A Beginners Guide to Marriage-ing | The Newlywed NotebookThe Newlywed Notebook

The Newlywed Notebook



April 2015

A Beginners Guide to Marriage-ing | Part 1

Written by Lindsay Ropella

Let’s get real. Being a newlywed can be tough. Between learning your husband and learning your own new role as a wife, there is a lot of room for error. And most of the time I’m all for making mistakes. Heck, there’s no better way to learn, in my opinion. But sometimes you’d just prefer to avoid the headache and frustration altogether. You just want advice on “what to expect,” or “what not to do,” or “common pitfalls to avoid” so you spend your time experiencing the “better” of marriage, and not so much of the “worse.” So from one wifey to another, here is my beginners guide for surviving marriage.

Being a newlywed can be a challenge. Today I decided to put together "A Beginners Guide to Marriage-ing" — a guide to help you screw up less than I did.

One || Leave and Cleave.

When you get married, you must be completely prepared to leave your parents and have your husband become your immediate family. I will admit that when we first got married, this was a tough one for me. I often still wanted my mom to be the first one with whom I shared good news, and the one I went shopping with on Saturday afternoons. Slowly though, Eric and I began to see each other as our “family” and rely on each other instead of our parents. I believe that no matter who you are this shift in thinking takes some time, but if you can start mentally preparing for it even before you get married, you will have a much smoother transition.


Two || Don’t Change Your Name on ANYTHING Until After the Honeymoon.

I cannot stress this one enough! Unless you are waiting a few months after your wedding to go on your honeymoon (or if you don’t need any sort of transportation ticket or passport), wait to change your name. The problem arises from the fact that when you go on a plane, train, or try to leave the country, the name on your ticket will need to match the name on your driver’s license and your passport. Getting all of that documentation changed can take weeks, if not months, so don’t start the name change process until after you get back from vacation. And when you purchase your tickets for your honeymoon before your wedding, make sure to book them under your maiden name and not your soon-to-be married name.


Three || Don’t Freak Out When You Have a Fight that Scares You. 

Statistics are very much in your favor that you will more than likely have one major fight and/or moment in those first six months of marriage that makes you wonder if you made a big mistake. You might question if you should have waited longer to get married, waited until you knew each other better, or maybe even wonder if you married the right person at all. But rest assured that these little feelings of doubt that creep up are TOTALLY normal and will COMPLETELY go away as you adjust to your new life as a wife. Just try to have patience and grace for your husband and for yourself.


Four || Establish Responsibilities. 

Once you are married (or even before), talk about how you would like to run your new household together. Talk about who you think should be responsible for what, and also how you will go about letting the other person know if you need some help. Personally, I think it’s important for each person to have certain things they are responsible for taking care of, or a schedule you plan to stick to. For example, it’s my responsibility to take Stella outside and put her in her kennel before we leave for work in the mornings. We do this so that Eric and I aren’t fighting about who should take care of it as we are rushing around getting ready, and so that balls don’t get dropped and things forgotten.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I have to take care of this 100% of the time. This is where the “how to ask for help” piece comes in. We’ve discussed in length how to best let the other person know we need help getting our specific responsibilities done if we don’t have time or are feeling overwhelmed. For this specific example, I wouldn’t yell to Eric two seconds before he has to leave to take care of Stella. Instead, I would let him know at least 20 minutes before he’s going to leave that I’m running late and would really appreciate his help with the dog.

For things we both do like laundry and dishes, we have a set schedule of when these things need to happen so we both know exactly what is going on and can share the responsibility. For example, we always start laundry Sunday right after church, and dishes are done right after eating before we sit down to relax for the night. This way we both can take responsibility for these tasks because there is a specific starting point and ending time that we stick to together.


Five || Go to Bed at the Same Time as Your Spouse. 

This is something Eric and I did all the time at the very beginning of our marriage. Over the past year or so due to our different schedules we started going to bed separately and found it really hurt our marriage. Now, I realize that due to work shifts going to bed at the same time as your spouse isn’t always feasible, but if that is true for you, I urge you to try and do it as often as your schedules can manage. Going to bed at the same time is so important as it gives you the opportunity to do so many things: reflect on the day together, read the Bible or a relationship building book together, cuddle and watch TV, not watch TV…you get the picture. When you crash into bed separately at the end of a long day you are missing out on an emotional and physical connection that is so important in a marriage.

This was Part 1 of “A Beginners Guide to Marriage-ing.” Check back on Monday for Part 2!

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  • Kara

    I really love this post and agree with so many of these points!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks Kara! So glad you can relate. Getting married can certainly be a huge adjustment! :)

  • Mae

    Great post! I am about 2 months out form my wedding and of course all these thoughts are running through my head. One big plus for K and I is that we have lived together over a year.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks so much Mae! Learning to live together is definitely an adjustment! Congratulations a few months in advance! Sending you so many well wishes!! :) :)

  • Julia Strong

    Such great advice!! Totally agree with going to bed at the same time if you can! We don’t always do this but the majority of the time we do and I love having that time to talk and connect with each other!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks girl! It really is a special time that I think you definitely miss out on that when you go to bed separately. :)

  • chelsea @ the new wifestyle

    this is really great! i’m glad you wrote this up because i’ve experienced many of these things too! my husband and i moved to a new state right after college when we were engaged. this was hard because i really missed my family but it also gave us the opportunity to build our life and relationship together!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      I’m so glad to hear there are other married gals out there who can relate to this. I can definitely imagine that a move would be great for really learning to build a relationship with and rely on your husband. Living so close to our family definitely made that more of a challenge. :)

  • Amberly

    I love all of these!! You couldn’t be more right!! :)

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks, Amberly! Glad you can relate to these as well!

  • Audrey

    Great, great, great tips! I agree with allll of them! I waited until after the honeymoon to change my name and it was so smooth. (Plus, I really loved my name and needed the adjustment period! Leaving home was hard for me, too, but very important!) For a while my hubby & I were going to bed at different times because of his schedule- but we are SO much happier now that we go to bed together now!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks so much, Audrey! So glad to hear these were relatable for you! Yes, I did the same thing as you with waiting until after the honeymoon to change my name (after some great advice from a good friend who did it the other way and had issues) and it worked out just fine. Besides you’re right, changing your name is hard! It’s like changing your identity! :) Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on all this and for your sweet comment! xo

  • Amanda

    These tips are legit. So true! I especially agree with #1–I make a point of telling my husband things first over my mom and best friend and it really helps me think of him as my confidant.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks, Amanda! It really does take effort to do at first, but I think over time it becomes more natural. Plus, it’s so important! xo

  • Ileana

    This is an awesome series of posts. I just read the second one also. I’m 9 months out from our wedding day, and I have noticed that I have trouble forgiving myself after I’ve said or done something that hurts my fiancé’s feelings. I have no problem owning up to my mistake and apologizing for it, and he’s gracious enough to never hold a grudge against me afterwards. But I have trouble letting go of that mistake and mentally punish myself for it over and over, which in turn makes me want to apologize over and over, and I know that’s no good either. Any advice on that?

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks so much IIeana! And I can totally understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. I have a tendency to do the same thing as well. Yano, my advice is going to be one of those that is so much easier said than done, but it really is true. You have to give yourself some grace, girl! Take time to really explain to your husband how you are feeling and how bad you feel about what happened. Let him show you grace and then follow his lead. Punishing yourself is only going to continue to hurt your relationship with your husband, so if you can’t let it go for yourself, try letting it go for the sake of your husband and your bond with him. Again, I SO know that this is something easier said than done, but I do think it will become easier with time. It’s a habit you will have to break, and breaking habits take time. :) Will say a prayer for you too, that’s what always helps me! xo

      • Ileana

        Thanks so much! xoxo

        • Lindsay Ropella

          Anytime!! :) :)

  • Valerie Kolick

    Terrific points Lindsey! Establishing responsibilities is always a tough one, especially when your husband may have been raised to believe the wife should have certain responsibilities (traditionally cleaning, parenting, etc.) and the wife may be from a family where the dad did the majority of the cleaning…defining these roles before getting married is super helpful when talking about responsibilities! Love your stuff!!

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks Valerie! Yes, it can be a real challenge to combine expectations from different families and households once you start you own. That’s why I also think it’s great to not be afraid to make your own family rules with your husband that will work for both of you and your new family!

  • Michaela Harris

    Leave and cleave: yes! It’s so important to establish the two of you as a team and family. Start your own traditions, create daily routines that are just yours, and even minimize contact with family and friends RIGHT at the beginning. You just need to learn to be together.

    • Lindsay Ropella

      Yes! That is so important, learning to be together and to survive on your own, especially in the beginning :)

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