I’ve reached the age of my life where so many of my friends are getting engaged and married. I feel like I have no advice to offer them because I’ve never been in their shoes. So, I turned to the people I know who have been married for awhile and seem to be very happy with their husband. I asked six women I know what they wish they had known before getting married, and these women,coming from different backgrounds and different careers, have plentiful advice to offer to us all, whether we’re days away from our wedding or just beginning a new relationship.


How long she’s been married: 4.5 years

I wish I would’ve known how much more exciting and enjoyable every part of life is, when you’re with the right person. Even going to the grocery store or cooking dinner at night is so much more fun than it was when I was living alone, because I get to go through life with my best friend, which makes everything 1,000x better! Find someone who makes your relationship their number one priority, and be sure to do the same, and you’ll both be happy for the rest of your lives.


How long she’s been married: 2 years

I’ve been with my husband since high school. In the eight years, we’ve been together, we’ve seen each other graduate high school and college, survive and defeat two years of long distance, complete two cross-country moves, and defy the odds (and the nay-sayers) about living together, and in general, marrying your high school sweetheart. What I wish I knew before marriage isn’t the ‘typical learning to deal with finances or living together,’ although I fully agree those are hard lessons to learn; we just dealt with that when we moved in together when we were 20. No, what I wish I had known before marriage was how sacred and beautiful marriage truly is. We gave ourselves completely to Jesus about a year before we got married and in that time we’ve clung to the Bible verse Mark 10:9 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, essentially saying that what God has brought together, no man shall separate and that three strands, the wife, husband, and Jesus, cannot be broken. We’ve taken this much more seriously after having a baby. We want our children growing up knowing what a loving, Christ-centered marriage looks like. Marriage can be messy. Sometimes hurtful things can be said in the heat of the moment, dating your spouse can be placed on the back burner after kids, or life’s trials get in the way, but you have your best friend, soul mate, and love of your life beside you. That, along with a little prayer, can move mountains.


How long she’s been married: 1 year

If I had known how financially satisfying it would be I would have gotten married sooner (thank you tax reform!). But we’re 22/23 and a few months away from buying our first house, and it’s amazing. If my life falls apart, Will will always be there. He’s my rock, and he keeps me grounded. One last thing I will add, because as glorious as it all is, it’s not all perfect. I really wish I had known how much people would judge me. Being that I got married before graduating college, and one of the very few 22 year olds married living in the very young and single town of Washington DC, it happens. People have told me they judge me and have preconceived notions on who I am because I’m married. Some folks have used their jealousy to fuel vindictive agendas to tear me down. 


How long she’s been married: 3 years

I wish someone would’ve sat me down and said, “Christe, throw away the ideas you have about being the perfect wife and just focus on being the best teammate and partner for your husband. He loves you, he chose you, and that is enough.” There are so many messages coming from the media and magazine articles and even female bloggers that can be overwhelming as a brand new wife. I felt really pressured to “get it right” and be perfect at this new role I found myself in and I was thinking about it all wrong. I thought that being the perfect wife meant keeping our home immaculate, cooking every night, doing the laundry, and generally taking care of everything so that my husband would feel valued and appreciated. The irony is that Andrew could really care less about whether all the dishes were clean or if his t-shirts were folded the way he liked; all he really wanted was for me to be myself and the partner that I had always been for him. I got so bogged down in living up to those images I had in my mind that I stressed myself out and put all of my energies into those tasks instead of into enjoying life and adventures with my new husband. My advice would be to remember that your husband loves you for the woman, teammate, and best friend that you were the day he proposed, not some fictitious trophy wife image that you have in your head. The key to being the “best” wife is just being yourself, whatever that looks like. THAT is the key to a happy marriage.

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How long she’s been married: 1 year, 8 months

 What I wish I had known before I got married is how much it would change me for the better. As a military spouse, most of my marriage has required a tremendous amount of sacrifice. My husband sacrifices being with his family to serve our country, and I make sacrifices in my career so that I can have some sort of normalcy when he is home. Marriage has taught me a selflessness that I would have never been able to obtain without the love I have for this one man. I wish I would have known that I wasn’t just marrying the man I love, but I was marrying the person who would become my best friend and teammate. As we have struggled to find the right time to have a baby through relocations, a miscarriage, and now a deployment, he has held me up even through his own grief and reminded me how thankful he is for what we have and what we have to look forward to. I am so thankful to have a partner who loves me that much. Most importantly, I wish I would have known how divine marriage truly is. It’s more than a legal commitment between two people. It is a God-given gift of a lifetime of love, intimacy, partnership, and honor that I wouldn’t have ever wanted to share with another person other than the one I chose. 


How long she’s been married: 24 years

What I wish I knew before marriage is that there would come a season of my marriage that I would not know who my husband was.  Let me explain:  I got married the day after I turned 18, to the most kind-hearted, giving man.  Just like every other newlywed, my husband was my best friend and my whole world.  But, somewhere between the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, two children and all the diapers and daycare that goes with, three homes and 687 travel baseball games, that all changed.   My kind-hearted giving man and I gave everything we had to our boys and I simply did not know the man with whom I shared a home.  It was almost the end of my marriage. In the middle of living life, we were so invested in our children that we forgot to invest in us.  We loved each other, but we had a job to do.  We had become so wrapped up in our children’s schedules and interests that days would pass without a single conversation beyond the drop-off/pick-up schedule and who’s turn it was to pick up dinner.  My house ran like a well-oiled machine, but my marriage was failing. Luckily, we recognized there were issues and were committed enough to our marriage to make the effort to fix it.  Our worst fear was that when our children were no longer living in our home, we would be strangers.  I remember my husband having a very serious conversation with our boys. He told them that I was the most important thing in his life and apologized to them for not living that example.  He explained that there would be changes in our house because he was making the effort to put his marriage first.  And he did—we began with just five minutes at the end of the day talking about anything other than the mundane tasks of the day. I am happy to report, we were lucky (or determined).   That was ten years ago.   My 21 and 14-year-old young men don’t have a lot of time for Mom and Dad any longer, but my husband is still my very best friend.  I am so very thankful we took the time to get to know each other again. My best advice for newlyweds: Learn everything you can about each other.  Take the time to seriously invest in your partner.   Love your babies with everything you’ve got,  just remember not to blink because they very quickly turn into big stinky things who want money and a chauffeur, until they don’t, and that beautiful, sweet man with the smile that melts your heart will be there long after… and, I promise you, it’s worth the effort.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member