I was not prepared for all that changed when we got married.
Dating had come easily, conversations flowed freely. Perhaps it was the stress of married life, or maybe the early pregnancy in our marriage. Whatever it was, marriage was sort of a wake-up call that things were not going to be smooth sailing. While I was in the marriage for the long haul, I learned a few things in those early years that helped me stay focused on growing in my marriage.
3 Healthy Ways to Grow in Marriage in the Early Years
My Husband Is Not The Enemy
It was so easy to blow up at the person right in front of me. After all, he’s the one who messed up. He’s the one I was fighting with. It made sense that I’d get angry with him.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I’ve read through Ephesians 6 many times over the course of my life. I’ve seen that verse every time, but one day it popped out to me as I was thinking about my husband. It was as if God opened my heart to relate it to my marriage.
The rest of Ephesians 6 goes on to talk about putting on our full armor so that we can stand up against the devil’s attacks.
When I understood for myself that my husband was not the enemy, it changed the way I prayed for my marriage. It also changed the way I responded to my husband. I worked hard to keep my frustration at a minimum and to work on my own communication skills.
Communication Needs To Be Meaningful
It didn’t take me long to realize that my husband didn’t like to be bombarded with all the tough stuff the minute he walked in the door. We had a young son, and a few other stressful situations in our lives. After being alone most of the day, I was eager to have another adult to talk with and unload my own burdens.
However, my husband wanted some down time. He just walked in after a full day at work and the last thing he wanted was more stress. We had to figure out a way to work this out between us. We wanted the time of communication, but right after work was not the right time. Nothing we said was meaningful and each of us was frustrated at the other.
We finally ended up discussing how we could communicate best. Each of us wanted to support the other, but we had to find common ground in terms of time of day and method of communication that would suit us both. Thankfully, we did not give up and came to some good conclusions. I had to understand that he couldn’t take one more issue after a long day at work, and he came to understand that I really did need the human interaction.
In order for our communication to be meaningful, we planned times in the evenings or on the weekends that we could talk at a deeper level. Those have been some of our sweetest times together!
Continue To Build The Friendship
Married life seemed different than being engaged. Our time was spent together, paying bills, cleaning the house, taking care of the yard. Our carefree date nights sort of came to a halt, and the reality of married life began to sink in. My husband changed from being the fun guy who I laughed with a lot, to being the guy who felt overwhelmed with bills and house projects and the many other wonderful things he did for us. I know I wasn’t the girl who was laughing and happy and enjoying our time together.
We realized early on that in order to still feel connected, we had to intentionally spend time together. We started to have movie nights more regularly, we read a few books together. As we intentionally looked for ways to spend time together, we found that we were drawing closer to each other.
These are just 3 ways that we worked on our marriage in our early years together. What have you found that works (or worked!) for you?