Here we are in the back of the Whitehall VFW on November 8, 1997. Our wedding day.
Here’s what I needed to know.
1. Truth, the whole truth and Nothing But the Truth
Start your marriage with zero secrets. If you are entering the covenant contract of marriage, your partner has the right to know everything before he signs his life away.
We would be enraged if we bought a house that the seller never told us has a bad foundation. We would sue a car dealer who sold us a car that had been wrecked. In life we call that fraud. In marriage we do too.
2. We aren’t playing house.
It is fun to get wedding gifts and housewarming presents. It is fun to decorate and hang new curtains. It is even fun to go grocery shopping for the first time as the Mrs.
But this marriage thing isn’t like playing house. This is serious vow to man and God stuff. Don’t play with that.
3. It’s not about him.
I was a broken young woman. I put so much hope in this marriage fixing me that my husband nearly suffocated under the weight.
My joy and fulfillment wasn’t about him. It was about Jesus.
4. It’s not about me.
I want to be happy. I want you to do what I want. I want your time. I want your attention. I want. I want. I want.
For heaven’s sake I was like my three year-old daughter who melts down whenever she doesn’t get a green spoon. Sometimes we just need to buck up and realized that this marriage isn’t all about me.
5. I was one hot mess.
I was not cut from the pages of the Hot Bible Girl Pin-up Mag. I was more cut from the average looking, emotionally dysfunctional, has a lot of potential mag.
I didn’t see my flaws but I saw all of his with crystal clear, microscopic, x-ray vision.
6. Make Love
Sex isn’t just about the O. For some of us gals the O can be elusive but that’s whole other post. Here’s the point for today, I needed to come into my marriage bed ready for love. I need to show up ready to give and receive love unabashedly. The rest will take care of itself.
7. Some days you will want to run.
So those may not be the most romantic words of wisdom to share with a bride, but I could have used that one on a few rainy days. More than once I have had to convince myself to stay. I thought something was so freakishly wrong with me that I never dared to tell a soul. Seventeen years later I know that is pretty standard. The important part is this: when you feel like running, don’t.
8. It gets better.
I was so happy on my wedding day. Even in my broken, hot mess of mess I was happy. I had no idea that it would get better. I feel so sure of myself. I feel sure of my husband. I feel sure of our commitment. There is so much happiness that comes from really believing that the only thing that will tear us apart is death.
9. Kids change the game.
The fruit of the womb is a reward and was like lit dynamite to our relationship.
Our first child was born three years after we got married. That’s three years to settle into routines, figure out the equity of work and learn the dance. That baby turned the waltz into the Cha-Cha, the Bunny Hop and the Macarena all at once.
I was sleep deprived, hormonal and weepy. I felt like an overwhelming failure because I had problems nursing. I wept over bedding in TJ Maxx. My active full-time job turned into mom-notony. The baby was fed by the game show schedule on TV.
My world was rocked and so was our marriage. Again.
10. Never forget your first kiss.
When you want to run, when the baby won’t sleep, when you think he is a total jerk, remember your first kiss. Remember what drew you to him. Remember what made you smile. Remember how he made you laugh. Remember how you felt the first time he kissed you.
“A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.” – Unknown