You know, before I started writing this blog post I had another post entirely in mind. I started writing… got about two sentences down, and then couldn’t for the life of me think of what else to say. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. But finding a way to express the ideas in my mind all of a sudden became entirely impossible. So I took a break from writing and started doing a couple things around the house. As I was washing my hands an entirely NEW blog post title popped into my mind. Something I had never thought about writing before. I ran to my computer and started typing. And then this post was born! I have sort of a love-hate relationship with my spastic, impulsive, creative mind. I can feel uninspired for weeks. And then write 3 posts in a matter of days.
This post has newly married ladies in mind. I can remember the first couple months my husband and I were married. We had a lot going on back then and there was a lot of adjusting to do. Stay tuned for the follow-up post colon three things newly married women should not worry about.
Taking life too seriously
Hey, I get it. When you’re newly married, there’s a whole lot of change. You’re living somewhere new, you have new responsibilities, new expectations, you’re free, but not totally. It’s a whole new dynamic to get used to and, frankly, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Especially when you start to see your new husband do things that you never thought would be a problem. Like how he never really notices that mess that drives you crazy. Or how he forgets to tell you things. There’s a ton of new things to get used to in newly married life and one of those things you’ll have to get used to is not having things done the way you expect them. Now given, there’s room for your husband to grow and mature too, and if he loves God and loves you, then he will! But it’s a process, for sure. Give yourself and your new husband a little extra grace for the first several months to a whole year. Be honest, confront in the moment (instead of 3 days later when you can’t hold it in any longer, but always treat the little things… like they’re little things.
To show you an example of what I mean by this, when Josh and I were first married, I thought that every action he did that annoyed me needed to be confronted. Otherwise I was letting him establish bad habits that would carry on throughout our marriage- and that terrified me. Because of this fear, I took everything he did to mean something about his character. If he left his clothes laying out, he was lazy. If he joked when I was trying to talk to him, he didn’t respect me. In our first few months of marriage, I took so many little things to mean BIG things, so many things way too seriously, and I ended up not being a very good friend to my husband. To be honest, I wasn’t very much fun to be around. I realized that my husband wanted a partner, lover, and friend in me and what I had been giving him was a mother and a housekeeper. After our first year, I realized that not every action of his meant something. I began to look for why he would do the things he did. Maybe he left his clothes on the floor because he’s tired and he’ll pick them up later. I guess I do that sometimes too. Like I said before, remember to treat the little things like they’re little things.
Learning to confront well
This is a biggie. One of the biggest things I talk about with new married couples is how wives don’t know how to confront their husbands well (or at least that’s what I’m thinking as I inwardly cringe at the overly dramatic story they retell to me). Now, I am a HUGE advocate of open confrontation in marriage. But many times we associate the word “confrontation” with the word “fight.” Which is fair, being that the definition is this: “a hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties.”
But that doesn’t sound much like a marriage. Or at least one that I would want.
So I’ll say this: Confrontation is a GOOD thing! But not in the way we usually think of it. When confronting in marriage, I try to follow these guidelines:
1. First, before saying a word to your husband ask yourself these questions:
How big of a deal is this- really?
Are my emotions playing into my judgement?
Is this something I am guilty of also?
Is this a reasonable expectation for my husband?
Answer all of these questions to yourself before you bring up anything to your husband. Easier said than done, but WORTH IT. It will save you a lot of apologies later, I promise.
2. Confront quickly.
This is a hard skill to learn for some people *caugh* me *caugh*. Yeah, I was that person who would bring up something up 3 days later out of the blue because I had let it bother me for that long and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer! Don’t be that person.
I find this happens most often when a husband will say something hurtful to his wife (whether knowingly or obliviously) and then move on without apologizing. The wife will turn his words over in her head for days without telling him that they were hurtful!
Instead of letting your husband’s words linger in your mind for days, tell him right away that his words hurt and you expect more from him. You know the kind of man he wants to be and the words that he spoke to do not emulate that type of person. Giving a man a calling and letting him know that you think he is capable of reaching it and that you don’t expect anything less is a great way to get a man to see and accept that you want more from him (because you believe in him!) without seeming naggy when you ask him to change his actions.
3. Keep your cool.
When the time comes to confront your man, there’s probably more emotions running through your mind than you know what to do with. I mean, you’re confronting him for a reason, right? There’s probably something he’s doing that is either hurtful, unhelpful, or inappropriate (to varying degrees) that makes you feel the need to confront.
Depending on maturity level (you can judge where you’re at), the goal of your confrontation is hopefully to come to an understanding of a new way of doing things that accommodates and pleases both you and your husband (rather than simply trying to make him feel like a horrible person). That being the case, the fastest, most direct way to get to that point is to keep your emotions in check while confronting his actions.
Your first few months of marriage are when a lot of boundaries and expectations are explored and established. At first, you may be excited to “play house” and you may not mind doing a few extra chores or favors for your new husband, but sooner or later, it will get old. I have known several new wives who are so excited to be new wives that they really don’t mind playing the role of housewife for the first few weeks. But after a little while, their expectations begin to settle in again and they realize that they’re probably took on a little bit of the role of mother rather than wife and partner.
To keep yourself from making this mistake and establishing boundaries and expectations early on, talk with your husband about what you expect him to help out with- and be specific. Don’t say, “I’d like you to help out around the house” and then become annoyed when he doesn’t do the job you imagined him doing when you said that. Men need specifics. Instead say, “I’d like you to be in charge of taking out the trash most days, and I’ll be in charge of laundry most days.”
Given, there may be times when you’ll need to be understanding and step in and take over one of his jobs if there’s a time when he needs a little extra help (and grace), and hopefully he will be willing to do that for you as well. But in the meantime, having your specific expectations communicated will save you a lot of annoyance and nagging conversations later!
Are you a new wife? What are some things that you have had to learn and change in your first few months of marriage? Been married for a while? What are things that you used to take seriously when you were first married that are no big deal now?
Leave your own stories in the comments below and remember to share with the newlyweds in your life!
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