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.
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!