So you're a newlywed?

Welcome to the club!

Married life has been great fun and an adventure. I love that I no longer have to worry about driving home after spending a day out together with my beloved, I love that we no longer have to spend hours on the phone at night just to wish each other a good nights sleep. Now, when I turn around he is right there beside me. Now, I get to do everyday life with my best friend, the one that I made a vow to. To honour and commit to him for the rest of my life, for better or for worse until death do us part.

The engagement part of the journey is an exciting season to be in. Wedding plans, housing arrangements, marriage courses and the anticipation to begin a new life together creates an expectation to what married life will be like. However, it wasn't until I found myself in a marriage course, sitting across the table from the man that I was making a life commitment to, that the realisation of what we were actually doing began to sink in.

This was the realisation that hit me. That the bliss of the engagement season and wedding preparation is only momentary. That there will be those rough times and that this would be where we will be tested in our marriage. These are the seasons that will make you stronger and help you to build a healthy strong marriage - if you allow yourself to see it that way at the time.

Ladies, when we say 'yes' to the proposal, what we need to remember is that we are saying 'yes' to the good and the bad. That we are saying 'yes' to sticking with our spouse through the really challenging, hurtful and difficult times - for better or for worse, until death do you part. 

There will be times when we won't have enough grace to forgive in our own strength but that is why keeping Jesus in the centre of your marriage is so important. When I am at my end, my faith in Jesus and my trusting in him with my marriage, is what carries both Alby and I through.

When we no longer have the strength or the grace, then His strength and His grace will flow through us as the book of 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) says.

It is typical to look back at the situation now, through the eyes of victory, to say that this is how we overcome, but it is nothing short of the truth. God is for marriages and He wants to be included in the good, the bad and the mess of it all. A friend of mine once said, "people are messy," and ain't that the truth. When you put one messy person together with another messy person, mathematically this would equal 2 messy people i.e. a disaster! But, not when there is a third involved. A third who is perfect and never failing. 

Here are some key lessons I have learnt as a newly wed in the first year of marriage and I hope that you would take them into consideration. Think about them, if you are already married or if you hope to be married one day.

1. Our marriages will be as good as we decide it to be
2. Stick it through - We need to fight for them and fight for the potential it has to be great. 
3. We need to pray with our spouse that our marriages would be protected (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
4. Your spouse will fail you and you will also fail them. We are not perfect, only God is.
5. Pray with your spouse everyday
6. God will give you His grace and His strength when you need it. 
7. You are now one flesh. Whatever battles your spouse faces, they will be your battles too - physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. 
8. God must be first and your spouse must be second. 

We all navigate the sea of marriage differently to the next couple. What are some lessons that you have learnt? Write them down and don't be afraid to be vulnerable to those closest to you and to whom you trust. Sometimes we need other perspectives on our situations when our emotions are involved. Remember, God is for your marriage. Include him in all your challenges with your spouse. Your marriage has the potential to be great but you need to work for it.

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