3 Tips for the New Wife

Are you a new wife who's struggling to find a good balance between running your household and growing your marriage? This post is for you! Click for 3 great tips on adjusting to your new role as a wife.

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?

 

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How to Respond when Your Husband Confesses to You

No one's perfect, but how do you respond when your husband confesses to you? Click here to find some practical tips on how to handle your husband's confession!

No one is perfect, and this is especially true in marriage. Marriage is the closest relationship you will ever have with another person. As a result, marriage reveals two people’s greatest flaws.

When you’re a wife, you experience both the greatest joys and deepest hurts that come with marriage. There will be times of laughing and times of sorrow. One example of sorrow is when your husband hurts you (and unfortunately, it will happen; remember, we’re all imperfect). Here are some practical ways to respond when your husband hurts you, and honour God in your response.

1. Don’t say anything right away.

Chances are, whatever it is your husband confesses to you is going to hurt you; maybe hurt you very deeply. You may be able to just take a breath and move on, or you may be left reeling for a couple days. No matter the gravity of your husband’s confession, give yourself a few minutes to process. Personally, I need to internally process something before I can even hope to communicate my feelings clearly in a tense situation. Take all the time you need, but even more importantly, communicate that to your husband.

2. Stay calm.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first point, but staying calm is crucial. First of all, your husband has really just stuck his neck out to confess something to you, and the last thing he needs is to be called all kinds of names or yelled at for doing something so dumb. Trust me: if he’s confessing to you, it’s because he has been convicted and knows he needs to tell you. Now is not the time to preach at him.

3. Pray.

When your husband hurts you, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is praying. Yet it is the best thing you can do. Satan is going to try and use hurts, arguments, and anger to tear your marriage apart. God created marriage, and Satan doesn’t want to see it succeed. You could be strongly tempted to completely shut down and harbour bitterness toward your husband, but you need to say “no” to the temptation. Instead, pray. Even if it’s just a “help, God.”

4. Forgive. And forgive. Then forgive again.

For the longest time, I thought forgiveness was a sweet emotion that came a couple days after someone hurt me, and then all would be right in the world again. But I quickly learned that forgiveness is a hard, often painful choice. It is not easy to forgive someone. Look at what Jesus had to go through so that the Father might be able to forgive us through Him! Yet because of His great love, Christ died for us, despite the pain. It was a hard choice for Him to make, yet out of love He chose the path of forgiveness.

You are going to have to decide to forgive your spouse when he hurts you. And then the next morning when you wake up and remember the hurt, you will have to forgive him again. Then a few days later, you’ll be walking into work and Satan will remind you of what he did, and you’ll have to forgive again. You’ll have to ask God to help you to forgive your husband over and over and over again. It will be hard. But guess what? It will slowly become less and less difficult to forgive him. When we remember how much God has forgiven in us, it becomes an easier choice to make. You do not have to feel forgiving in order to forgive.

5. Talk it out.

Before I got married, I always heard that communication is important in marriage. When I got married, I realized it wasn’t just important…it was crucial to having a God-honouring, thriving marriage.

When you’ve had a chance to calm down and think a little more clearly, listen to everything your husband has to say. Ask questions, even if you’re not sure you want to know the answers. Complete transparency is important. Then share how you’re feeling (calmly) and how this affects you. Please don’t shut down and block out the problem. Be brave and deal with it head-on, relying on God for His perfect strength.

6. Get some support.

Honestly, this is somewhat optional. Depending on what your husband confesses to you, it may be wise to seek other Christian help, such as talking through the issue with a trusted pastor or mentor. If the issue is serious, don’t try to deal with it alone! Talking to others can go a long way to bring you both closer to healing.

This is also a good idea if conversations between you and your husband aren’t going well. If you seem to flare up and speak out of anger, it is wise to have a wise Christian person “moderate” these discussions so that effective communication can happen. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help! We were all made for community, and God often works in our lives through other believers.

7. Stay on your husband’s side.

Remember, he is hurting too. It took a lot of courage for him to talk to you, especially if he knew it would hurt you. Yes, you may be hurting, but you are his wife. He needs your support, especially right now. Try to encourage him, let him know he’s forgiven, and that you’re not going anywhere. No, you don’t need to overlook the offense—it will need to be dealt with—but through that, you still love him. Satan is trying to pull you apart. If he can turn you against each other, he has won. Don’t give him that advantage. Fight for your marriage! A strong marriage is so worth it.

8. Have courage…take heart.

Sister, take heart. The Lord of Lords and eternally-loving Father is near. He hears your cries and feels your broken heart. He will never leave, nor forsake you. He is with you every step, and the struggles you’re going through right now will pass. It is in our struggles that we see His strength.

A verse that has really encouraged me is 1 Peter 5:10:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

What a wonderful promise! Paul doesn’t deny that we will struggle, but he says that there is an end to the suffering. And not only that, but God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I hope this has helped some of you. If you have any questions or comments, you can email me by going to the Ask a Question tab at the top of the page or you can leave a comment below. Blessings!

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Why Loving Ourselves isn’t the Answer

In a world that constantly encourages us, "love yourself!" it's easy to get caught up in the finding-yourself trend. But what does the Bible say about self-love? Click here to read more!

I’ve been noticing a trend on the Internet lately, even in Christian circles.

“10 ways to find yourself.”

“3 ways to learn self-love.”

“7 habits to discover who you are.”

When I see these posts on other blogs and social media, my heart aches.

You do not need to find yourself. You do not need to learn to love yourself. Oh, sister…no.

What does the Bible say about self-love?

You won’t find the words “self-love” in the Bible, but you will find the word “pride” over and over…and over again. God has a lot of not-so-nice things to say about pride. His Word says that pride is the root of all evil. Satan loved himself, and he fell “like lightning from heaven.”

To paraphrase Francis Chan (love that guy), Satan’s power is deception. His main weapon is to lie to the children of God; to twist the Truth and pull us away from Him. One of his talents is making sin look beautiful. Satan takes something that goes against God’s Word and makes it look beautiful by making it sound good or by putting good music behind it. It’s not a stretch to say that while self-love sounds so good, it’s really just pride.

I can’t find any place in the Bible that tells us to love ourselves. We are told to love God and love others, but never ourselves.

You do not need to love yourself.

Jesus died so that you did not have to love yourself. He died so that you could be loved by your Father, the God of the Universe.

If I love myself, I won’t get anywhere. As a human, I need love. But I was not designed for my own love, or any other human’s, for that matter. I was designed to be loved perfectly, by my God.

I was not created for myself, but for God. So how could I get love from myself? I won’t ever “find myself”, no matter how long I search, because I was created to be Christ. If I start to focus on loving myself, my focus is pulled from loving the Lord and the people around me, which is what I’m commanded to do.

Instead of trying to love myself out of my own human imperfection, I can accept the unconditional, ever-present, unchanging love of my Father. When I find my worth in Him, I find who I truly am.

Maybe we need to stop trying to be ourselves and start striving to be Christ—the One we have always been meant to illuminate.

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The “Perfect Guy” List: Why You Should Tear It Up

We've all created the "Perfect Guy" list at some point. But does it really do us any good? Click here to find out why I got rid of my list and how I allowed God to work in my life!

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with two of my friends about “the list”. You know, the list almost every teenage/young adult girl makes about things her future husband needs to be—tall, a solid Christian, loves kids, nice teeth, humorous, will take her out for ice cream.

My one unmarried friend asked me and my other somewhat-recently-married friend about our lists—what they were like, if we married someone with those qualities, and if we thought they were a good idea.

My answer was simple. “If I can be honest here, I think you should take your list and literally tear it up.”

Did I have a list? Yep. I made it when I was fifteen, and guess what? It was completely useless in my relationship and eventual marriage.

Are lists all bad? No, but they can have several not-so-great effects on future relationships, our future husbands, and on our own hearts.

Reason to ditch the list no. 1: You set unrealistic expectations for your future spouse.

Say you have the idea of the “perfect spouse” in your head, on your list, wherever. You have all these amazing qualities you would love to have in a guy, whether that’s “loves to cook”, “spiritually on fire”, or “has blue eyes”. You’ve now said to your future boyfriend or spouse, “This is what I expect of you, and if you can’t keep up, I see you as a failure.” Of course, you’d never actually say that, but you’re saying that he’s not good enough as he is; that you have a high standard he needs to reach in order to have your respect.

What if a guy had a list of criteria you had to meet in order for you to be marriage material? What if a guy turned you down based on the fact that you didn’t cook as good as his mom did? We’d probably call him a jerk and drop him like a hot potato. So why is it as girls we think it’s okay to do this to guys?

Even if he never finds out what you put on your list, or better yet, that you even had one, you’ve still set expectations in your own mind for what you think he should be, rather than respecting and loving him for the amazing, God-honouring guy he already is.

Reason no. 2: You limit yourself.

If you have a list, you run a very large risk of turning down a great guy because he doesn’t meet 3/17 items on your list. If you’re basing your decision on very physical attributes, you’re focusing on the wrong things. Just because a guy says that he’s not into kids now doesn’t mean that he’ll never want to start a family. And just because a guy doesn’t cook his family supper now doesn’t mean that he won’t learn and cook for you on occasion.

People grow and change. You shouldn’t drop a guy because of something he hasn’t accomplished yet or because of a skill he hasn’t become great at.

Reason no. 3: Your list actually represents your own insecurities.

If you’ve made a list, take a look at it. How many of those things are characteristics you wish you had, but don’t? I found that my list was actually a projection of what I saw lacking in my life. I had all these things I needed to fix in my own life and wanted them to be perfect in the guy I would marry.

While there isn’t anything wrong with wanting a guy to have strong character, we can come to a point where God is saying, “Hey, you need to deal with this,” and we instead turn it around and say “I need to find someone who has this figured out for the both of us.”

Go over your list and see if any of the things you’ve written down are things God is calling you to work out in your own life.

Reason no. 4: You limit God.

A little while after I wrote my first list, “What I Want in a Husband”, I wrote another list: “What God Wants for Me in a Husband.” They were a bit different. For one, God couldn’t care less if my husband had blonde hair, but He wanted to make sure he was forgiving. Another thing is that God didn’t care whether or not he was spiritually mature now, but He did want him to be growing. God’s and my opinions on my life differ from time to time…and I’ve learned that His are always right.

And to be truthful, there were so many things that God gave me in my husband that I didn’t even have a clue I needed. And, if you would have asked me, I probably would have said that I didn’t want some of those qualities—and yet, God knew I needed them, even if I didn’t want them. I am not a physically affectionate person by nature; in fact, no one in my family is. William’s love language is physical touch. Oh, boy. Turns out I’ve come to love that about him. Now, we’ll be walking to the car and it’s like, “Um, excuse me; why are you not holding my hand?” (Except I say it nicer.)

One last thing.

When I gave up my list, I was really giving my will over to God. He knows me better than I know myself; after all, He’s God. I got to a point where I didn’t want to pick my own husband—I’d probably really mess it up. When I stepped back and let God take the reins, He was able to work in my life and find a guy who’s not perfect, but who pushes me toward God and loving others.

When you trust God, He won’t fail you. He’s as interested in your love life as He is in your every-day life, work life, school life, home life. Will you trust Him in this area too?

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Is Fear Making Your Decisions for You?

We all have to make big decisions in our lives. But how are we making those decisions? Are they made in faith or fear? How do we know which decision is the right one? Read more to find out!

Have you ever been faced with a decision and wondered which path is the right one to take?

I’m sure you have. We all have. Life is based on decisions. Lots of these decisions we make automatically, barely thinking about them. This morning, you made the decision to get out of bed and start your day. Other times, we have to make really big, “life-altering” decisions—where to go to school, what job to accept, who to marry. Other decisions are critical, but we don’t put enough emphasis on them. Who will we spend our time serving? How will we treat those around us?

Recently, I was talking to a close friend of mine. She is currently working her first “real job” after graduating college, and is faced with the decision of whether or not she should continue her education.

As we talked, I shared that recently, I’ve caught myself making a lot of decisions out of fear. I choose one option just because I’m fearful of the alternative. When we’re faced with a challenge, it’s often easier to take the easy route (which may not have as many benefits) instead of the more challenging path (although it could reap a richer harvest).

How often do we pray about a big (or small) decision we have to make, only to pick the easier or less-scary one? I think if we really consider the last few significant choices we made, we will find that one—or several—of those choices was made out of fear.

But God doesn’t want us to live like that. Over and over in Scripture, we are told to “not fear” and “be not afraid”. God is not a God of fear. He is a God of love and courage and blessing. He is a brave God. And we can have that bravery.

Next time you’re wondering which path God wants you to take, consider whether or not fear is a factor. God will never use fear to guide you. He guides by love. Satan will try to steer you away from God’s will with fear. Perhaps the route you’re fearing is actually the route God wants you to take.

God will not bring you to something if it is not His will. Even though you may be fearful, He is with you. Always.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

(2 Tim. 1:7)

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