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.
Also read: 10 Things I Learned in My First Month of Marriage
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.
Also read: 10 Ways to Handle Conflict and Confrontation for the Best Possible Outcome
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.
Also read: 4 Signs You’re Not Letting Go of Your Husband’s Training Wheels
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!
Also read: The Huge Problem in Every Marriage That No One Talks About!
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!
Guys. I have another website called New Kid on The Blog that I made to help people like you create blogs just like this one! Blogging is my favorite and I think you could do it, too! Click the link to start your own blogging adventure!
Rachel G says
It’s funny because my memories of the early days of marriage are really, really vague. It’s so good to remember not to let things that are truly just little things turn into big things. Someone told me years ago that their best marriage advice is to simply choose not to find your spouse’s habits annoying, and that’s been something that has shaped me a lot. With tiny things that all come down to personal preference (i.e. my husband prefers to sleep with his head at the foot of the bed)…I can simply choose not to be annoyed by his random habits and instead just be happy that he’s mine, weird habits and all. 🙂
This is a super helpful post! Everyone, regardless of how long you’ve been married, can use these tips. I’ve been married almost two years now and I definitely could still use some of this!
I guess what I’m sort of worried about is how things will change when I get married next year. We’ve already been living together for the past 3 years so that won’t change. I guess just being used to the idea that marriage is for life and if I get angry, I have to keep my cool and learn to forgive.
Yes, staying calm and cool is so important! It really makes every fight a lot shorter and way more “to the point”!
Mayra Murillo says
These are all good points to make but I feel like things do need to be expressed if they bother you. It is not about a confronting him or letting him establish a bad habit, but he could honestly not even know that he is doing it. I think for me it is all in the way that you express things. Don’t accuse or pick away but rather calmly bring it up.
That’s great Mayra! It’s easy to assume that your significant other should know why we’re upset but so many times he has no idea why. I’ve needed to be reminded several times that my husband is not a mind reader.
Totally agree. I love how you talked about asking yourself questions before you confront a situation. I need to do that more. When I got married, something I had to change was compromise. I have always been able to compromise but I had to adjust my expectations quite a lot, especially with newly living with someone. I got used to it all, over time. Nice post.
It really does take time and a whole lot of patience and understanding! I’ve even found that sometimes I have higher expectations for my husband than I have for myself! Hence the need to ask questions. Thanks for reading!
I guess making compromises and learning to be patient and understanding are key to a good relationship when married and living together. Accepting one another and all ones little habits makes it a lot easier – it just sometimes takes time. But you grow as a couple and you learn to take things a little less serious as the years go by.
Hi Chelsea, nice to meet you! I found your blog through the blog &+ biz BFFs group. Even though I am not married yet, this list is still very useful. I enjoyed reading this post and am looking forward to reading your other posts!
The article is good and the advice is good, but your spouse has to willing to listen and change. Your lucky if he is, if he isn’t then you are out of luck and the things you talk to him about you will just have to learn to live with. It will irritate you to no end because you think ” if he loves me he will change”, well don’t hold your breath. I’ve been married for 38 years and I learned after the first month of marriage that he didn’t care how I felt. He’s going to do things his way and that’s that! If I didn’t like it tough learn to live with it. So if you have a husband who loves you so much that he is willing to compromise, you are very lucky. But if you knew his faults before you married him, then don’t expect him to change after you are married. Sorry to sound like such a downer,but life is tough and doesn’t always turn out like we hoped it would.
That is so very true !
I have now been married 28 years and I can remember expecting things to be a certain way when we first got married- and when they weren’t I was a bit resentful…not good.
Some of my learned observations:
A. Do NOT make your spouse have the responsibility of making you happy…that is your job, not theirs. Just because they don’t fill your expectations in some things doesn’t mean they are out to make you miserable. Be happy on your own…:)
B. Allow them to be human, because remember, you are too. What you don’t like about someone may well be
their strength also …
C. Just because it is something you don’t like doesn’t mean it is wrong, it could be just difference of personalities…so always think about it before you confront you spouse and weigh it in as whether it is just a personality difference – your way isn’t always the ‘must be done this way’ or else…:)
D. Make a daily habit of concentrating on what you like about them, not what you don’t like. If something really is a problem, and it really is worthy of mentioning, do so with careful wording and expression…words cannot be retrieved when said in a rash moment.
E. Try to do something nice for your spouse every day- a kind word, compliment, small gift, saying thank you for something they do or are, or doing something nice for them can be a great encouragement to them… It’s the really small things, not necessarily the big things that make a marriage happy.
Jerry Stumpf says
Excellent reminders and suggestions.
Unmet expectation can be a huge roadblock on the road to healthy intimacy.
Keep up the great work, as marriage today needs support!
7 Pleasurable Ingredients to Create An Awesome Marriage http://wp.me/p50Bqq-hQ