Yesterday, Jack and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. Our day consisted of ministry stuff and a cancelled t-ball game, which led to a spontaneous family night at Olive Garden (we are looking forward to an actual date night this weekend). But while our day wasn’t super glamorous, we were living the dream that we had when we first got married- raising a family and doing ministry together. Even in the middle of the craziness of yesterday, it was fun to reminisce on what life was like 7 years ago, back when we first got married. It got me to thinking on how much we’ve grown and changed in that time, so I thought that it would be fun to share 7 things that I would tell my newlywed self…
1. Don’t be afraid to serve your husband. I promise, you making your husband a sandwich will not set women’s rights back. Our flesh tells us (& the world tells us) that we are to only look out for ourselves and our needs, but Scripture tells us to think of others more than we think of ourselves, and that definitely includes our husbands. Serving your husband is really about pointing to Jesus. We serve our husbands through our words and our actions because Jesus served us with His death on the cross!
2. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re wrong and apologize, and to forgive when he is wrong. I am totally not good at admitting that I’m wrong! But we are called to confess our sins to one another, even in marriage. But the flip side is that he will be wrong sometimes too. As wonderful as the man is that you’ve married, he is still a sinner. When he needs forgiveness, extend to him grace upon grace, just as Jesus has done for you.
4. Keep dating! Even if you don’t have kids, make an intentional time for a date! Looking back, I wish that we had done that more before kids. And after kids, keep your marriage as a priority over your children. Again, this is opposite to what the world might teach, but kids thrive knowing that they’re in a home where their parents love each other. Also, one day, those kids are gonna move out (or so I hear… ha!). Your husband will still be there!
5. Serve together. This has hands down been one of my favorite things about being married. You’re different people, so I’m sure that the Lord hasn’t gifted you exactly the same, but still, find some ways to serve Jesus together. My parents were an incredible example of this! I absolutely love getting to chaperone camp with Jack or our talks in the car after we’ve both led small groups at church. There’s a special connection that happens when you serve the Lord together!
6. Still have your OWN personal relationship with Jesus. Yes, I just said that you should serve together, and you should. You should pray together and worship together as well. You are one, so there’s importance in growing together in Christ. But you need to keep pursuing Jesus personally too. Being in the Word and in prayer still needs to be a part of your daily life. Your identity is not wrapped up in being a wife, but in being a follower of Jesus Christ, and there are things that the Spirit needs to convict you of and/or encourage you with individually. You cannot walk worthy of the calling to which you are called as a wife, Mom, etc without personally abiding in Christ.
6. You won’t be a pro at homemaking/hospitality on day 1. I had grown up seeing my mom open the doors of our homes to countless groups of students. She seemed to always know exactly how much food to have, when to start cooking the food, and things like that. She always knew what to take to the church meals, too. What I didn’t think about was that my mom had had 20+ years of practice doing those things! Taking care of a home and opening it up to people just takes some time and practice. You won’t be perfect at it (we’re fallen people!) and there will be times when you burn the green beans, but that’s okay! I love what Charlotte Akin said about hospitality, and that it is not about entertaining, but it’s about making the people in your home feel loved. I have learned that people can still feel loved, even if the meal doesn’t go exactly as planned.
7. Have fun and laugh together! Find things that you enjoy doing together. For Jack and I, we both really enjoy college football. We’ve also tried zip lining and disc golf, and he has laughed at my “blonde” moments more times than I care to admit, but this laughter has been such a gift to our marriage. It brings life and joy to days that can seem mundane.
Being married is such a gift! Our marriage is not perfect by any means and most of our days are ordinary days chasing two boys and keeping up with life, but our prayer is that our marriage would point others to the love of Christ! To my married friends out there, what would you tell your newlywed self now?