Today's post comes from sweet Sarah of Oh My Soul. Sarah and I are both 'crunchy conservatives' with a shared love for cooking, books, and our faith... AND her husband went to Notre Dame at the same time I did, so we were pretty much meant to be friends. Enjoy her beautiful newlywed advice below.
Congratulations! You are married. Marriage is pretty awesome, but it’s definitely not all fun and games all the time. Sometimes things get serious. This advice is written in that spirit of seriousness- but don’t ever forget that for all the weight and importance and holiness of marriage, one of the best things in life is just hanging out and goofing off with your spouse. Especially if there’s ice cream involved.
I have known my sweetheart since the age of six, but we’ve only been married for two and a half years so feel free to take my very basic “advice” with a hefty grain of salt.
My advice, in any case, is as follows:
-Remember, first and foremost, that since marriage is a Sacrament—that is, a mystery designed to bring one closer to God—your primary shared aim as a couple should be to draw one another deeper in your Faith.
~Do this by praying together, praying for each other, and praying constantly. (Attending Mass together doesn’t hurt, but I won’t assume you are both of Catholic.) (Bonus: it is way harder to stay annoyed at petty things when one is constantly praying. Really.)
-That said, let little things go. Just let ‘em go. My expert opinion is that 99.9% of issues aren’t really issues at all. I’ve learned to ask myself “would I rather be ‘right’ or happy?” The truth is, it is much more fun to just enjoy time together rather than getting snippety or letting silly things like dirty dishes turn into a squabble.
-But, should things devolve into a petty argument, rely on your stellar communication skills! C’mon, you know the basics. Talk, don’t yell. Discuss, don’t whine. A good way to keep the positive communication flowing is to think about how well you treat strangers/acquaintances/friends. How do you talk to them? How do you treat them? You’re probably polite and kind and pulled together most of the time, right? Why should you treat your spouse any differently than you do your friends? I know it’s all too easy to let the intimacy and day-to-dayness of marriage make you complacent and careless in your treatment of your spouse
sometimes you just end up throwing irrational tantrums in front of them.
(Or maybe that’s just me?) But you know what? Tough cookies. This work of
marriage, this vocation you’ve been called to—it’s pretty dang important. It’s
holy and sacrificial and redeeming and worth every special and ordinary effort.
Be real, be human, be yourself, but be
loving and choose your words and actions accordingly.
Okay, I could go on and on with the advice-giving (and man, am I good at giving advice)—but before I get too verbose here (too late!) I’ll give you a bottom line. You pray, you communicate well, you let little things go. You’re awesome… but the most rock solid thing you can do is place your spouse’s needs above your own. Yeah, I said above your own. Even when you really really really just want to be selfish. Or even when it feels like you’re so totally justified in what you think you need. If you both put your spouse’s needs before your own, you’ve recognized the spirit of servanthood inherent in marriage. Pope John Paul II said: “to maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.” Don’t listen to me, listen to him! Also, in case you are worried (“but what about me??”)—you’re both looking out for the other, so it works out. For every thoughtful thing I’ve done for my husband, he’s probably more than returned the favor (not that that’s the point, but I’ll take all the sweet surprise flowers or chocolates I can get! Thanks, dear.)
Now you have this advice in your pocket! Go forth and be
It’s a joyful, wild, beautiful ride.
*Disclaimer: I assume no responsibility for… anything, really. None. Unless all the advice works out for you, in which case I take full credit and you are welcome.
**Also, I’ve said nothing of children in this little ditty of mine, mostly because my advice isn’t meant to be all-encompassing, obviously… but kiddos and openness to life is vital in any marriage.