Yep, I married my husband a few months after I turned 19. We laugh when we look at our wedding pictures and comment that we were babies. He was only 20 and we were crazy about each other (spoiler alert, we still are!). We wanted to be with each other constantly and we pretty much were. He would wait outside for me to finish working at my teller job. He’d sit on the hood of his car, playing guitar and everyone would tease me about it when we walked out for the night. I loved it. We would go on dates almost every night and hold hands and stare into each others eyes. There was also a fair amount of kissing, I’ll admit. (people, it’s ok, we’re married now.) We knew we were meant to marry each other just about instantly. The night he proposed to me I was so happy and so excited. We had a lot to learn then, and we still do now, but here’s some things I’ve learned since getting married almost 6 years ago:
- Marriage isn’t easy no matter what age you get married.
It doesn’t matter if you are 19 and 20 or 90 and 100…you and your spouse are two different people. You will have different communication skill levels, you will have different coping mechanisms, different tastes, different weaknesses and strengths. You will have to learn what fights are worth having and what compromise is. Give grace freely to each other as you continually learn about the other person living with you. I remember my husband one night being mad at me because I mixed the would-be side dish of corn into the Hungarian Goulash I made. He was upset because he knew that I knew he didn’t like the corn mixed in, but I did it anyway. Was that really a fight worth having? No. Was it selfish of me to mix the corn in? Yes. It would take me 2 seconds longer to cook that corn separately and show my husband that I love him and care about him even in that little way.
2. It doesn’t matter if you think it shouldn’t matter.
I remember calling my older sister and complaining that my husband was upset over something I had said. I explained my point of view and she calmly said to me, “Well Livi, it doesn’t matter if you think that it’s stupid that he’s upset. His feelings matter, so whether or not you think he should be hurt-he is.” I can’t remember how I responded to this at the time (probably not super well), but it’s something that has stuck out to me since then. If something that I did hurt my spouse, even if I think it shouldn’t have, I should take responsibility for the pain that I caused and…
3. Apologize freely.
You do not earn any points in marriage for ‘winning’. You only ‘win’ if you can walk away from an argument or disagreement with both of you feeling like you were heard, and that your feelings matter and are valid. When you apologize don’t just do it because you know that’s the right thing to do. Mean it in your heart that you are truly sorry for whatever pain you caused the most important person in your life.
4. Don’t go to bed angry.
I mean this both in a sleeping and not sleeping way. You will either wake up angry or, thinking that sex will solve the problem, realize that you only connected bodies and not souls. It’s not a good feeling. Resolve the issue (stay up all night if you need to) and then come back together as a couple physically.
5. Ask your mentors for help.
Ask a couple that has been married a good long time for some help and guidance. Ask a close friend who you trust if you are being crazy, and try to present the situation in a way that isn’t completely one-sided (that’s tricky, I know). Don’t get upset when they tell you that you are being too harsh, too demanding, too clingy, etc.
Do not ask your parents for help. Your parents shouldn’t hear about the shortcomings of your spouse unless it is absolutely necessary. Your parents love you far too much for their idea that you married none other than prince charming to be shattered. (Just kidding, they know you’re not, but you get the idea) I respect my husband even when we aren’t getting along and I don’t want my parents opinion of him to be tarnished because I was dumping something on them that I shouldn’t have been.
6. Get some professional help.
No, really. Having been to couples therapy with a licensed therapist has helped my marriage immensely. Once you get over the actual hurdle of calling and scheduling your first appointment you might start to actually look forward to it. It can be difficult, because it often involves digging up a lot of past hurts and problems, but I promise it is so worth it to be healthy! I can not shut up about counseling and therapy now, and I constantly tell my friends and family about how helpful I think it is. Some wise counsel I received was to “shop around” for a therapist. Meaning, if you go once or twice and feel like it isn’t meeting your needs it might just be that you need to try another therapist.
7. Ask God to guide you.
Mainly, mostly ask the God that brought you and your spouse together to help you. Pray for your spouse when you hate him. Pray for grace with him when he leaves his disgusting socks rolled up on the floor and you need to reach your hand in to unroll them. Pray that God would intervene in your arguments and calm your heart and your emotions. He loves you and your spouse so much. He brought you together. Being married to my husband has revealed to me the incredible love that God has for me. He knew that I needed my husband, and he knew my husband needed me. God has given me incredible gifts through my husband-he is my best friend, the father of my children, my protector and provider. I am so lucky that I get to spend so much of my life with my husband and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I would marry my husband again in a heartbeat. I love him more every day, and even when we go through difficult times it makes our marriage worth more. That’s one really cool thing is that the more you press into God and each other the more your marriage means. When we got married, we loved each other. Now we LOVE each other. We have been through some stuff and come out the other end stronger than we were before. I can’t wait to see where we are by the time we’re 80 years old. <3