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3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married

I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.

Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.

This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.

This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.

However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.

According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.

Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight.

The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.

I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she's looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.

Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.

I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.

When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.

2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.

However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.

For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.

To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.

Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”

Medina's answer alludes to a surprising truth.

In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.

What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.

Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?

“Go home and love your wife.”

Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”

The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.

So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.

Top Comments

Marcus

9

Marcus commented…

Great insights Tyler! I love how you don't just share these tips, but you have actually implemented them in your marriage and life before.

Whenever I give more to my marriage, I have also received more, and it has positively affected other areas of my life.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

http://ourpeacefulfamily.com/first-year-of-marriage-advice-tips/

Ashley Crooks

1

Ashley Crooks commented…

Hi Tyler. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I thought you may want to know that the highly quoted divorce rate statistic of 50% is actually not supported by research. Shaunti Feldhahn's book "The Good News about Marriage" talks about her journey to find the truth out about that particular statistic. Thanks again for sharing your story!

194 Comments

Anna James

3

Anna James commented…

Thank you for your article! It touches my heart deeply because I have recently went through something similar case .About 3 years ago my husband left me and 2 of our kids for 3years to another woman. During this years of our separation I was so broken, so I finally went to a friend of mine who directed me to a spell caster Dr. Oduduwa (dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com) who helps me in reunite my family and then i felt peace and whole love again. 3 days After the casting of the love spell, My Ex-husband called me on phone and apologized to me. so I obeyed and we started dating and hanging out as a family with the kids again, Dr. Oduduwa has restored our marriage in a way I have NEVER expected, but I'm truly Thankful!

Contact Dr. Oduduwa today on: dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com
Best Regards,
Anna Anderson Moon
dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com

Anna James

3

Anna James commented…

Thank you for your article! It touches my heart deeply because I have recently went through something similar case .About 3 years ago my husband left me and 2 of our kids for 3years to another woman. During this years of our separation I was so broken, so I finally went to a friend of mine who directed me to a spell caster Dr. Oduduwa (dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com) who helps me in reunite my family and then i felt peace and whole love again. 3 days After the casting of the love spell, My Ex-husband called me on phone and apologized to me. so I obeyed and we started dating and hanging out as a family with the kids again, Dr. Oduduwa has restored our marriage in a way I have NEVER expected, but I'm truly Thankful!

Contact Dr. Oduduwa today on: dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com
Best Regards,
Anna Anderson Moon
dr.oduduwasamuelhightemple@gmail.com

Katherine Johnson

8

Katherine Johnson commented…

Excellent advice. After 31 years of marriage I completely agree with Tyler's points. It seems these days many give up when the tough times come, but surviving those tough times together is what lays a strong foundation for the future. I can say honestly that I love and trust my husband an order of magnitude more than on the day we married, and I thought he was pretty cool then! LOL

Paul Muller

1

Paul Muller commented…

My Name is Paul. I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our wedding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her facebook and she changed her facebook status from engage to Single…when i went to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..I lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to Germany the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday.My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my my girl friend called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 3 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume work on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit i have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with a baby boy and i have my job back too.This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him to priest_gbenga.magic_temple@priest.com, I cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay. You can also visit him on his website www.priestgbengamagicpalace.webs.com
PAUL MULLER

Jessie Lim

1

Jessie Lim commented…

If you have to dissect everything blow by blow and publicly too, you do NOT love your wife.

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