My marriage turns 2 ½ years old today! I’d love to sit here and brag about how I’m the perfect wife. I would love to say that I have never nagged my husband before, that I’m always patient and longsuffering, or that I always have his favorite meal on the table after a long day of work. Nevertheless, I think my husband and I can both agree that I have improved over these past 2 ½ years. I mean I had good intentions going into this thing. What new wife doesn’t right?! But add pregnancy hormones (I got knocked up on our wedding night) and the sheer lack of experience at being married and it equals some of my good intentions going out of the window.
So I want to share some of the faux pas of my past in hopes that you don’t repeat them when you become a wife. And if you are already a wife, maybe you see yourself somewhere in my stories and you want to adjust. Either way, if you want to read about my rookie mistakes as a wife, read on.
1. I tried to change my husband
Now I should have already learned my lesson about this one. I tried to change John early on in our courtship, and it did not go over very well. It was our very first “real” argument. I was unhappy because he was used to being friendly and chatty with members of the opposite sex so naturally he didn’t stop once we got together. I confronted him about his “friendliness” and he hit me with the “you’re trying to change me” line.
Despite all my attempts to explain to him that there is a way people behave when they are single and a way they operate when they are considering marrying someone, and the two are very different. Even though he saw his behavior as harmless and didn’t mean anything by it, I knew that some women would take it a different way. After much communicating back and forth about the issue, it we seemed we had hit an impasse. I even began to feel guilty like I really was trying to change him, and that he shouldn’t have to change who he was to be with me. So I did what I knew to do about any situation I have no control over-I prayed.
I didn’t pray from a place of “Lord you better get your son because he is tripping and I need him to understand where I am coming from.” Ya’ll know how we like to do. Instead I prayed that if there was something that I needed to do differently in the situation or if there was a mindset change that I needed to have then I gave God permission to enlighten me. Then I prayed that God would rectify the entire situation and give us the solution we needed since neither one of us seemed to be budging. I came out of that prayer session with so much peace, and I got the sense that I should not mention my concerns to John again. Well do you know that not even a week had gone by before John came to me with this sudden “new revelation” about how he should be operating differently since he was moving away from singleness and that he would start adjusting the way he interacts with other women? He was pretty much telling me everything that I was trying to convey to him that day during our conversation, but for some reason he didn’t get it back then. Do you know why that is? Because it wasn’t my job to try to change him.
There is a difference between information and revelation. I was feeding him information when I was trying to get him to see things my way. But God knew how to speak to John the way he needed to hear it and was able to give him revelation. Besides, I didn’t want him thinking he had to change who he was for me. Anything a person does for another human being will not last. It has to be their idea in order for them to exhibit any real change. I never had that issue with John being too friendly or too chatty ever again. I would even joke sometimes that his behavior comes off as a little rude because he always tries to honor me in that area whether I’m around or not. When the change comes as a result of a person’s own personal revelation, the results will be lasting. If anyone changes because you told them to, chances are the results will only be temporary.
I promised I would keep that lesson with me always, especially when we got married but how quickly I forgot as soon as we said I do. It wasn’t until I remembered that situation that I was able to get results again. It all taught me that instead of nagging and complaining and trying to force my views on the other person, that I should just take it to God in prayer. That’s the good thing about having a godly marriage. We both know how to hear from God, and we both allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to change our heart. But even if the person does not, God still knows how to get through to them.
2. I had expectations that my husband was not necessarily aware of
I’ve learned that unmet expectations are usually a result of unknown expectations. In the beginning, I would have all these things that I wanted John to do or say, and I would be so mad or sometimes even sad when he didn’t do or say these things. One day I must have just let them all out and went down an entire list of these concerns with my husband only for him to look at me dumbfounded at the end. He had no idea that I desired these things. Had I simply spoke up and communicated these things with him, maybe he would have made an effort to do them more. Sometimes we just expect people to know certain things or do certain things or say certain things, but people are not mind readers. Many times we are walking around with an attitude with someone all in our head, but they are completely unaware because we never opened our mouth and communicated with them.
We like to say “Well he should just know what to do or what to say.” Sure, that would be nice, but it’s not realistic. No matter how long you have been with someone, they don’t know every single things there is to know about you, especially with how complicated we women can be. At one point we may have liked a certain thing done a certain way and the next week that can have completely changed. We also have to keep in mind that people have different backgrounds, upbringings and life experiences. So things that we would expect to be done a certain way may not be the same for the other person. Communication is key, and if you have never communicated it to your significant other, then you cannot expect the corresponding actions.
3. I compared my marriage to other marriages
You think that comparison only happens when you’re single? Think again. The temptation to compare your life to that of someone else’s will always be there, but it’s up to us whether or not we’re going to indulge it. At the beginning of my marriage, I would sometimes compare my marriage, my relationship, my home, my husband and everything else to that of others. The truth is, we have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors of another person’s marriage. We should be constantly guarding our heart and tending to our own grass in order to keep it green. I also had to realize that other people have been married for way longer than the 2.5 seconds that I had, so they had way more experience together than my husband and I had. It was silly of me to think that I had to be a certain kind of wife and that my husband had to be a certain kind of husband. The truth is that every marriage is different and I just needed to be the kind of wife that was suitable for my husband.
Comparison is like a slap in the face to God. It’s like saying “Thanks, but no thanks to the portion you have given me.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be grateful for all of the gifts that God has bestowed on me, especially the gift of my husband and my amazing marriage. If we’re too busy looking at someone else’s life, we may just miss out on the beauty of our own.
I cringe a little thinking back to the immaturity of my early days, weeks and months as a new wife, but I wouldn’t change them for anything. It turns out the mistakes are all apart of the journey and as long as we learn from them, there is no losing. I am grateful for the lessons learned, and my marriage is stronger because of it. My husband’s and I love has matured these past 2 ½ years and I cannot even begin to imagine what it will look like years down the line. Happy half anniversary to us!
Still Hidden in Him,