My little sister is getting married this summer. The last of us six kids. My oldest sister and I will stand as maids of honor and watch her walk down the aisle to promise her life here on earth to another.
I sit here and think about that for a moment. Fifteen years of marriage later, from the day I said, "I do," I wonder...
What are the things that need to be said to her as she embarks on this new journey? What are the things I wish I would've been told or taken to heart?
The things I would tell her about entering into this covenant are the things that are still crucial in my own marriage 15 years later.
They’re nothing mind blowingly new, but just some gentle reminders of what living in understanding of and love for one another look like when two sinners are living together. When two not-perfect people commit to spending their life together. After all, Titus 2:4, instructs “older” women (that’s me! And maybe you!) to teach the younger women a few things, so…
Here are a few sprinkles of advice I’ll share that have helped me to “love (my) husband”:
1. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Love bears all things. This is a key principle I must be constantly reminded of in my own marriage. It’s not focused on self-driven actions but rather on abiding in the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. The practical translation of this advice: PRAY. A praying wife is much more life-giving to her husband then a manipulating one.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
2. Don't try to have that super deep conversation or argument late at night.
The moment my husband’s head hits the pillow is not prime time for me to share all the things, feelings and ideas that are swirling around in my head as I lie next to him. I tend to think it's perfect timing but over years of trying this I have learned—the hard way—bedtime is not the most profitable time for heart to heart conversations
3. Grow some thicker skin.
I learned this in my first year of marriage. Anytime we had a hard conversation I would cry. The issue then became about my feelings and crying rather than finishing and working through the hard conversation. I had to learn to not be so sensitive. To get some control over my emotions.
4. Be patiently willing to be quiet.
My husband is a thinker. The man can actually sit in silence thinking and sorting out deep thoughts in his head before speaking them to me. Me? I basically throw up all the things that are in my head and heart and then attempt to speak and process them all at the same time. So in a heated conversation I have had to learn to sit, which kind of kills me, and wait for my husband to form all his thoughts before he answers me. Ephesians 4:29 is a good reminder for me:
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who here."
5. Do the things that put a skip or little hum/whistle in your husband’s step.
Loving him well is serving him well. Loving him well is understanding his love language and meeting him in it. Small gestures of kindness, notes, lunches to take to work in the morning, coffee brewed when he's getting home, and of course sex. (Sorry to be so blunt ladies, but it's truth. Nothing makes your husband happier.)
So there they are. My top five tips for my little sister. What are some lessons you’d share with a new bride?