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28 years ago, Daniel and I met during winter registration our freshman year of college. This week, we’ve been reminiscing about all that’s happened since I turned around to see who was cracking such funny jokes behind me in line.
Here, in no particular order, are ten things about marriage we’d tell ourselves* if we could go back in time:
Marriage advice I’d give my 28-years-ago self:
1) Recognize that he’s not the male version of you. Daniel is a completely different person. And I do mean COMPLETELY. On matters of preference, throw out your individual “shoulds” and be open to finding 3rd alternatives.
2) Find a mentor. More like two or five or ten. You are so clueless you have no idea how much you don’t know (but are sure you do!) Friends are great, but you tend to surround yourself with people who agree with you. You need older Godly women who will challenge you and hold you accountable, or you will not grow.
3) Figure out who you are without him. Yes, I know, this sounds like heresy right now. But trust me, when Daniel has a rough year on the job, you don’t want to be sitting at home waiting for your “other half” to come home. You need to be a whole person regardless of what is (or isn’t) happening with him.
4) When the kids come along, don’t put your own dreams “on hold” until they leave home. Twenty years is too long to wait. The upbeat, creative girl Daniel fell in love with will fade away. You don’t have to dive headlong into your dreams, but you’ve got to keep them alive.
5) Take responsibility for your own needs. Figure them out and make sure they get met. Don’t expect Daniel to “automatically know” or “read your mind.” Tell him, in clear language, what you want from him. He’s a good guy who’s willing to try!
Marriage advice Daniel would give his 28-years-ago self:
1) Laugh longer. Don’t be in such a rush to get to the next thing. Linger.
2) Look more deeply. Absorb each moment.
3) Like yourself enough to say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t live in fear that your weaknesses will be found out; don’t be paralyzed by worry of being “less than.”
4) Learn to ask questions. And attend to the answers…even if you think you know them. The point of asking questions isn’t just to get to the bottom line; it’s to hear and better know the person responding to you.
5) Listen. Really listen. Not just so you can respond. Just listen to be.
Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. Some say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book was worth reading twice! Learn more HERE.
- If you could go back 28 years, what advice would you give yourself?
- What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve ever heard?
- Anything else on your heart!
* We’re well aware that this is “free advice and worth the price.” What works for one couple may not work for another. We are sharing our own experiences, not claiming to be experts.