Things I Would Tell My Newly Married Self

I have done a lot of premarital counseling, and I’ve found it to be both enjoyable and frustrating. Enjoyable, because you get the opportunity to walk with a couple and to speak into their present and future lives. Frustrating, because many of these couples have no frame of reference for what you’re telling them…and they’re often too “in love” to hear it anyway.

Engaged couples mean well and they want to have the best marriage possible. It’s just that the excitement of becoming Mr. and Mrs. makes it hard from them to really imagine the feelings and frustrations they will face down the road. The light in their fiancé’s eyes blinds them to the issues that are there. The blood that rushes to their head (and other places) keeps them from hearing things they need to hear.

Remember when you first realized that marriage wasn’t what you thought it would be? Maybe it was the first time you realized those quirky parts of your spouse’s personality weren’t going to change like you thought/hoped they would. Perhaps it was when you discovered that their approach to money felt less like pulling together and more like tug-of-war. Maybe it was when you realized the sexual tension and excitement you felt during the honeymoon phase had morphed into a dull predictability that was just a notch above doing the laundry.

We’ve all encountered things in marriage and found ourselves thinking, “I wish someone had told me about this.” So I’ve thought about it, and here are some things I would tell my newly married self:

  • You don’t need to be right all the time…even if you think you are.
  • Dirty clothes go in the hamper, not on the floor beside the hamper.
  • Just because they say they’re fine, doesn’t mean they are.
  • “I wish we were closer” probably means something different to them than it does for you.
  • When they say, “There’s nothing in this house to eat,” it doesn’t they want to go get groceries.
  • They can criticize their parents. You cannot!
  • People’s standards for cleanliness vary greatly.
  • Just because their personality is different from yours doesn’t mean they are brain damaged.
  • Your sex life will occasionally ebb and flow, but it will always take work.
  • If you don’t look at them, you’re not really listening to them.
  • It’s ok to disagree on how to raise children. They will grow up anyway.
  • Compromise is not surrender.
  • It won’t hurt you to watch what they like to watch. (I’m still learning this one.)
  • The more you’re willing to release, the more you’re able to receive.
  • When you say, “Where do you want to eat,” and they say, “Anywhere’s fine,” DON’T BELIEVE IT!

These are just a few of the things I would tell my newly married self. I’ll bet you could add to the list. What would you tell your newly married self? Leave your ideas in the comments and let’s see how many of these we can collect…for all those people who don’t know what they’re getting into!

How to Better Live With Your In-Law – The Bottom Line

Portrait of happy couple with parentsHave you ever been listening to someone talk about something and thought to yourself, “Come on! Just get to the point! What’s the bottom line?!” Well, for the last 3 posts we’ve been talking about how to better live with your in-laws and now it’s time to get to the point. What’s the bottom line on how to better live with your in-laws?  Believe it or not, it really all boils down to one principle, one practice, and one parting thought.

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How to Better Live with Your In-Laws – 5 Steps

Portrait Of Multi-Generation Chinese Family Walking In Park TogetherIn the last post, we talked about the tug-of-war that comes with learning to live with your in-laws. In this post, we’ll look at 5 steps to improve your relationship with your in-laws. You may be thinking, “It can’t be that easy!” Well, notice that I said 5 steps to improve the relationship, not 5 steps to make the relationship the way you want it to be. So, let’s look at the 5 steps.

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How to Better Live With Your In-Laws: Tug-of-War

Tug of warIn the last post, we began looking at how to better live with your in-laws. When you get married, in-laws are part of the package. There can can be some really good things about your in-laws, and there can be some really difficult things about your in-laws. Unfortunately, you get both. It’s a package deal.

Marriage initiates two new tensions into your life. Each of these tensions is like an internal tug-of-war that you can’t avoid. Let’s look at the two primary areas where you’ll feel this tug-of-war.

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How to Better Live With Your In-Laws

Happy African Family“Meet the Parents” is a movie that looks at learning to accept and be accepted by future in-laws.  The movie is funny at times, awkward at times and down right painful at times.  Hopefully your experience with in-laws has been better.

When my wife and I announced to her parents we were getting married, (yeah, I know…we should have asked rather than announce) they were not overjoyed.

Read moreHow to Better Live With Your In-Laws

Oops!

Enable AUdio Icon 250x250I’ve just realized that I failed to post the last Normal Marriage Class audio from back in March of this year. So sorry to have left this one off, since it not only finishes a conversation about dealing with in-laws but also deals with the issue of sex in marriage.  So go back and listen to this blast from the past. If you would like to hear the entire series, click on the Normal Marriage icon in the right side bar under “Teaching Series.”