What Advice Would YOU Give?
The following post is from a delightful young woman who is part of our online ministry team. Her name is Leah. She blogs over at www.LeahHeffner.com – you should totally subscribe to her. She used to blog in a different place, but then God led her to our team – she feels burdened for the young wives because she is one. We get this. I personally think she’s an old soul in a young woman’s body. At any rate, she is my guest today.
Enjoy…and be sure to contribute at the end – we can’t WAIT to hear from you today!
It is too old sounding to say that I’ve been learning more and more recently that life is a journey? Well it’s true.
And here I am on my journey. I have been married for three years. We dated for two years before that. To be honest, God’s grace has been present since day one, not only in our interactions, but our growth individually and as a couple. I look back over five years and cannot help but think of it as both an incredibly long and an incredibly short amount of time – both in actual time and how it feels from our growth.
In those three years of marriage, we have brought one beautiful baby girl into the world and are about to bring home a bouncing baby boy (unless of course the ultrasound tech was wrong). In college, I had a heart-letting session with God, begging him to show me what my ministry would be. And he told me that it would be being a mother. And so, my husband and decided that if God put it in our hearts to be parents, he would make us parents in his own way and in his own time. So far that has meant that over half my marriage, I have been pregnant. But this is a beautiful beyond measure gift and there’s something new every day.
When we used to sit in college and talk about the future, we were never sure what we would do, ya know, forever. It seems like so long when you’re 21 and don’t even know what the world will be like in 10 years. But we planned. And talked. And laughed. And dreamed. So far, I can’t say that we’ve hit the nail on the head in any of the plans. But I can tell you that we are learning that our journey may not look like anyone else’s – and that’s wonderful. From our finances, to our child rearing and producing, from our job situation, to our family vision – we are setting out with long term goals that seem strange in the short term. And that’s ok with us.
But how do any of those things bring me here? Well, it was on this journey that I, who love to share and help, quickly became a “go-to-gal” for my friends who got married after me. “What books should we read?” “What about the wedding night?” “How do you guys budget?” “Where did you get your centerpieces?” And so, I started passing along my knowledge, but mostly my heart for not only these subjects but for what they can do in a marriage.
I’m sure I’ve given more than my fair share of bad advice, but every time I learn something new, I share it. To the extent that the friend who was asking me all kinds of questions that I couldn’t answer? I just sent her a book recommendation – two years after her wedding. But hey, better late than never.
And on that journey of soaking up as much knowledge as I could, I stumbled upon a book. In honesty, I can’t remember what I was looking for. But it was a big step for me – looking for a marriage devotion to do *gasp* alone.
The devotion I found was The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner. It is a 40 day journey through God’s word – seeking after God’s will for marriage through the lessons we learn in scripture. A beautiful by-product of this is that it may change the way our marriages work – for the better – as we seek our fulfillment from God instead of our husbands.
I “completed” the dares for my husband as our first anniversary gift. He was truly amazed at the gesture. We were finally able to discuss the questions from the book. I could ask him if he felt respected in our marriage.
I cannot begin to go into all of the details of how this is impacting our marriage every single day. It been amazing.
Being the advice lady among my friends, I just had to share this knowledge. So I slipped it into conversations. I sent blog posts to my friends. And, wouldn’t you know, I didn’t get a single response. No one seemed interested.
When I finally plunked up some courage to ask why, the answers I got surprised me, but maybe they won’t surprise you.
-Why would I need to work on my marriage, when nothing is wrong?
-Of course I respect my husband. He’s perfect!
-Those women in marriage books – they are so [old, negative, different from me] that I can’t relate to the stories that are shared.
This got me really thinking about what us young wives are missing out on. Truth be told, we’re not taught much about respecting our husbands simply because he is our husband. When we first get married, we don’t think our husband can do anything to not earn our respect so we’re covered. We don’t think ahead to the future. And we don’t think about the big stuff we deal with each and every day, that we fight about, and that we are shaping in our current habits.
And that is where the desire in my heart started to grow. Hey ladies – young wives, young moms, engaged ladies – we are not doing ourselves any favors by waiting until we have issues to learn about marriage and God’s way of doing it. We’re not doing ourselves any favors by deciding we’ll only do a devotion if our husband does one with us or at the same time as us. And we’re not doing ourselves any favors by only getting marriage updates from the media and husband-bashing with our girlfriends.
I want you to know that I really believe that respect is like a multivitamin – it’s a way to help get our marriage in shape and stay healthy. As we work our respect muscles and strengthen them, we can be assured that we are building habits which will carry us through what we have yet to experience – financial troubles, job relocations, having children, and more. I can’t promise that these events will be less stressful, but I can say they will give you a different opportunity to grow when you flex your new muscles.
My desire in my new blog is to speak to things that are unique to us younger wives, things that are a part of our early journey through marriage. Hopefully, as we journey together from our unique vantage point, we can relate to one another in how respect is changing us in our marriages.
My story and my journey are not over. I might know parts of my route and a destination or two, but I have a long way to go. I am so looking forward to sharing my journey with you and sharing in your journey as well.
Dare you today to be a Titus 2 woman, regardless of your age. Surely you’ve learned something in the last year!
What about you? What stage of marriage are you in? What advice would YOU give young wives?
I would say one day you’ll realize that your marriage doesnt live off sex and “love” alone. And when I say love I am talking about that honeymoon love that we all get to taste and experience the first early years in our marriages.
My husband and I celebrated our 10 yr anniversary just recently! And when I married I had no idea what the heck I was doing. But it didn’t matter at first because we had the time of our lives!! We lived off sex, honeymoon love, and more sex! It’s Awesome!:)
But just like in the same way we need and have to grow in our Christian walk with God spiritually. . The time came when I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. With us. Our marriage. It seemed as if it had gotten dull. And I believe that is when I became disrespectful and all that goes along with that.:/
It wasn’t because I didn’t love my husband anymore, or because I had “fallen out of love with him”. Maybe it was because I was lonely. Now that the honeymoon stage had worn out. But little did I know..I didn’t have to end. If I had just known then that okay maybe we can’t live off sex and that honeymoon feeling forever..we can still DO it even when we don’t feel it. My husband was speaking my language but I didn’t know how to speak his. Not because I didnt want to but because I didn’t know how. So when your learning how to go beyond feelings..it’s work. But you’ll soon see that Respect to your husband equals lots of love and cherishing and yes sex and that “honeymoon” feeling..we all love.;)
I blog at songsofintimacy.wordpress.com
I am Amanda. I wrote the above comment bout honeymoon love:)
On June 22 we will be married 28 years. The advice I would give a newlywed or a bride to be…..we all change, you will wake up one day and discover that neither of you are the same person you were when you were dating and first married, that is not necessarily a bad thing, life is about changing and growing and moving forward, embrace each change as a way to discover each other over and over. Also, as family and life and responsibilities get in the way take time for each other, even if it seems like something insignificant it can mean alot to your relationship with each other. Remember those vows you took? We always seem to forget the “For better or worse” part….well, we think the “for worse” part will NEVER come for us…..it does, sometimes in small, frustrating ways, sometimes in big things like illness, infidelity, financial ruin, death and sometimes just plain stupidity…..when the “for worse” hits….hold onto the fact that you are never alone, you are loved by a Heavenly Father who will be with you and will help your relationship recover and heal and grow stronger. You can get through the “for worse” parts, just hold onto each other and your God. Above all, remember to laugh and love. You can make it through anything.
I could not agree with you more! It makes me sad when women wait to change anything until something big is wrong – why not work to change to be more like God wants you to be from the beginning? I love this as a gift for newlyweds. I think it would be a great resource for engaged ladies too, but we’ll get there.
Thanks for your comments.
I have a great marriage of 17 years (4 yrs of dating) but am always reading about ways to make it even better or to keep it from going off track… so I read this blog whenever I can. Thanks for sharing the younger couples point of view.
I don’t think as young woman we understand what respect means in God’s eyes and that is why we don’t think we would need such a book or lesson. I so wish I had wanted to learn about respect when I was younger because not only would my marriage have been better, my whole life would have improved, the most important being my children’s. When you model respect for your husband in all circumstances, you teach them about not only also respecting their parents, but their siblings, others, teachers (this day in age they get no respect) leaders or those in authority positions as God tells us to, future spouses, and also themselves. Respect is so important, is life changing and influencing. I have been married 25 years and two of my three children are grown and it is really hard to go back and teach it. If you learn respect in the beginning, then when you come to a crisis, or your spouse does something to REALLY disappoint you, and he will, you will be more prepared to do things God’s way and you will get through it much easier and quicker. I am trying to apply this concept after 27 years of being together and it is much harder with all the “water under the bridge” or hurts, disappointments, frustrations and bitterness. My advice to you young wives, do the work now as Leah suggests and you will have the great marriage you have now long into the future! xoxo
I so agree with you Heidi! Young wives, it is never too early to begin building a strong foundation for your marriage, starting with respect. I so wish I had learned this important biblical principle when I was first married. It would have saved me, my husband, and my children much grief. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband and we have been married 30 years, in spite of ME! I have worked hard these past two years to become the wife I should have been all along, and I can’t tell you what a difference it is has made in our lives. Take advantage of the wonderful books and the blogs such as these that provide guidance and support for fullfilling God’s design for marriage.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that young women miss this because sometimes we think marriage won’t be hard and sometimes we think that we know how to be respectful, and then something big happens and we don’t have the practice in place.
Please know to everyone here that starting at some point in your marriage is wonderful and difficult, but so beautiful. And you can grow as God leads and directs at any time. I really appreciate seasoned veterans saying that young wives could have a lot of value added. Please feel free to share my blog with others are you see it applicable.
I am in the middle of marriage, going on year #8. I wish I had heard of TDR 8 years ago! My marriage would have been even more amazing and we wouldn’t have hit a major disaster in year 7 that could have ended in divorce. Thankfully as you said, God has always been with us.
Not only are few of us taught about respect, society teaches us the opposite. Men are consistently devalued and dehumanized. It’s gotten into our churches even. I am 31 now so not so young anymore but I was and I can honestly say I would have benefited from TDR 11 years ago when I first met my husband and I will be benefiting from it 11 years from now. This kind of wisdom, this kind of insight is timeless.
This will be part of my newlywed gift from here on out. It’s just that important! Love your hear, Leah!
I would tell young wives to take all the advice they’ve gotten elsewhere and chuck it. Read what the bible says of God’s plan for marriage. Ask Him to show you the truth about submission in marriage and how beautifully it works to unite a couple.
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