They Do Exist.

What No One Told Me Before Marriage: 7 Truths.

Editor’s Note: Nish Weiseth has been married for just under 5 years, has a super cute son, and is one of the most beautiful women in the blogosphere. She is founder of DeeperStory, and blogs at The Outdoor Wife. You can follow her on Twitter at @theoutdoorwife. I asked if she could write on the things she wished someone had told her before her wedding day, and she sent back 7 great truths. Thank you, Nish! – Lauren

It’s been nearly five years since I donned that impeccable designer dress, my hips hugged in ivory silk taffeta. I only had those heels on for five minutes before my feet were throbbing.

The first thing I’d tell you before you get married – make sure you wear shoes comfortable enough to walk down the aisle. The blisters aren’t worth it.

I met my Erik at the altar. We recited those vows so holy, prayed and were united in the arms of a loving God. I was ready. He was ready. We were young, and everyone liked to remind us how young we really were, but we knew it was time. I knew it like I knew my own skin.

The next thing I’d tell you is… if you’re ready, get married. Don’t wait for everything to fall into place. Don’t wait for your life to be “perfect.” If you both know that you’re meant to be married (and trust me, you’ll know), do it.

We celebrated our one year anniversary at his family’s cabin in the woods.. there’s an outhouse there, and the walls between the bedrooms doesn’t quite reach the ceiling. We were sitting at the picnic table in the kitchen when I remembered the words of friends who had been long-married… “The first year is the hardest.” So for the first year, I had a hard time fully embracing the joy of marriage, because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was told for so long that I’ll probably be miserable.

I wish someone would have told me that’s a load of crap. The first year of marriage is new, fresh, transformational and exciting. It has it’s challenges, just like any new experience. But, the first year of marriage is only as hard as you allow it to be. You can’t control what happens in life, but you can control your response.

We had candles lit on that same picnic table when we celebrated our second anniversary. I’ve always loved the way my wedding ring sparkles in candlelight.

There were so many things that I imagined would change with the appearance of the wedding bands on our ring fingers, but I was shocked to discover that life was still… life. You don’t get to wear the pretty white dress to work every day. Your college debt doesn’t disappear when you get married. Your laundry doesn’t fold itself and the dishes don’t clean themselves. The steps you need to take to advance your career are still there. Life is still life.

Our third year brought challenges. The pregnancy from hell, a new baby, severe postpartum depression… so many things happened that year that brought some serious issues to the surface for me. Things that I didn’t realize I needed to deal with a long time ago.

So, you know that heavy baggage you carry around? The stuff that you shove underneath the bed so nobody sees when they show up in your life?

You might as well take it out and start sorting through that stuff now. I wish someone would have told me that the baggage doesn’t vanish with the vows. But, you don’t have to have it figured out before you’re married. God is gracious in providing people in our lives to help us sort through the hard stuff… and you will find no greater ally than your husband.

Our fourth year was spent trying to find a new normal, but realizing that we live in a constant state of transition. It was a lesson in flexibility, simplicity and refining our communication. It was a time of learning that marriage is where I feel safe, my husband can always take what I dish out, and I can be real with my emotions within the safety of my marriage.

I wish someone would have told me that conflict is okay. I wish someone would have told me that it’s okay to respond emotionally. I wish someone would have told me that being honest and real is more important than good conversation etiquette. My husband wants me, all of me, the real me… not a watered-down version, not a sugar-coated version. Anything less than the real me will never last in marriage.

And here I sit, with our fifth wedding anniversary just over a month away. I’m thinking back on the last half-decade of my life as a wife, and if there’s anything that I can share with you, it’s this:

While marriage is joyful, blissful, exciting and adventurous, those aren’t it’s only purposes. Marriage is meant to change you. To mold you. To transform you into a better version of yourself.

Marriage is one of the most powerful tools that God uses to shape us into looking more like Him.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way..

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24 Responses

  1. the tiny twig

    of course, i love your writing Nish. love. it.

    May 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  2. True, all of these things. And to them I would add one thing: no one really knows what they're doing when they get married. No one (least of all my then-23-year-old self) could understand what it would really mean to promise "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health"–and I think it's a kind of grace, a grace that gets us to that place where God can, as Nish says, "shape us into looking more like Him." Nothing has shaped me into looking like Jesus more than knowing in an intimate, daily way what it means to love someone not just through the laughter and the high times, but through the worse and the poorer and especially the sickness–but if I had known about the hospital trips and the long nights in the ER and the endless pills and the years of no answers, if I'm plain honest I'm not sure I would have been able to say those vows so easily. It would have seemed too much, too hard, especially on that beautiful day.

    All of which to say, that's why I believe that we speak our marriage vows in divine ignorance. We make promises bigger than we can understand, and then God gives us the opportunities to become what we've said we'll be, to love someone else like He loves us. Which is an incredible privilege and, in spite of all the challenges, worth it in every way.

    And also–the fact that none of us really knows what we're doing, that we're all learning as we go, means that we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves when things don't go perfectly, or when we make huge mistakes, or don't live up to Jesus' standard. That's the other side of that grace–the grace for everyday life, the grace that is sufficient for the moment and the day, that is made perfect in our weakness. One of the biggest things I've learned through marriage is that I have to be able not just to extend grace to my husband, but to accept that grace for myself.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

  3. Fer

    I am so glad to read this as I am getting married in two months. Thank you!
    May God bless you and your marriage!

    May 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm

  4. thank you for talking so honestly about your marriage. I love your advice :)

    May 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  5. i love the way this is written, how — like in life — truths are weaved in and among the experiences. and i agree: don't wait for perfect. perfect isn't going to happen. and that "first year is the hardest" mentality? i think it's as hard as a stubborn heart makes it. if you learn to let things go and to treat every hardship as a learning experience, as a way to love more, it's a fantastic year. thanks for all of these, nish. they are right on.

    May 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

  6. Lovely and delicious

    May 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

  7. As a bride-to-be, I so appreciate this post. I’m marrying my man in October, and these truths are things I’ll remember. And my shoes are pretty comfortable. ;)

    May 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  8. Gabrial

    This makes me want to cry…its amazing…..

    May 29, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  9. Pingback: Gone, but not really. | The Outdoor Wife

  10. Bonnie

    Love, understanding, patience and Love! Also trust! I truly believe that if you have all of these things? Its all good… And ALWAYS an adventure….going on 31 years and still have all of it!
    Romance too! Never let that go…. I could go on, but you know us so well… ;-)

    June 15, 2011 at 1:34 am

  11. "You might as well take it out and start sorting through that stuff now"

    Oh yes. Absolutely. Best advice ever. Wish someone had told me!

    June 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

  12. I couldn’t agree with you more! Well said! My beloved hubby and I are working on our seventh year and everyone says to watch out for the seven year itch. The shoe yawn’t dropped and with us being best friends and all, I don’t anticipate that happening. I still think the best way to have a happy marriage is to marry someone you can be be best friends with!

    June 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  13. Oh my goodness, I love this. I love this so very much. Thank you.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

  14. Leigh-Anne S. C.

    Great advice! I'm coming up on one year of marriage already, and I must say, the old saying "the first year is the hardest" (or for some people, the first couple years!) is not always true. I think it depends on how long you've dated and how many problems you worked out before you get married. For my husband and I, dating was more difficult than this first year! Maybe we just mesh really well, and we've had 2-3 serious arguments, but honestly, this has been the happiest year of my whole life and I look forward to many more to come!
    I think it is sooooo true, you can't control life, but you can control your attitude! As Children of God we need to stop living in fear and expecting the worse (I'm a pro at that!) and start living with hope and HUGE expectations… cause God will take us and help do bigger things than we ever imagined, including learning to love like He loves!

    April 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

  15. Pingback: I Really Thought The Honeymoon Phase Would Last Longer Than 2 Weeks - Good Women Project

  16. Cira Westen

    Good communication is a must to develop the healthy relationships in your married life. You should share all your problems and feelings with your partner as well listen to your partner and understand. Make some time for each other to share your emotions. Go for outing with your partner and make some romantic plans for short vacation…`^”

    Have a good one

    June 3, 2013 at 11:46 am

  17. artofbreath

    Thank you for this post! I find that it is so true, especially in my newly married life. I don't think anyone can prepare for marriage enough; at some point you just have to dive in and work through it with prayer and LOTS of breath.

    God put my marriage vows to the test immediately after we said "I do". No joke. Immediately! I have to remind myself of these vows I made to my man and to God everyday (sometimes every hour), but it is totally worth it. There is so much growing I have to do as a wife, but I would never have gotten there if I didn't get married when I did. I'm so grateful that God did what he did so that Dennis and I are together now.

    I love reading the Good Women Project. Thank you for supporting Christian women and marriages with this incredible resource.

    June 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm

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