Dear Beautiful Brides,
I know you are busy and overwhelmed as you prepare for the rest of your life. I’m a big fan of marriage. I’ve enjoyed this journey of marriage immensely. If you have time between dress fittings and honeymoon planning, I’d like to share a few secrets that might help you along the road to happily ever after…
1. Trust God entirely.
You are bubbling over with dreams coming true. This is the beginning of so many great things to come. You are building a family, a legacy, a foundation for generations. You can not see the road ahead and neither can I. But God can. Put your absolute trust in Him. Obey His word when it doesn’t make sense. Follow Him even when it makes you uncomfortable. We can be deceived and disillusioned, but God can’t. Trust Him entirely by doing what He says to do. You won’t regret it.
2. Marriage is like a fairytale
Marriage can seem like a fairytale. You found the one your soul loves. And he loves you back. That’s amazing. It’s euphoria. It’s a time to dream. It’s mysterious, new, and exciting. It should be. It’s a fabulous stage of love!
3. Marriage is not a fairytale
But as real as all those things are, there will be a day when you wake up and realize that popular fairytale stories end right at the altar. Storytellers sum up entire marriages with the phrase “and they lived happily ever after”! And guess what? Those six little words represent a lot of tears, fears, forgiveness, hope, love, crazy, horrifying, sometimes gut-wrenching surprises over years and years of marriage.
It really is “happily ever after,” but it is not “happily every second”.
We know that. But you need to really, really know that.
And don’t forget rule number one on the days when rule number 3 is blazing through your mind. When you look at your spouse with disgust and wonder if you will ever love him again, remember number one. And push through. Pray through. Love through. And on the other side of the battle, you will have more treasure than you can stand. You will love one another more deeply than you thought possible. You will be more “one” than even the fairytales can describe. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Love God & trust God. And hang on for the happily ever after!
4. Your husband can not make you happy.
He can not make you complete. He can not fill an emptiness within you. Only God can. Your happiness can not be based upon the actions of anyone, including your spouse. Happiness comes from within. And we are empty, dry wells without Jesus. He is the only thing that never changes. He is always with you and never leaves you. He is the only one that can give you purpose and heal your brokenness. Your husband is not God. Don’t ask him to do things only God can.
When we realize that, we are free to love our husbands better, love ourselves better, and love everyone else better.
5. Kids are going change everything for the better – and for the worse.
There is truly no greater gift than children. Love bursts from our hearts before we even hear a single cry spill from their lungs. It’s ridiculous how awesome being a parent is!
Parenthood affects marriages. Your heart will overflow with wonder over and over as you see you spouse love your child, giggle with your child, and snuggle with your child.
But your heart will also feel some less warm and fussy emotions when you add another human to your home. You will feel jealous, sad, angry, lonely…. for reasons that make sense and reasons that don’t make sense.
Let us again remember rule number one. When it doesn’t make sense, honor your spouse.
When you don’t have time, take time for your spouse. Be purposeful. Guard it. Neglect whatever you have to so that you won’t neglect your spouse.
You will be exhausted. Be exhausted together.
You will be frustrated. Be frustrated together.
You will be tempted to focus ALL your attention on your child. Do not neglect your spouse.
Be together. Stay together. Make giant efforts to love one another.
Do more for your spouse during your marriage than you did dating them.
If your wrote letters, don’t stop. If you never wrote a letter, write one. Recreate dates, recall memories, and have inside jokes.
Your kids will thank you for it. And so will your kids’ spouses.
6. Marriage is not a guessing game. Communicate. And listen.
Dating is weird. It’s awkward. It’s often a guessing game. What do they think? How did they interpret what I just said? Will they be offended if I do that?
Marriage is not a guessing game. It’s about honest, sincere communication.
Be willing to talk and listen until both of you understand each other – Or, at least until both of you have honestly communicated thoughts and feelings. Don’t stop talking right before the truth comes out.
Women, let’s face it, we don’t really know what’s bothering us until we talk about it. And although our very patient husbands do not immensely enjoy the journey we have to travel to get to what’s really bothering us, we have to get to it. We have to be truthful. Don’t wish your husband would understand if you aren’t willing to tell him the truth.
And be willing to listen. We can be wrong. We can make mistakes. And often, both of us are wrong.
Get back to focusing on the good in each other
7. Keep dreaming together
Dreams change. You will change. Your spouse will change. But God doesn’t change.
He has dreamed up an amazing life for you and your spouse. Follow him. Trust Him. Obey Him. And He will lead you into abundant life.
What we have dreamed for ourselves and our families can not even compare to what He has planned for us.
So, dream together. Be amazed at how indescribably good God is. Be thankful for your spouse.
And live happily ever after.