Secrets of a Newlywed: A Recap of the Complete Series

It's been almost six months since I first started the Secrets of a Newlywed series here, which I kicked off on my two-year wedding anniversary. I'm aware that two years isn't that long, but it's been enough time for me to become aware of all that can impact—for better and for worse—my marriage.

Since then, me and almost a dozen other bloggers have opened up to share what some of those things are that we've learned along the way. Everything from the words we say to how we address conflict of all sorts, from learning to trust our spouses more to taking steps to make God the center of our marriage.

It's been wonderful and inspiring and humbling and convicting getting to share these stories, getting to glimpse in at the raw, gritty realities of how each of us are learning, day by day, how to nurture this relationship of ours.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to read through each of these posts as much as I have, and for old times' sake, here's a compilation of each and every post, in case you missed any the first time around.

You Did Not Marry Brad Pitt: "In the movies, Brad Pitt knows exactly what to say and what to do simply because it’s written into the script. He knows when to buy his leading lady flowers or when to take her dancing under the stars or when to just remain silent only because he’s memorized his lines. Our husbands, on the other hand, do not have a script to read from to know exactly what to do that will sweep us off our feet or exactly what to say that will melt our hearts into the carpet below. Instead, they fumble along, trying to guess about what will work. All they can do is guess…unless we decide to give them the script."

Learn to Embrace Your Differences: "I used to see those piles and cringe, wanting to stuff them into a folder or a drawer out of sight. I imagine that he wished I’d pick up a dust buster every now and then. But in those instances, we’re focusing simply on the other person’s faults and neglecting the strengths we each bring to the table. We’re zoomed in on everything that is wrong and not letting ourselves see all the things that the other person does right."

Let Your Husband Lead: "I believe that the role of a husband is to be a leader for his family, to be their shepherd guarding them in safety and guiding them to the best pasture. I believe this is the role that God has called husbands to and, in doing so, He will equip them to make the decisions necessary. However, that all comes into question when my husband has the choice to say 'No,’ when I am looking for 'Yes.’ It’s in those times that I want to grab the shepherd’s hook from his hands and tell him, 'Here, we’re going this way.’ Essentially, I can be afraid of what his decision might be."

Choosing to Forgive: "I wouldn't just have to forgive my husband once. I would have to forgive him over and over again. That was the hardest thing: Choosing to forgive. It's easy to forgive someone for not doing a chore, or forgetting an important event, but how do you forgive someone for such a betrayal?"

Learning What My Husband Really Wants: "If I got home first, my husband would walk in the door to a wife with her back to him as she worked away cutting up potatoes. As he tried to put his arms around me, I would often get annoyed with him. Couldn't he see that I was working hard to make his dinner? I didn't have time for that! Eventually, I realized that my husband didn't want to come home to a meal; he wanted to come home to a wife!"

What Can You Do for Him?: "Even if they are the smallest details that I take upon myself and even if my husband doesn’t even notice that I’m doing them for him, it still is a way for me practice learning to think of others before myself and learning to turn words into actions, let love speak loudly, live out my faith in the routine of day-to-day life."

Who's At the Center of Your Marriage: "After a year of frustration, we began questioning what was happening in our relationship. And then we both realized we were doing this marriage thing all wrong. We built our marriage on the idea that being married would lead to personal happiness, but that foundation was shaky, uneven, and breaking already under the stress of daily life. We wanted God to be the center of our marriage, but we were leading lives centered on personal pride and strung together by rings."

Two Simple Truths : "I think some of the most important things we can do when it comes to having happy marriages is to realize that "It's not all about you." And then fess' up when we-sort-of-kind-of-do still want it to be about us, at least a little."

Get Used to Saying, “I'm Sorry”: "Apologizing is one of those things that none of us at any age enjoys to do. It takes humility to say, I was wrong. It takes us being willing to think of another to say, I was wrong. It takes courage to admit, I was wrong. And yet, with that courage, humility and selflessness comes restoration..."

Make Your Marriage a Priority: "We realized that over the course of experiencing a major, life-changing event, and becoming parents, that we were completely neglecting each other. Although we had little time to spend together during that time, we weren't taking advantage of the time we did have. We weren't trying. We weren't working. We were taking the easy route. We said we were too tired to go out to a movie. Or we were too busy to have a quiet dinner alone. Each time we turned down an opportunity to spend time together, we unknowingly pushed each other further away."

Being Aware of Your Expectations: "'I don’t have any expectations,' I remember thinking. On second thought, I realized I did have one expectation: That my husband would take out the trash, a chore I looked forward to retiring when I got to wear that pretty silver ring. But to my innocent mind, I couldn’t think of anything else I expected from my husband. That’s the thing about expectations, you don’t realize you have them until it’s too late…"

Showing Respect When Asking for His Opinion: "But that situation was an epiphany to me, beyond just breakfast foods and boxed grains. I realized that if I'm going to ask him for an opinion, I must be willing to accept it. I realized what it means if I ask for his opinion and then disregard it, like it doesn't matter. Though the scenario was innocent on the surface, I now saw it in a new light, that my actions spelled out disrespect and insult."

Letting Your Husband Provide for You: "I found that after I let go of the need to be in control—be independent—be the one to make sure everything is always fine—God started teaching me about trusting not only him, but my husband. Now, it’s not that I didn’t trust my husband before. I’ve just always wanted to do it myself. And, this was the first time I was letting him do it. Letting him take care of me."

Know Thyself—And What Makes You Cranky: "There are lots of things in life that can set us off, so to speak. Things—like being hungry—that can make us crankier, meaner, snarkier than normal. For me, I’ve realized that things get ugly when I’m hungry, tired or rushed. (Don’t even think about what it’s like when I’m facing all three at once!) This really doesn't have much to do with marriage until you go back to that whole "becoming one" vow that we took and realize that when these kinds of situations come up, it's our spouses who are affected most by them."

The Truth About Struggles Having Sex: "Ultimately, our marriage is only satisfied and sustained by Him. Sex is a glue, but it's not a foundation. I learned to view myself through God's eyes. The fact of the matter was God knew what struggles we were going to face before we faced them. In His eyes, I wasn't a failure."

The Role of Being His Encourager: "When my husband and I were first married, I pondered that verse: Who is it that wears a crown? Someone of royalty. But how do you know that they’re royalty? Because they wear the crown. If they remove the crown, they look just like everyone else. The crown is what distinguishes them from all the others. And, ladies, that’s what we can be for our husbands, too. We can be what distinguishes our men from all the others that are walking down the streets everyday, going into work everyday, mowing the lawns everyday."

The Power of Our Words: "As Proverbs says, “Better to live in a wilderness than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.” There will always be things to criticize our husbands about, but likewise, there will also always be things to compliment him for. And when we choose to compliment him rather than criticize him, we can watch wonders. It’s simply a matter of changing our perspective and keeping your eyes peeled for the good rather than the bad."

Who Are You Complaining To?: "I greatly desire to keep any venting out of conversations with man. Instead, they only have room in my conversations with God. And I can tell you that it’s these conversations that I’ve come to see bear much fruit. I don’t know that any one can say the same of the other kinds of conversations. Simply because the Lord is the only one who can actually do something about these issues! "

The Beauty of Sacrifice: "I finally realized that the state of our marriage wasn't up to anyone but us. I was so busy concerning myself with myself, my needs, and my feelings that I forgot about concerning myself with my husband. So about a year ago, I tried something new..."

Learning To Trust Him...In Everything: "I didn't trust my husband to change out the lightbulb in a timely fashion. I didn't trust him with doing the laundry like he said he would. The list went on and over time, I had become resentful. That epic meltdown even lead me to rip all the pages out of my journal, where I had written about meeting my husband, falling in love, and everything about our lives up until that point. All because I didn't let myself trust my husband in the small stuff."

That Which Sanctifies Us: "Marriage has the potential to transform us into a better person, if we let it. If we’re willing to look our own sins square in the face and confront them, then we can see our hearts softened and start looking more Christ-like. On the one hand it’s the hardest thing about marriage, because it’s a process that is never without pain. But when you’re willing to walk through that pain, it also because the most beautiful as the sins and selfishness begins to be pulled away."

(To read through all the posts in this series, click here.)

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