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!

The Crowded Marriage.

Let’s start by stating the obvious…it’s been a little over 8 months since I have posted to Normal Marriage. I realized this when, on a trip back home, I ran into a niece who asked me if I had kicked her off my Normal Marriage mailing list, because she hadn’t gotten a new post in “forever.”

I could give you a lot of detailed reasons for why it’s been so long, but the long and the short of it is life crept in and crowded Normal Marriage out.

Ever had that happen? Ever had the demands of life crowd out your marriage? The demands of life come in all shapes and sizes…

Read moreThe Crowded Marriage.

Have You Lost the Magic?

Couples come into my counseling office for many reasons. Some are having on-going conflicts they can’t resolve. Others are having trouble with their parents or in-laws. Some are struggling in their sexual relationship. Others are at odds over finances. And some just seem to have different ideas about what makes for a good marriage.

But there was one couple who came into my office who summed up marital issues in one simple sentence. “We have lost the magic.“

Ever feel like your marriage has lost the magic? If so, maybe it’s because: 

Read moreHave You Lost the Magic?

Are You A Good Lover?

How am I suppose to find the answer to the question, “Are you a good lover?”

If I ask myself that question, my pride and ego would give a resounding “YES!” But if I’m honest, after thirty-seven years of marriage, I still feel awkward and clueless at times.

If I ask my wife that question, she would probably assure me that I’m a good lover. But how do I know she’s not just sparing my feelings. What if, after I go to sleep, she’s shaking her head in sad disbelief?

Read moreAre You A Good Lover?

The Best Position for Sex

Now that I have your attention…

Go to your local bookstore and look at the books on sex. You don’t have to wear a disguise or take the Christian bumper stickers off your car. Just act like you were looking for a book on Civil War history and got lost. Then, when no one is looking, take a look at some of the sex books on the shelf.

You will find that the majority of sex books (and there’s a lot of them) will focus on sexual positions, (and there’s a lot of them.) Yet none of theses books will tell you which sexual position is the best.

Read moreThe Best Position for Sex

Is Your Marriage Approaching Zero Gravity? – Part 2

Gravity is an essential part of life. Without it, things would drift away into space. Likewise, gravity is an essential part of marriage. Without marital gravity, spouses begin to drift apart. And if they drift too far apart, it can bring an end to the marriage.

In my last post, I talked about four things you needed to increase your marital gravity. They were four things that would help draw you closer to one another and keep you from drifting apart. (Check out my last post, “Is Your Marriage Approaching Zero Gravity – Part 1.”)

Read moreIs Your Marriage Approaching Zero Gravity? – Part 2

4 Things That Can Disrupt Your Sex Life.

I don’t write much about sex in this blog. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with the topic. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of wives read this blog and I don’t want to come across as the “typical male who’s only thinking about one thing.” Maybe it’s because there’s so much out there on sex and marriage I don’t know what else to add to the topic. Maybe it’s because I know my wife reads this blog and I don’t want to wind up in the dog house or be reminded of how much I don’t know.

But whatever the reason, we need to talk about sex, because it’s an important part of marriage.

Read more4 Things That Can Disrupt Your Sex Life.

Monogam-ish? Really?

There is an idea related to marriage that is slowly gaining traction in our culture. It is the idea that you can be monogamous maritally, without being exclusive sexually. The term for this is “monogam-ish.”

When I first encountered this term, I was doing some web research and it came up in a Google search. My first thought was, “Monogam-ish? Really?” Curious, I clicked on a video explaining the concept of being monogram-ish. My reaction went from “you’ve got to be kidding” to “I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion!”

The rationale behind being monogam-ish goes like this…

Read moreMonogam-ish? Really?

Schedule Times for Sex

do not disturbTwo weeks ago we talked about making an appointment to spend time with your spouse. Last week we talked about scheduling dates with your spouse. This week we talk about scheduling times for sex with your spouse.

Now I am not talking about making sex as mundane or routine as taking out the trash every Tuesday night. I’m talking about giving sex with your spouse the time and attention it deserves and needs.

Marital satisfaction is affected by sexual satisfaction. Most married couples know this instinctively, but still tend to resist scheduling times from sex. Here are some of the things I’ve heard from couples when it comes to scheduling times for sex…

Read moreSchedule Times for Sex