4 things I wish I knew before Marriage

A picture of white shoes next to a bouquet of white roses. Over the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com

I have been married for over 12 years and there are a few things I wish I knew before marriage.

In honour of that, I am writing a series of posts about marriage.

Last week, I focused mostly on the Lessons I learned in the first year of marriage.

Today, I want to look at what happens after year one.

In this post, I will share some of the struggles we faced over the years and 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. 

A picture of white shoes next to a bouquet of white roses. Over the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com

Before I got married, most people would give general marriage advice and would give you warnings about the first year, but nobody actually told me what specific struggles they faced and how they overcame them.

So, I want to change that. 

5 things I wished I knew before Marriage

1. Hard times do come

I was told over and over that the first year of marriage was the hardest. So after having an easy first year, I was naive to think that things would only get easier.

But that’s not how things work.

Within weeks of our one year anniversary, we started being hit with some hard stuff.

It’s not that our marriage became harder, but that life started throwing things at us that we were not ready for.

It sort of felt like we were being hit over and over again for 4 years straight.

Some of the things we faced in those 4 years:

  • a miscarriage
  • Close mentor dying
  • Full-time school
  • First-time parents
  • Unemployment (2 different times)
  • Mental illness
  • Moving across the country
  • and I am sure there is more than that.

Even as I read this list, I ask myself how we lived through all that. I know there’s not much detail, but that’s for another time.

I just wish knew before marriage that we would face so many struggles. There might have been a way for me to be more prepared or not as naive as I was.

2. Enjoy today

Now that things are going better in our lives we have time to reflect on the past and just enjoy the days we have.

The past struggles have taught me that things can change at any time.

It’s not something that I fear, but something that reminds me to enjoy each day.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I wish I knew before marriage how to enjoy the moment. We spent too much time focussing on what we did not have and what I wanted. I forgot to enjoy the present and to enjoy each small moment.

3. It’s ok to ask for help

My husband was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder in the fall of 2011.

He has been dealing with anxiety since he was at least 9 but did not know what it was until 2011.

Before his diagnosis, we had no clue what was wrong.

I could tell that something was off and that he was struggling with something.

I could just not put my finger on it.

When I asked him how he was feeling or what he was feeling, he didn’t know how to tell me what was going on.

We did not have the vocabulary or the knowledge to know what was going on.

His anxiety also kept him from sharing with me what was going on.

In his anxiety, he feared that I would leave him and stop loving him if he told me what was on his mind.

During this time, I felt extremely alone.

I knew my husband was struggling but felt like telling anyone about it would be showing him in a negative light and speaking badly about him and it made me feel disloyal.

These were all lies! 

I wish I knew before marriage that I could ask for help without making my husband look bad.

Had I known what we were dealing with, I would have fund help so much earlier.

4. It’s ok to Share Your struggles

I want you to know that it’s ok to share your struggles and your pain.

We don’t have to tell everyone and we certainly don’t even have to share details.

But, we do have to learn ways to communicate with others that make us feel safe without feeling like we are throwing our spouse under the bus.

As Christians, it ok to struggle! It’s even normal.

We need to do a better job to show others that we sometimes lack faith, wisdom, patience, and love.

If this had been the Christian culture we had grown up with, we might have spent less time feeling ashamed and more time getting help.

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5. The hard times bring blessings

As much as I was not ready for the struggles, I was not ready for the blessings that would come out of it.

“And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I knew these verses and knew what they meant but had not really seen the truth of these verses for myself.

As ridiculous as those 4 years were, we would not give them back. If it was up to me, we would have skipped them completely.

But The Lord used those years. He redeemed them for good.

Not only did these times grow character in me, but also in my husband.

We both grew in our faith.

The best thing to come out of all of it was God giving us peace about us sharing our story.

We had never had real discussions about mental health before. We had no clue what it looked like. It was not until a friend (who had experienced mental health in the past) saw the signs and intervened that Greg got help.

So now, we are very open about Greg’s health, his struggle, and how God has helped us through it.

With our openness, we (mostly Greg) have been able to help and bless many others in their mental health struggle.

What advice would you give?

If I was able to go back in time, I am sure I would read this blog post and still not really be ready for what was to come.

Sometimes, no matter how many times someone tells you something, it’s not until you walk through it that you can understand.

The best thing we ever did was to pray for our marriage. If you need some guidance on what to pray for your marriage, click here to get 30 scriptures you can pray for your marriage.

In the comments below, share what marriage advice would you give to your younger self?

this image is divided into 3 frames. One on top of the other. the first frame is of a husband and wife on their wedding day, they are both smelling while flowers while facing each other. the next frame is words that say: guaranteed things you will face in marriage, the text is in pink. Below that is another picrture. That picture is of a grooms hand holding the brides hand over thei wedding bouquet.
4 things I wish I knew before Marriage

A picture of a women wearing a white dress.  Over the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com
A picture of a couple walking down the steps of a church after they got married. You can see the bottom of the womens dress and the bottom of the man's suit. Above the picture are the words: 4 things I wish I knew before marriage. At the bottom of th picture are the words: onedetermindlife.com

Author: Anne Markey

Anne is a stay at home mother of 3 who has been married for more then 10 years. She loves the Lord and is passionate about helping women learn who they are in Christ and how to live a life that glorifies Him.

49 thoughts on “4 things I wish I knew before Marriage”

  1. My advise to my younger self. Hold tight enjoy the ride and girl slow down and enjoy life. I was so “busy” Or so ready for the next thing I didn’t enjoy our early years as I should have.

  2. I got married and suddenly we had six kids who didn’t know each other. I would tell myself to relax and learn how to set better boundaries.

  3. I would have to add – LAUGH together. Laugh even through the tough times, the bad times, and the hard times (because they do come along).

    AND – You can’t change him so give up (besides, it’s not your job). Love him where he is and you allow him to love you where you are.

    Congrats on 10 years!

    1. I love that! We have a saying: let’s bring the funny back. When hard times come, it’s hard to laugh but so healthy and freeing

  4. I would say that this post is relevant for any married couple, no matter how long they’ve been married. It reminded me of some things I need to remember and we recently celebrated our 15th anniversary! I’m learning that sharing our struggles with close friends is so, so important. I’ve only recently begun to do that and it’s freeing.

  5. Great post! Sharing without fear of judgment from your spouse is an absolute must for me, my husband is my best friend. He sees the best and worst of me and loves me inspite of it all, lol I love that you didn’t tell anyone what struggles he was having because you didn’t want anyone to think you were bad mouthing him…that shows how much you respect and love him. But I am glad that someone stepped in and guided him to the help he needed!

  6. The past year was so hard for us! But things are getting better now. I love the lesson of talking with others and sharing your struggles. We want to hid the hard times, but it’s so much better to share it.

  7. Marriage is definitely difficult, but along with the hard seasons come the awesome ones. God is with us through it all and with him we can stand strong through any storm. I have the same anxiety disorder as your husband and have found that being open about it has definitely helped. I have times that I have no anxiety and then I go through bouts of severe anxiety, but I have such a good support system because I am open about it and of course I have scripture to get me through as well. Awesome post!

  8. Marriage is hard! My husband and I have been through a lot of similar stuff. I think like you one of the best ways we found to get through it was communication. We had to ask others for help and be willing to share our feelings/pain with each other. Great post – definitely a must read for any married couple even if they have been married for a long time!

  9. Anne, this is great advice! My husband and I have a great relationship, but even after 10 years of marriage, we forget that we can’t read each other’s minds. That’s definitely a hard concept to grasp as a newlywed and going forward!

    1. So true! I think my husband has said a few times: I can’t read your mind. We need to be so clean and intentional about our words

  10. Asking for help is something I always tell people to do, especially in marriage and parenting… we often want to keep our shortcomings hidden… but often they are not short comings at all. WE were never meant to do everything on our own.

    1. So true, and yet, as Christians (myself included) we don’t talk about sin or struggles. We just cover it. I’m trying to change that by being honest about life and struggles and pain

  11. All of this advice is SO good. My hubby and I just got married two months ago and all of this will so come in handy. Even before we got married, we started experiencing some of these things as well–I quit my job and my hubby has been helping me through crazy seasons of anxiety and depression. One thing that I’ve learned is totally ask for help and never go it alone. I always chat with my friend & mentor whenever I need it, and it has helped tremendously.

  12. Such good advice and reminders for us marrieds as well! Marriage isn’t all roses and sunshine, but remembering what God does through us and in us truly helps through those rough times. And the blessings are abundantly more than we can ever expect!

  13. Such great advice. My other advice would be not to listen to the people who say “don’t go to bed angry”. Sometimes you need to rest and then wake up with a new perspective. Also, don’t compare yourself with other couples.

  14. Inspired and insightful post. You say, it is for newlyweds, but I see it as being relevant regardless of how long a couple has been married.

  15. I’m definitely pinning this to my dating board! I’m not engaged yet but there’s so much good stuff here for when that happens someday.

  16. SO much good stuff here! Being able to talk to each other about the hard stuff is so important. If I were to go back in time, I would tell myself to not sweat the small stuff. I used to get very jealous in the beginning of our relationship over really small things like my husband (then boyfriend) wanting to hang out with his friends. I realize now that my behavior was very unhealthy and led to some trials in our relationship that didn’t need to happen. Now, 8 years in, we are much more communicative about our fears and our joys! In fact, we just wrote a post together similar to this 🙂

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