Seventy-five days remain until I change my name from Miss to Mrs. As chaos surrounds me, so do the blessings. I’m overwhelmed with the changes occurring in my life, but even more, I’m encapsulated by how much advice people share during this season.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of finding my prince and riding off on a white horse into the sunset. It was a daydream, a fairytale that princesses and paupers alike envision… that is until they grow up.
During my teen years, I didn’t go on a single date. Some might call me a prude, but genuinely, no one ever asked me out! Probably because I was shy around boys, or acted like they were that freaky jumping spider you find in your bathroom and scream for someone else to come take care of!
All jokes aside, however, I know now that the Lord was saving and reserving my heart for someone special. A certain someone I would wait my entire life to date, and praise the Lord, then marry.
I met Ben at the end of my fourth year of college. I didn’t know it then, but he would quickly become a part of my life for the next five years. He will now soon become a part of my life forever.
Our dating scenes weren’t always easy. They were certainly not what I envisioned as a little girl with her Prince Charming. But I can say with honor that he is everything and more I prayed for. He is the prince I envisioned waiting for, and the one with whom I will spend the rest of my days here on Earth.
The closer we get to our wedding date, the more my anxiety grows. Don’t get me wrong; I am ecstatic! Finding a place to live and making transitions to live with another human being is a joy I prayed for many years to encounter. But as the years grow into months and days until I say “I do,” I am also filled with normal insecurities and fears. I suppose many others in this season know exactly what I’m referring to.
In my questions and answers, there have been three pieces of marriage advice repeated over and over. And if these have been said to you, I want you to know that you’re not alone!
While the intentions behind these pieces of advice come from genuine care and concern, here’s what I wish people would stop telling me about getting married:
1. Marriage Is Hard
Practically speaking, I understand what someone means when they coin the phrase, “Marriage is hard.” I think as children, we grow up envisioning marriage as this far-off mystical land full of rainbows, sunshine, and puppy dogs. But as much as we know these things simply aren’t true, we can set ourselves up for disappointment. The first time he forgets to take out the trash or we get into a disagreement can stir heated tensions.
I’m not married yet, so I won’t pretend to know everything about this subject. However, I have grown up in a home violated by verbal and emotional abuse. When people tell me marriage is hard, all I can think about is the home I grew up seeing.
The slamming doors. The raging voices. Unresolved arguments tucked away for another day in hopes of resolution. To say I saw a chaotic and unhealthy marriage would be an understatement. I love both of my parents dearly. I know they’ve raised me the best they could. No one is perfect. Not even the best couples are. But I don’t need anyone else to tell me marriage is hard.
I know it won’t be sunshine and rainbows every day. I know it won’t always be easy. But because I’ve grown up seeing what marriage shouldn’t be, I do know an awful lot about what it should be. What it should look like. How it should look. What I will and will not put up with.
As my Grandma Memo once told me, “Marriage isn’t hard, Amber. At least, it shouldn’t be. Sure, it has its ups and downs. It’s disagreements and moments of agreeing to disagree. But marriage is good. A healthy marriage is about sacrifice and balance. It takes work. Patience. Love and forgiveness. But it isn’t hard.”
2. You Will Have Fights
The second piece of advice people love to share about preparing for marriage is the assumption that “you will have fights.” Now, this might just be a personal preference, but I believe telling someone they and their partner will have fights isn’t the most appropriate measure of love to share.
Again, I digress. I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional family. I know what unhealthy relationships and boundaries look like between men and women. Between power and authority of those who shouldn’t have any but do. And yet, this comment that my fiancé and I will have fights simply isn’t helpful.
I’m not naive as many may think. Even Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 gives instruction that marriage is not for everyone, and moments of discontent between a husband and wife are sure to arise. Although I’m engaged to Ben, we have had our share of arguments over the five years we’ve been together. Little “he said, she said” moments of despair that really weren’t that big of a deal. But even in our worst disagreements and heartbreaks, we haven’t fought.
Early on in our dating relationship, it felt like Ben and I had a DTR (define the relationship) moment every single week or month. It was exhausting, and we questioned the relationship a lot. But the one thing Ben and I now value most about our relationship is the resilience, patience, and love Christ has enabled us to grow through within this experience.
Yes, Ben and I will continue to have things we disagree on often. Every couple does. But what matters is our resilience and drive to resolve these issues. We have a promise we’ve made to each other and God that when we have a problem, we tell each other. Not someone else. Not a family member, but we talk to each other. Once we’ve shed light on the subject, we then take the time to talk about it and listen to the other person’s perspective. No yelling. No slamming doors. No raising our voices. No throwing things or hitting the other person.
At the end of the day, there are still many things we have to simply agree to disagree about. This was another piece of advice Grandma gave me that I cling to often. But God never said we had to agree 100% of the time with the person we marry. He said that we need to cherish them with love and care like they were our own bodies. I’m still learning how to do this well, but I’m confident that if we keep Christ at the center of our relationship and remember who the true enemy of our problems is (Satan, not each other), we will avoid many quarrels.
3. The First Year of Marriage Is The Hardest
The final piece of unwarranted advice that I wish people would stop saying about marriage is that “the first year is the hardest.” Granted, I’ve never been married. I don’t know and won’t pretend to know what this experience is going to be like. But as someone with anxiety and depression, I’m sure it’ll continue to be overwhelming and exciting.
The assumption that the first year of marriage will be the hardest comes from the belief that two people are merging their lives together for the first time. Since Ben and I are Christians and have always lived at home with our families (even commuting to and from college this way), it’s sure to be a wake-up call. Most days, I’m not sure I’m prepared for living with the opposite species and how he will act. I’m sure Ben would say the same about living with a female who’s emotional and cries most days.
Nevertheless, I know that the path we’ve pursued is God’s plan, and He will bless our lives. We’ve chosen to pursue our marriage the right way. We’ve never lived together and won’t until our vows have been said, rings are placed, and our promise to God is presented before mankind. But I would rather choose honor to God than comfort to man. I would rather be surprised when I get married than dishonor God just to seek something unknown.
Over the last five years, Ben and I have experienced a lot of really hard things. I’m tempted to say they are things many couples still haven’t faced. Everyone has their unique battles and challenges. But only God truly knows our story and where it’s headed. Only God knows how the rest of our lives will unfold.
I presume that Ben and I will face many challenges in the first year of marriage. But it’s accurate to say we probably will every single year. I don’t necessarily think one can outweigh the other as long as resilience, grace, love, and forgiveness pave the way.
Seventy-five days feel like a long time now, but I know it’ll fade quickly. And soon, I’ll tread deep into waters I know relatively little about. I have my preconceived notions and ideals, but there’s only so much you can prepare for without experience.
For all of you friends in this similar season, know I see you and stand with you. But please don’t be afraid. Only you, your partner-to-be, and God know how everything pan out. And with Christ on your side and within your relationship, you will conquer even the most unknown and uncertain circumstances.
Be blessed today and forevermore, knowing that Someone who died to love you is preparing you for an eternity of love here on Earth and in Heaven. Regardless of the advice you’ve been told. Regardless of things that have been said, but probably shouldn’t.
Photo Credit: ©Pixabay/Pexels
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,