The Marriage Beyond the Wedding: 8 Tips for the Bride-to-Be
Our church is blessed to hold several weddings of members every year, and there are quite a few on the horizon in the coming months. Aren’t weddings exciting? The bride and her closest friends and family have prepped and planned for this day, choosing just the right dress, cake, and décor that will make the big day the perfect day. Sometimes the groom is involved, and sometimes he is simply told what to wear and when to show up! Either way, though, the happy couple has spent months looking forward to this day. They’ve registered for the items they’ll need in their new home, they’ve done the legal work of getting a license, and they’ve counted down the days until THE day.
And though the day of one’s wedding is certainly a magical, memorable, wonderful day, many brides, in their anticipation, fail to see that it is just one day. They fail to see beyond the wedding to the marriage. Amid all the work of preparing for the biggest day of their lives so far, they miss the fact that the wedding day is just the first day of the rest of their lives. After the excitement of the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon, marriage awaits!
My husband and I will have been married for seven years this month. Though I know that’s nothing close to the decades that our parents and grandparents have been married, I’ve learned a great deal in that amount of time! So as this year’s brides prepare not just for their weddings, but for their new roles as wives, here is a compilation of advice for them, as gathered from many wise women:
1. Seek counsel from experienced wives and mothers.
Your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, pastor’s wife, and older ladies in the church have all been through what you are getting ready to experience, and you’d benefit from the advice of one or several of what Paul called “aged women.” They’ve been wives and mothers much longer than you have, and they can help you avoid making the same mistakes they’ve made. Seek them out, get close to them, and ask them questions. They’ll be happy to share what they’ve learned with you! (Titus 2:3-5)
2. Pray for your husband constantly.
Once you are married, no matter your occupation, your life’s purpose is now to be your husband’s help meet—to complete him and help to meet his needs. And one thing that he desperately needs is your prayer. He’s new at the whole marriage thing too, so pray that the Lord would give your husband wisdom to lead your home, that the Lord would bless his work, and that he would seek God’s will for your family. (Matthew 21:22)
3. Understand the principle of submission.
The word submission is taboo in much of society today, but it’s a biblical principle that is still as true today as it was when Paul penned the Lord’s words in Ephesians: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” This doesn’t mean that the wife is the doormat the husband walks all over; it means that he is the head of the home, so it’s his job to make the decisions and set the direction. Let him. Just as there is safety for the Christian in submitting to God, there is safety for a wife in submitting to her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
4. Get your priorities straight.
After your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your husband comes before everything else. In a day when many families can’t survive off one paycheck, and in which many wives have to work a job to get by, it’s difficult to balance work and home. But the wife must realize that her home is her priority, not work. Many jobs have the potential to drain your energy and monopolize your time, but once you become a wife, your first responsibility is to your husband and home, not the job. Make your home a haven where drama from the workplace is unwelcome! (Matthew 19:4-6)
5. Don’t compare.
Comparison is the thief of joy; so don’t compare your husband to other people, or your relationship to those in romance novels and Hallmark movies. Perhaps your marriage doesn’t have a cute musical soundtrack, and you don’t go on all the adventures couples go on in the chick flicks you grew up watching. (Or maybe it does and you do—good for you!) But your husband drives you to church, he gets the door for you, he holds your hand, he puts up with all your quirks, and he’s promised to love and cherish you forever. He works hard every day to provide for you, so don’t take that love and devotion for granted. (II Corinthians 10:12)
6. Forget what the world says—marriage is not 50/50.
A marriage won’t work if both the husband and wife are thinking, “I’ll do my part if he does his part.” That’s just selfish! My husband and I have really not had many arguments, but if we ever do have a disagreement or misunderstanding, the majority of the time, it’s because of my own pride and selfishness. If I get moody or upset, it’s been because I didn’t get the time with him I wanted, or he didn’t do or say what I wanted him to. If I focus instead on what I can do for my husband—on giving my 100%, regardless of what he gives (which in our case has always been 100%, since I married the best!), many of those problems won’t even arise. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
7. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Isn’t it wonderful to see couples celebrate decades of marriage? I love to hear the stories of how God brought them together and of all He’s brought them through as they’ve served Him for a lifetime. That’s the goal for us young couples—longevity! (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
Many wives and mamas I’ve spoken with would say that this piece of advice is the most important—and sometimes the hardest to learn. You’d think it would be natural, wouldn’t you, for a woman to be able to communicate? After all, we get so much grief for how much we talk that you’d think we’d be experts! But believe it or not, our husbands don’t think like us! So here are some things to keep in mind to help you communicate with your new husband:
- Make time to communicate. Set a time every day that you and your husband talk. It’s easy to fall into the routine of getting home from work, rushing through making and eating dinner, sitting down to watch a show, then going to sleep, all without actually communicating. So make a point of having a time each day that you and your husband talk—about the little, everyday things and the big, this-will-affect-our-future things.
- Be direct. This one can be difficult because women don’t think like men, but we often try to communicate with our husbands as though they understand what we’re thinking or implying…they don’t! Passive-aggressive attempts at subtlety often backfire, so just say what you mean and mean what you say! (Amos 3:3)
I’ve been a daughter, granddaughter, sister, teacher, and friend; but my favorite title is wife. Have I mastered all the tips listed above? Not even close! I am constantly still learning. But that’s the thing about marriage: it’s for a lifetime, so I have years to work on being the help meet that the Lord created me to be for my husband. Young ladies, you’ll only be brides for a day, but you’ll be a wife forever. So while you’re planning and preparing for your wedding day, don’t forget about the marriage that’s waiting just beyond it!
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Lauren Morris, GSBC Professor
Mrs. Lauren Morris is a graduate of North Valley Baptist Schools and Golden State Baptist College. She is an integral faculty member of her college alma mater and is responsible for training the next generation in the subjects of English, education, and music. Mrs. Morris is also heavily involved in the music ministry of North Valley Baptist Church and has been faithfully serving on staff for many years.
DOLLY B. SOUTHERLAND
This article speaks to me. I’ve been divorced since 2011.
Thank you for that Mrs.Morris. There is a lot of wisdom in what you said. I know u said u wrote this for brides but i have been happily married for 21 years and gleaned much from that. It is a good reminder for all wives. Thank you again!!