I posted a wedding photo on what would have been our 6 year wedding anniversary this past Saturday. Folks were so sweet to express their sympathy; honestly, I wanted to respond back, “I’m really okay.” I posted that photo in honor of a great love and to give credit to the One who has bound my heart back together again.
- Your spouse is your mission field. You will never regret the time you spend serving each other. God can use you to be the best tangible expression of His unconditional love on this earth.
- Keep life simple, especially that first year. Don’t rush into dreams and plans just because “society” starts pushing you. Trust God with the pace of your marriage.
- Pursue Christ. Pursue spouse. Pray together, even when you don’t feel like it. Encourage each other with verses of Scripture. Pray for your spouse as often as you think of them.
- Study your spouse. Learn something new about them every day. Be curious about their differences and quirks. (Tony and I would pose questions more gently than “why…?” with the simple phrase, “Can you help me understand…?”)
- Keep the honeymoon going when you return to normal life. Be playful, intentionally create moments and memories. Write love notes. Do things together. Travel. Serve together. Go out on dates.
- Learn to say no, even if it’s to family. Don’t wait until you have children to start your own family holiday traditions. A husband and a wife are a family unit; carve out time for just the two of you.
- Lean into others ahead of you who have the marriage you’d like to model. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice. At the same time, find community together with like-minded couples; it normalizes marriage to know you are facing struggles and tensions like every other newly married couple.
- Make finances a joint effort. Talk about it. Make adjustments to accommodate each other’s wirings in this area (the saver and the spender). Begin to build a network of connections. (I was so grateful for Tony’s financial mentors, advisors, and team of trusted counsel. Our accountant even attended his memorial.) As much as you’ll want to resist it, create a will and put life insurance in place. See it as saying to your spouse, “I love you enough to make these plans for you.”
- In stress and disagreements, which will come, think of this question, “Is this how I want to remember this season?” Then grab each other up in your arms; it tends to diffuse the tension. (Tony was way better at this one than I was; he did this just days before he passed away. I will never forget it.)
- Savor the everyday moments. Treasure waking up together each morning and coming home to each other every night. (Out of all the amazing experiences Tony and I shared together, those two things are what I miss most.)
That’s about the best advice this widow can give any newly wed.