was clearly stated and we both know what areas of the home we are responsible for keeping clean.
10. Meeting the needs of your spouse should be at the top of your priority list.
This is critical. Unmet needs, whether communicated or not, are one of the main reason new marriages fail. As a husband, I took the responsibility of learning how to figure out my wife needs so that I could meet them before she even said anything about it. I also had to learn how to communicate my needs, which is something I’m still learning how to do because it’s not fair to expect my wife to just know what I need at the moment. Again, even if I think my wife should just know something, if I am the one in need, I need to communicate it.
11. Having a baby will change your entire life.
My wife and I went from being virgins to being pregnant within the first month of our marriage. Princess Zara was our honeymoon baby and first Christmas present from God, which came earlier than we expected but it was part of God’s perfect plan. It made us take advantage of our pre-baby time, and really learn and enjoy each other because we knew that the baby was going to change our lives forever.
12. You must be Flexible!
It’s so important to be flexible. Everything will not go as you planned. Your wife will do things differently than how you were raised. Your husband will do things his way. As long as you guys are communicating and the things that need to get done are getting done, you shouldn’t be overly concerned with the process. *note to self* I have the issue of thinking my way is right, so I always have to consciously remind myself that as long as it’s getting done, that is what matters.
13. You and your spouse have to do things together.
Your identity completely changed the day that you got married. With that, your primary goal the first year of marriage is to begin to learn your spouse (even if you think you already know them). The more comfortable you are with one another, the more you share. I feel like I learn something new every day about my wife, but I also put in the time. We spend a lot of time together and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
14. You have to be intentional about keeping it fun.
Traveling and going on dates are important to my wife and I. Pre-Princess Zara, we went out on planned dates and spontaneous dates (i.e. I get home from work on Friday evening and say “Pack a bag” type of dates). You are still learning each other and exploring life together. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day functions of life, especially with a newborn child, but we are intentional about quality time and keeping it fun.
We had an amazing first year of marriage and I look forward to 50+ more years of sharing life with my amazing wife! If you like the article, you are more than welcomed to give some feedback, share it, read it to bae (lol), or whatever. We are looking forward to 2016 and all the awesome things God has in store for us.