When my husband and I were first engaged, I remember being so confused as people in our circle continually told us, “The first few years are the hardest.” Really? This was the best advice for newlyweds they had?
At the time, I thought the first few years of marriage were supposed to be marital bliss—the “honeymoon” phase. But as the first months of excitement passed, I realized they were right. We read all the marriage books, did the devotionals, went through premarital counseling, and still, nothing could have prepared us for those first few years.
Before we go any further, though, let me say this: Every marriage is different, because every marriage is made of two totally unique individuals. Your first few years might be your favorite years of marriage. Or maybe—like us—you’ll find they are more challenging.
And here’s the other thing: You can prepare for marriage in many ways—and it’s a wise investment—but you will never be 100 percent ready. No one else can predict the unique trials, changes, growth, realizations, and other circumstances your marriage will encounter.
Even so, there is much to learn from others. So, here is some advice for newlyweds I wish I had known.
The Advice for Newlyweds I Wish I Had Known
1. Lay down your pride and honor your spouse—especially when it’s hard. We all know the ultimate enemy is the devil. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy you and your marriage. The devil’s strategy is simple, yet effective—use our sin nature to drive a wedge between us and the ones we love with a nasty little trait called pride.
I dare to say that the most impactful advice I could give those entering marriage is to intentionally take time each day to lay down your pride and choose to honor your spouse—especially when it’s hardest. After all, it’s important to know who your enemy is, but knowing his strategy—and doing something to combat it—is even better.
2. Reinforce your vows. The first few years are delicate in a marriage. It’s easy to wonder if your partner has regrets or feelings of backing out when it’s so normalized in today’s culture. Intentionally reassure your spouse that you aren’t going anywhere, you still mean all those wonderful things you declared when you said, “I do,” and how happy you are to be their forever love, no matter what has, or may, come your way.
3. Growing pains are real. My husband and I learned more about ourselves and our pasts than we ever could have anticipated once we were married! That growth was needed and necessary for our marriage to succeed, but it was also incredibly painful. Support one another through the growing pains and be a constant encouragement for each other.
4. Don’t lose your identity. As two become one spiritually, we often mesh with each other in many other ways—sometimes getting lost in the process. It’s important to stay true to who Christ created you to be by doing what you love, following the passions He instilled in you, and investing in your growth as an individual. For example, if there are things you tried to enjoy because your partner loved it, but realized it’s not really your thing, don’t force yourself to continue doing it.
Be true to yourself and invest your time somewhere that will be more valuable to you. However, this piece of advice comes with part two: Accept your spouse. You will both be changing from who you were when you first met. It’s essential to show your spouse that you accept and support them as they become the person God has designed them to be.
5. Always choose God. Hard days will come, dumb things will be said, and the truth that humans are not perfect will be made known. In the moments when the hurt and hopelessness convince you that you shouldn’t care, your spouse doesn’t deserve it, and it’s no longer worth it, choose God. God is always worthy of our honor, and one of the most significant ways we can honor Him is through our marriage. God will be glorified when you choose to serve Him by loving your spouse and being your best for them—regardless of how you may feel toward them in that moment.
Marriage isn’t easy; the statistics would be different if it were. But when we choose to seek Christ in every single phase and area of our marriages, we will find Him.
And if we continually die to ourselves and pick up our cross, He will heal and redeem every aspect of our union. Trust in the Lord and lean on Him. God has hopes and dreams for your marriage, and with your faithful pursuit of Him and each other, He will make them come true.
Other helpful pieces of advice for newlyweds:
- Have a mentor or accountability partner
- Find marriage resources you can continually learn from, like articles, YouVersion devotionals, books, etc.
- When the two of you can’t work through it together, see a trusted counselor.
- Attend church together. Better yet—serve at church together!
- Identify and clearly communicate your needs. Remember—your spouse is not a mind reader!
- Define your sexual expectations.
- Be open and honest about your finances.
- Create goals together and make plans to execute them.
- Keep dating each other.
- Pray together and individually.
So, there you have it. All the advice for newlyweds I wish I had known, but learned along the way. And the best piece of advice of all? I wouldn’t trade my marriage for anything. So stay committed. Stay rooted. Stay faithful. It’s worth it.