As we near the end of the summer wedding season, newlyweds and weddings have been on my mind (and in my Facebook feed). The whole process of becoming engaged, planning a wedding, and barely remembering the special day because gosh, it went by way too fast, is super exciting. But once you settle into your new role as wife, it can be overwhelming. I’ve been married for almost a year (which is kinda crazy) and I’m still trying to figure out running a household with both efficiency and grace. Not an easy balance, I might add.
So for all the new wives or soon-to-be wives out there: here are some tips for finding balance with your new responsibilities!
1. Have an honest discussion with your husband about expectations.
You’ve probably heard that communication is the key to marriage. I can say with confidence that this is so true! Discussing expectations with each other is crucial to figuring out your individual responsibilities as a couple.
When William and I got married, I had never cut the grass before. I grew up with a dad and two brothers who took care of that; it was just never required of me. But William grew up in a home where his mom was usually the one cutting the grass. It seems like a minor thing, but we had to figure out our responsibilities. Who would be the one cutting the grass or doing dishes each night? Did I want his help cleaning the house? Did he expect me to help with yard work?
Talking through your expectations can help avoid a lot of needless conflict later on. If you can reach compromises before the issue even arises, you can save yourself some hurt.
2. Realize that you’re his wife, not his mom.
You’re marrying him. You are equals. You complement each other in different ways, and hopefully you’ve figured out a rough guideline for what your roles and responsibilities will be in your new home. While you’re filling your new role, recognize that replacing his mother is not part of that role.
This is mostly an attitude thing. Sure, in some ways you’ll take on some responsibilities that his mom carried in her household. Maybe you do all the housecleaning, or you cook a good meal every night. Maybe you get his lunch ready and make sure he always has a good stock of clean socks. Those are all good things, and are great ways to show him that you love him. But don’t cook just because he’s “incapable” of feeding himself. Don’t do those things because if you don’t, he won’t be able to figure it out. Don’t pick up after him constantly because he’s not responsible enough to clean up after himself.
Those are things you will do for your kids because kids often don’t know better or aren’t old enough to operate a washing machine. When you treat your husband as a kid, as someone who isn’t capable of taking care of himself so you “have to”, you’ll become resentful very quickly, and you will no longer be doing those tasks willingly and with joy. When you carry out your tasks out of love for you husband rather than obligation, you’ll have more joy in your attitude.
3. Remember you’re building a new household, not imitating your parents’.
You were raised one way, and your husband was raised another. Some couples were raised more similarly than others. It’s super important to remember that you’re taking two different ways of doing things and creating a new way. Rather than debating over who’s way is better, find a new way to do things.
This is something William and I quickly realized was important. Not long after we were married, I made a comment about how I felt like a bad wife because I didn’t have a full, home-cooked meal on the table every night. I was comparing myself to my mom, who had supper on the table every night like clockwork. William’s response was, “But your mom stayed at home when you were a kid. You’re working full time.” He was right. The other part of the equation is that a lot of the time, William isn’t home for supper. His job requires him to work late anywhere from one to three times a week. When he’s not home, it’s easier for me to just heat up leftovers. We aren’t doing things the way our parents did, but we’re doing what works for us. We aren’t here to prove who’s way is better, but to create our own way of doing things.
If you’re married, what were some things you had to adjust to in the early days of marriage?