An Open Letter to My Newly Married Self

{By Katrina Britton}

This past year, I’ve noticed a number of articles circulating through this website and others on the age-old subject of guy/girl relationships.  In particular, the majority of these articles have been written to express various opinions on the how-to’s (and how-not-to’s) of pre-marital relationships; the concepts of courtship, dating, finding and being “the right one.”

As one who has traversed this pre-marital path, and now walked alongside my husband for two and a half years of marriage, I would like to take the opportunity to address an oft-neglected aspect of life on the other side of the wedding.

To do so, I have written a letter to my newly married self of two years ago, expressing advice that I wish I had known back at the beginning.  I know I am not alone in the challenges expressed during this time because I have spoken with other married friends and come to realize that many of us could have benefited from a letter such as this.  I write it with other, soon-to-be-newly-married brides in mind … hoping that it will bless your life and your marriage.

an open letter to my newly married self

Dear Young Bride,

 

Marriage is a precious, wonderful, delightful gift, and the man you are marrying is a truly great guy.  I know you know this.  I know you have loved every minute of your courtship and engagement, and are over-the-moon excited to become his wife.  It’s only natural!  You’re confident that this is the man God has been preparing for you, the man you’ve been praying for all these years, and you’re deeply in love with him.

I know you are well prepared to become his helper in life, the keeper of his home, and the mother of his children.  My reason for writing you today is simply to prepare you for an aspect of married life that no one has ever really told you about.  I like to call it, “The Adjustment Period.”

The honeymoon will be a time of floating on cloud nine following a lovely wedding.  It is when you will have the freedom to be together in private morning, noon, and night with no interruptions, time constraints, outside pressures, or snickering spectators.  It is when you become “one flesh” as God designed, strengthening and solidifying your union by making it beautifully physical.

The adjustment period is what comes after the honeymoon.

For some, it will last a few weeks; for others, several months perhaps.  Whatever time frame yours endures, rest assured that it, too, is a natural part of your unfolding relationship.  Most newlyweds go through it, though few speak of it.  I’m still not sure exactly why.  Maybe because everyone around them expects their first few weeks/months of married life to be pure bliss and they feel that to express anything differently would cast their marriage in a bad light or cause people to feel concern for them when none is due.  Or maybe it is because, as time goes on, they settle comfortably into their “new norm” and forget about those first few weeks.  Or maybe it is simply because, for some, this time in their married life is private and not to be divulged to those outside.

You see, during the adjustment period, you and your new husband will have much learning to do.  Sometimes it can get uncomfortable.  Sometimes it can hurt.  But trust me when I tell you that you will emerge from this period a stronger couple and better off for it.

It is like learning any new skill such as riding a bike, ballroom dancing, or playing an instrument.  There are scrapes along the way, toes stepped on, and sour notes when you intended to play beautiful ones.

Dear, excited, young bride – don’t be discouraged!  It’s okay for these things to happen.  You will grow through them.

The adjustment period is when you and your man will learn to really be husband and wife, beyond the recitation of vows, the signing of a marriage license, and the joining together of two bodies.  You will be learning how to live with each other in the same house, the same room, the same bed.

You will be learning how to sync the ebb and flow of your daily rhythms together. 

You will be setting up a home together. You will be learning to cook for your man and figure out what he does and does not like from your kitchen.  You will be learning how to please each other…sometimes through trial and error.  Throughout this process, you both will be seeing new sides to each other than you have ever had opportunity to see before, simply because you are new to this living together business.  It’s normal.  It’s natural.

And let’s not forget about hormones!  Going from being a virgin to a married woman, your hormones are in for a roller coaster ride.  And when you get pregnant, those hormones will go through some more transformations.  Get ready for a lot of emotional ups and downs as a result!

Through all these major changes and new experiences, you will need truckloads of grace, patience, and unconditional love for one another.  Feelings will get hurt, often unintentionally.  Annoyances may pop up unexpectedly.  Tears might be shed … even though you are not one who is prone to crying.  It’s okay.  Breathe.

As you prepare yourself for this learning curve in your new life together, my best piece of advice is to let go of all expectations and to be thankful in every little way you can for this man you have chosen to marry. It has often been said that expectations kill relationships. There is so much truth to this statement!  If you are entering marriage expecting that everything will be as it was when you were courting/dating, you will be disappointed.

There is a big difference between being boyfriend and girlfriend and being husband and wife. Both seasons have their beauty.

Let go of the expectation that he will bring you flowers or write you love letters all the time.  Let go of the expectation that he will like everything you cook.  Let go of the expectation that he will be super impressed with how you organized the bookshelves while he was at work…when chances are, he may suggest a different way to categorize your expansive library when he gets home.  Let go of the expectation that he will automatically know when he’s hurt your feelings and apologize.  Let go of the expectation that he will take out the trash when you think he should.

Let it all go.

That way, when things like flowers, compliments, household help, and voluntary apologies do happen, you will be surprised, delighted, and appreciative.

In the meantime, cultivate a grateful heart that chooses to give thanks in all things, especially the little things.  When the hurts and annoyances do occur, communicate about them gently if necessary.  These conversations will be much better received by your husband than if they are shared by a wife whom he feels he can not please.  Your exercise in thankfulness will lend itself to a contagious joy!

Lastly, rest assured that this adjustment period will take a little time as you settle into life  together, but it will not last forever.  As I said before, you will emerge from it a stronger couple with your own inside jokes, smiles for each others’ quirks, special memories, and  a new depth to your relationship as you move forward in joyful unity.

Dear young bride, you are going to love being married to your best friend!  I promise! :)

Sincerely,

Your Older, Wiser Self

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Comments

  1. Robin Saunders says:

    What a beautifully transparent letter, Katrina. As a young woman living in the ‘bubble’ of pastoral ministry, you continually amaze me with the grace, gratitude and joy with which you face each new stage of marriage and motherhood. I consider it a great blessing to know you! And am secretly in awe. :)

  2. Wise words, Katrina! Whether you’re 20-something or 40-something! So glad you shared this… Love & miss you! Nanette ;-)

  3. Oh, thank you Katrina. I have never read anything like this. It was so encouraging!

  4. So well written and so true!! Thank you for writing this!

  5. Thank you so much. This was just what I needed to hear. I have been married for almost three weeks now and although life is beautiful and better than I imagined, it is also hard and lonely. This was so encouraging to hear that this is normal and ok.

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