We walked the aisle, said “I do,” and stuffed cake in each others faces when I was 24.
I wasn’t 25 before I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to be married.
I brought a lifetime of bad ideas and bloated expectations to this enigmatic relationship, and the deeper we got into marriage, the more ridiculous some of my most basic assumptions about it proved to be.
After slamming doors and screaming matches became regular hobbies of ours, I knew I needed to put some of these basic expectations to the test.
My personal exploration hasn’t ended—and ideally, never will. But here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way that could save newlyweds at least a few hard days.
1. Happily Ever After is a Perk—Not the Point.
Our modern obsession with being happy often makes it far easier for us to love happiness more than we ever love another human.
Our modern obsession with being happy often makes it far easier for us to love happiness more than we ever love another human. And though being happy is a very real by-product of a healthy relationship, the value we put on personal fulfillment is so inflated, it’s causing us to miss one of the more beautiful purposes of marriage.
In Hebrew, the word used for marriage actually means “Fire.” And not-so-coincidentally, fire is also the element used throughout ancient Hebrew culture to represent personal reformation. In this light, marriage, and its necessary—but often unhappy—friction, is seen less as a doorway to happily ever after and more as a tool in God’s hands to help us become increasingly beautiful—increasingly our best and brightest selves.