Thursday, November 21, 2019

My (Rather Controversial) Advice for New Brides

There's lots of advice out there for newlyweds, some of which is helpful and some of which is not. A lot of it gets repeated many times. "Don't go to bed angry." "Happy wife, happy life." We've all heard these and others. I won't repeat the classic snippets of advice everyone tells new married couples, mostly because they're not always super helpful, but also because I don't need to. Yet there is some advice most people won't tell you because it's not politically correct and doesn't always produce warm fuzzies.

I give this advice specifically to women. There is advice that applies equally to both husbands and wives, and some of that is very good and necessary. For example, I recommend that both husbands and wives get in the habit of selflessly serving one another, even in the little things, and without keeping score. That applies equally both ways. But a lot of the best advice for the newly married is specific to their sex. Men and women are different. They have different strengths, different temptations, and different roles. Since I'm a woman, I speak to women. I will leave it to the men to advise their own.

So here is what I would recommend specifically to young brides. It applies to all married women, but a new marriage is a chance to start fresh and build a strong relationship from the ground up, and having a good foundation is vital. These are things that you can do to avoid some of the most common pitfalls that cause strife and unhappiness in a marriage.

Let him lead you.

Follow his lead, ladies. You will be happier. He will be happier. Everyone will be happier when you live according to the marriage roles God designed for us. Don't push for control. Step back and let your husband lead. This is a lot easier to learn if you practice it from the very beginning, when you're still in the honeymoon phase. Defer to his judgment. Don't manipulate. Just let him be the boss and look up to him. Make him your hero and follow his lead. It works out better all around.

Don't hold him hostage to your emotions.

We women tend to be emotional, but our emotions should not control us. We shouldn't make people walk on eggshells, afraid to make us upset if they tell us what we don't want to hear or do something we don't like. That is especially true when it comes to our husbands. Because they love us so much, it is easy for our husbands to avoid anything that upsets us, even if it's something that needs to be done. And it's easy to let our emotions become a tool to manipulate him into doing what we want. Don't let yourself do this. Control your emotions and don't try to punish him with your displeasure if he chooses a course of action you don't agree with. That means no sulking, no pouting, no silent treatment, no outbursts of anger, and no crying fits. Your emotions should not rule the home. It's an easy habit to get into, so make it a priority not to let it develop.

Don't argue with him. 

It takes two to argue. The cycle can stop with you. Simply don't argue with him. Arguing is the least productive way to handle a disagreement. You're going to have disagreements at some point or another in your marriage, but they don't have to be handled disagreeably. Discuss the matter calmly and without pushing for your way. Bite your tongue if you can't be kind and considerate. Make a decision together, if at all possible, but if you can't come to an agreement, let him make the final decision and support him in it. There's no reason you need to argue. Arguments are not a necessary part of marriage. I've been married almost 10 years now, and my husband and I have never had an argument. We have more productive ways of settling disagreements.

Stand by your man.

In a difficult world, you ought to be able to count on your spouse, of all people, to have your back. Be there for your husband. Be his biggest fan. Take his side against the world. Don't let in-laws or friends or kids or anyone else come between you. You're on the same team. Act like it. Every problem you face is the two of you together, working on a solution, not one of you against the other. Make that a habit from the start. Don't complain about him or air his faults to anyone (including, and especially, your mother). Don't do things behind his back. Don't compare him negatively to other men. He's your husband, and you need to be on his side.


This is by no means a comprehensive guide to a perfect marriage, but these are issues that I have seen handled poorly in many marriages, so I offer a better way. Marriage can be a wonderful oasis in a broken world where we build one another up and provide a safe haven for each other. But bad habits can destroy a relationship if we let them get established. Building a good marriage takes effort and intentionality. It doesn't happen automatically. Nobody ever drifted together. If they drift, they drift apart. So taking the time to identify good marriage habits and purposely develop them is worthwhile. May God bless your marriage.

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