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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married

By: Kristen Clark

The first six months of my marriage were some of the most eye opening months of my life. Up until that point I thought being a wife and a help-mate was easy business. I felt fully prepared for my role as a wife.

Major delusion.

After six months of marriage I realized how utterly unprepared I was in certain areas. To be honest, there were five things I wish I had known before I got married. If you’re a single girl and are hoping to get married some day, this advice is for you.

1. Your Relationship with God is the KEY to Being a Happy Wife.

I had an okay relationship with God as a single girl. I tried to read my Bible and pray on a daily basis, but I wasn’t the most consistent. Anyone relate? As a result, my early months of marriage were highly emotional ones for me.

Back then I was looking to my new husband for my security and fulfillment instead of to God.

I wanted Zack to make me happy, content and secure – all the time.

As a result, I became an emotional roller coaster.

I didn’t become a consistently joyful and happy wife until I became consistent in my Bible and prayer time. I learned that I would only be as “happy and content” as I was in God’s Word. When I grounded myself in God’s truth, I become a much happier wife.

2. The “Independent Attitude” Destroys Unity.

Our culture tells you that being independent from your dad, mom, family, and future husband is a great thing.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my first six months of marriage it’s this: independence destroys unity.

God has given us a pattern for how marriages should function and it goes like this: The husband is the leader of the home and the wife is his right hand woman. The husband lays down his life for his wife and the wife shows respect to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33).

One of the greatest things a wife can do to help her family succeed is to be “team oriented” rather than independent minded.

Zack shared with me that joining him with a “team oriented” mindset was the biggest blessing I could give him.

Start now by serving your family and developing a “team” oriented mindset. 

3. Good Communication will Save You from Hours of Struggle.

I thought I was a great communicator…until I got married. My early months of marriage quickly revealed some unattractive habits in my heart.

When you get mad about something, are you the type of girl who clams-up or explodes-out? Do you prefer the silent treatment or the shouting treatment? For me, it was the silent treatment.

I was a horrible communicator because of this and our marriage suffered many unnecessary hours as a result.

Whether you’re a clam-up or explode-out type of girl, I can’t encourage you enough to work on your communication skills now. The patterns you set now for solving problems and working through conflict will follow you into your marriage.

4. Practical Skills will Greatly Bless Your Family.

Before I got married I knew how to clean a house, do laundry, and do basic meal planning, prepping and cooking, but my skills were limited. As a single girl, I didn’t make a lot of efforts to advance my domestic skills. As a result, my learning curve was a lot harder when I became the manager of my own home.

If you desire to honor God as a wife and home-manager one day, then you need to educate yourself on what that entails. Take over the meal planning for your mom for a month and force yourself to learn how to grocery shop.

Set a budget for yourself and only spend what you’re allowed to, then prepare all the family dinners for a week.

On top of that, learn from your mom (or a godly woman) on how to clean a house, wash clothes, iron clothes, pay bills, trim bushes, take care of babies, change diapers, etc. These practical skills will make you a great asset to your future husband and family.

5. Learning Financial Discipline is Huge

According to researchers, most divorces are triggered because of money issues. When I was single, I worked full time for a few years and earned a lot of money. I didn’t put myself on a budget and freely purchased whatever I wanted. I wasn’t disciplined in my habits.

Marriage was a shocking wake-up call for me. I happened to marry a financial advisor who put me on a strict budget the day we got back from our honeymoon. I almost went into shock during the first six months of marriage because of this.

My bad habits were colliding with reality.

Thankfully, I have grown to see the value of having a budget and saving money. I can’t urge you enough to avoid gaining debt now and in your future. If you do this, you will avoid HUGE money issues in your future marriage. Put yourself on a budget (free tools here) and stick to it. Learn how to become financially responsible.

So there you have it!

Five things I wish I knew before I got married. If I could rewind the clock, I would diligently work on each of those areas. The more time you spend preparing for marriage now, the better your marriage will be in the future. And even if marriage isn’t in God’s plan for you, these skills will still come in handy!

I encourage you to take those those five tips seriously and begin working on them today.

I’d love to hear from you about this topic!

  • Which of the five areas stood out to you the most and why?
  • Which areas do you think you need the most work on?
  • What other tips have you learned that will aide you in your future?

Let’s continue this conversation below.

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  • Kay

    Thank you SO much for this!! I think I definitely need to work on growing my relationship with God (as always!!) and on my practical skills… I love your suggestion of taking over the meal planning and grocery shopping for a month. Thanks again!

  • Clarissa

    Independence is one of the things that I struggle with. People keep telling me I need to learn how to function my own as an adult and not be so dependent on my parents. Like when it comes to decision making especially. “I am my own person” is the lie I keep hearing. Yet at the same time, I can’t call or text my parents with every single problem I have. What does God’s Word say about this?

    • Grace

      I think there is a difference between the ability to be independent and the habit of being so. It is important to be able to plan, coordinate, and make decisions on your own, without always having someone’s input. There are times in marriage and in single life where you will have to make decisions on your own without someones immediate input. But this is where the difference between having the ability to do this and the habit of doing this comes in. If you are in the habit of making decisions on your own without considering the input of others or their point of view, and always just deciding for yourself and by yourself, when you get into a marriage or job situation you are going to be a bad or disadvantaged team player. I would say that it is through practice living on a team and making decisions as a team that you learn how to make one as an individual. If you are used to hearing other people’s input and desires and working with and around that, when it comes time for you to make a decision by yourself, you will know better how to make the best decision for all involved.

      • Great thoughts Grace! Spot on. Thanks for sharing and clarifying.

    • Hey Clarissa, great questions! I have to say that the @Grace’s response to your comment is spot on! Check it out. Thanks for sharing Grace!

  • thehappygirl

    Recently, I’ve really been serious about praying for/about my future husband and preparing for marriage. This came just time time! 🙂

    Numbers 1 and 2 used to be my biggest struggle. Now I’ve got a good relationship with God and realize that it’s gonna take teamwork to make a good marriage. Number 5 is definitely my biggest struggle, followed by numbers 4 and 3, respectively. I love to spend, spend, spend! I find it hard to save money. I’m beginning to see how much wiser it would be to save the little money I make versus spending it. I could use it to put a down payment on a home, or buy housewares, or even use it for wedding expenses! I’ll definitely be working on all these points though.

    • Thanks for sharing @disqus_hihTx5ZolR:disqus! It seems like you have a good understanding of where your weakness are…so just keep working on those areas. I’m still working on many of these areas myself. 🙂 -Kristen

  • Lena

    Certainly Good Communication stood out to me the most because I’m the type of girl who clams-up, but when I decided to talk, I tende to be aggressive in words and this is bad. Then, its a good point to discuss in the next post. Thank you girls!

    • I feel ya, girl. Clamming up is my natural tendency too. Keep working on having open communication because it REALLY pays off in marriage. -Kristen

  • Monty

    Really enjoyed your post Kristen. I highly encourage your readers to pick up a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace or attend one of his Financial Peace University workshops at a local church. It has been just what we needed to help us pay off our mortgage and become debt-free. I would advise single women to begin tithing, saving and living on a budget before they get married so that they bring strong financial management skills with them into marriage. I would also encourage them to spend time during their engagement discussing what each others gifts and talent are. For example my husband loves to cook and has been the chef in our family since we were married. I have become a great sous chef and dishwasher. Believe me he uses ALOT of dishes!!! He loves planning meals and grocery shopping. I am blessed that he loves it and totally support his desire to play this non-traditional role in our marriage. Given my degree and career in Financial Services I manage our budget and investments and pay our bills. We went through Financial Peace together at our church and with our priorities and values in alignment it’s very easy for me to act on our behalf. He loves that I enjoy it and is happy to do the filing and shredding when I’m done. I had to laugh at your comment about trimming bushes. Yard work is one of the family responsibilities I am soooo happy my husband loves. I would hate to see what our yard would look like if it was up to me to make it pretty. Thanks to his green thumb we have a beautiful garden. I loved your point about being a “team”. The best teams play to the strengths of the team members and encourage each other in doing their best!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice, @monty! I have personally gone through the Financial Peace University course and LOVED it. Such valuable information. Thanks for mentioning it again! -Kristen

  • These are wonderful bits of advice! Thanks so much, Kristen, for sharing the things that will help us young women to be more prepared going into out future. I absolutely love that about this blog!

    • So grateful you found this helpful @moriahpro31:disqus!

    • Moriah, you are the winner of the free book giveaway from last weeks post. Please e-mail us through our contact page with your best mailing address. Thanks! -Bethany http://www.girldefined.com/contact

  • Jenna Regan

    I struggled with the first point when I was in a relationship with a wonderful G-dly man. I became an emotional roller-coaster because after a while I wasn’t finding my complete purpose in G-D. Having a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father enables us to love our soul mate in the divine way intended. I truly wish that I could have a second chance to love him in an even deeper and holier way but after 14 months of being together he broke off our relationship mainly due to my family struggling with our belief differences. Now all I can do is see the situation as an opportunity to learn even if it still hurts deeply. I have put my focus on prayer and aligning myself to the Word and Way of G-D. Thank you for another wonderful and encouraging post! Shalom!

    • Sounds like God is teaching you a lot, @jenna_regan:disqus. You’re on the right track with striving to trust God and apply His truths to your life. Keep it up, girl!

  • First Amendment

    While we should never feel pressured to be completely independent (it’s fine to ask for help sometimes), the idea that women should not be independent at all is rather preposterous. You can be “team-oriented” in a relationship without clinging to the arcane idea that the man should be the leader. If God is unhappy if I am autonomous from my husband in our marriage, I will never get married.

  • Rebecca Page

    These are spot on! Putting them in my files for newlywed counseling.

  • Melissa

    I am currently reading a book entitled “The Debt-Free Lifestyle” by Andrew I. Liuson. The book is amazing, what a blessing! It tackles financial issues and other necessary disciplines we could use as guide. The key points were explained in a very simple and understandable way, with true life stories.The book is Bible-based. I was so encouraged to live a debt-free life! 😀

  • Bethany Perez

    As a newly-married wife of a 8 and a half months, keeping calm is a HUGE thing also. And not just what you say, but how you say it. One of us will say we’re fine, but we’ve both learned when we’re fine, and when we’re “fine.” Being best friends first helps a lot as well.

  • This is so helpful… thank you!! I wish there were more blog posts out there like this for singles. I want to be prepared when I get married!


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