Newlyweds, are you falling for these marriage myths?
When my husband and I were still engaged and newlywed, we loved hearing advice from couples who had been married for a while. Most everything shared with us was kind and encouraging. But after a while, I began to notice some well-intentioned words were actually a little scary.
“The first year is the hardest.”
“Happy wife, happy life. She’s always right.”
“You won’t be cooking him dinner every night forever — don’t let him get used to it now!”
“Enjoy the honeymoon. That amount of sex won’t last!”
While some were only teasing, I thought back to their words throughout our first year of marriage. When things were going well, I wondered, “Are we doing this right? I thought it was supposed to be hard?” When it had been a few days since we’d been intimate, I’d wonder, “Were they right? Is my husband going to start resenting me?”
Well-meaning comments planted small seeds of doubt when things did get tough, and my husband and I had to be intentional in rooting them out. As we celebrated our one year anniversary, it became clear the first year of marriage didn’t have to be all those scary things people said it could or should be.
Marriage Myth #1: The first year is the hardest.
Honestly, our first year of marriage wasn’t that difficult. There were challenging moments, yes, but it wasn’t hard once we made the decision to do our best to love each other like Jesus would. That means we each did our part to be humble, gentle, patient, loving, and unified (Ephesians 4:2-3).
We each had to work toward being who Jesus would have us be before an “us” that reflected Jesus could ever work. I had to develop patience; he had to develop forgiveness. I had to change the tone of my words; he had to learn to express his feelings. We made a choice to wake up each day with the intention to outserve one another, and it resulted in a year of sacrifice, humility, communication, and growth.
Marriage Myth #2: Happy wife, happy life.
Instead of empowerment, this advice gave me anxiety. I didn’t want the pressure of the happiness (or unhappiness) of my marriage and life falling solely on my shoulders. And as a wife who loves my husband deeply, I certainly felt his happiness was a necessity as well.
Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” By the same token, husbands are called to “love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28).
When both partners in the marriage are focused on following Jesus and doing what He says, submitting to one another isn’t as scary as it sounds. A husband will work to love and serve his wife, and a wife will gladly submit to her husband because she can trust her husband to be seeking Jesus’ will for their lives. When big decisions needed to be made in our first year of marriage, I appreciated my husband for valuing my input, and ultimately, I trusted his decisions because I knew he was listening to Jesus and doing what He said.
Marriage Myth #3: Don’t let him get used to it…
I show people I love them by cooking for them. So throughout our first year of marriage, I tried my best to fix a hot breakfast for my husband, pack his lunch, and prepare a home cooked dinner daily. While this is not a requirement for a happy marriage, and I did not make this happen every day, it was (and is) important to me to do these things for my husband. He, on the other hand, is wonderful at doing little chores around the house and surprising me with flowers and small tokens of his love.
Numerous people said we shouldn’t set such a high standard early in marriage because it wouldn’t last. But Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...” Taking on a posture of servanthood toward each other is a way for us to be more like Jesus, and it doesn't have to end after the first year of marriage. Finding out what best serves your partner and committing to those acts of service is an incredible way to love one another.
Marriage Myth #4: Intimacy will slow down
Sex is a gift from God given to married couples. It’s a wonderful way to experience intimacy with your spouse, but it’s not the only way.
Intimacy in marriage can be emotional, spiritual, and intellectual in addition to physical. Early on, my husband and I realized we had different expectations for what intimacy looked like in our marriage. Talking about these expectations and coming to an agreement about what is realistic and what was needed for both of us to feel fulfilled was the key to maintaining, and growing in, our intimacy.
Ultimately, marriage is about putting your spouse before yourself. Instead of trying to make your spouse who you want them to be, be the best version of yourself for your spouse. The marriage myths don’t have to be true when husband and wife fight together to sacrifice, communicate, forgive, and love like Jesus did.