My beautiful brides. I’ve watched several of you get married over the last few years, and while I’m always trying to iron out the wrinkles on your journey to a bride-to-be, I’ve felt many of us are left unprepared for the journey to a wife-to-be. This one is for all the future wives.
Dear Newlywed Bride,
You’re about to embark upon one of the best journeys life has to offer. Marriage. It’s such a small word, but has the most significant impact. It’s a delirious journey, where your happiness will know no bounds – you’re finally together forever. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing each morning will begin with the face of the person you love most in the world, and that the warm snuggle at night before you fall asleep will be in their arms.
You’re going to set up your home together, but while choosing your furniture and matching curtains, don’t forget to remember that you are, in fact, building a life together. Build new rules, keep some old ones. You’re free to do as you wish with this life. But keep glancing over your shoulder and make sure you’re holding hands. It may seem obvious, but when the hard days, the sad phase, the confusing moments begin to make themselves comfortable in your life – grip their hand a little harder. Make sure they’re there, and allow yourself to be gripped hard. Love is not easy, but loving hard, with all of your heart, opening up completely to another human being – letting them see you for who you truly are, and watching astonished as they accept you with all your flaws, till one day you realize you too have begun to accept them despite all the flaws you see – is the only way to love.
Over the course of my married life, I’ve picked up a few lessons along the way. While every couple will have their own personal journey, I wanted to share some that I have learnt, in the hopes that this takes you through the times you find yourself wondering what the right thing to do is.
Love hard. Be brave. Be a lion heart. Be generous. Be vulnerable. That’s the only way to love.
Prioritize your spouse. Over and above everyone else in your life. You’re going to need them, and they’re going to need you till your very last day on Earth. Let the significance of that sink in, and understand why they need to sit on top of your priority list.
Be yourself. Do the things you love. Don’t forget who you are.
Be open to change. Shed your old clothes, your old ways – when you see a new way works better.
Stay on the same team. Together is, almost always, better.
Depend on them. And let them depend on you.
Trust them. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust that your love will survive this, and many more obstacles as life goes by. Trust that they will always do what’s best for you. Trust that you’re their only love in the world. Trust their love for you.
Don’t get angry together. When one of you is hurting or angry, the other needs to find it in themselves to remain calm, to show a little compassion, to be a little extra understanding in that moment. Dig deep if you need to. When he falls, you catch him. And when you fall, he’ll catch you. It’s always a bad idea to jump off the cliff together.
Be there. Be there. Be there. I can’t express the importance of this enough. You have to be there for each other. Even when the other person is unable to express that they need you, be alert and be aware – so that they when need you, you’re able to be there for them.
Forgive. Quickly. And let it slide, sometimes. You have to believe that the other person will learn the lesson in their own time, and your holding back forgiveness will get you nowhere. Forgive, forgive, forgive. This is not the kind of relationship where you think “I’ll give you three chances, and after that – you’re out.” This is the relationship which involves an unlimited number of chances, over a life time. And as long as the crime is small in magnitude – forgive like you’re Mahatma Gandhi. Channel your inner Mother Teresa.
Make your own rules. Build new rules, keep some old ones. Do what works for you. People will give you a LOT of advice (case in point: this letter!) but you’ve got to do what works for you. Yes, there will be some trial and error. Be patient. Give yourself some time to figure it out. A year, 2 years, 10 years. You’re still learning about each other, and eventually – you’ll figure it out. From what I hear, you’ll never reach 100% understanding of each other, but that’s what so beautiful about marriage – you’ll learn to agree to disagree, you’ll love despite differences, you’ll hold hands 3 seconds after you’re done arguing.
Comparison is pointless. Every couple is different. What works for someone else might not work for you. For example, you see a married couple and observe how the husband is always buying her gifts from every trip he takes abroad. You might be tempted to think, “How come my husband doesn’t do that for me?” Maybe he’s getting her gifts to make up for all the time he spends away from her because of a hectic work schedule. You can never know the details of another relationship, and you don’t need to. Just know that every couple has their own dynamics, of what they give each other, where they sacrifice and where they take from the other. You don’t need what they have, and you don’t have to make the same sacrifices as they do – comparison is pointless.
Keep the fights clean. And the s** dirty. Something I read recently, and couldn’t agree more with!
Marriage is a wonderful, messy, beautiful journey and a hug and kiss go a long way on any day. I hope you find the strength to get through the hard spots, the support to make your every dream come true and a partnership that’s full of love, laughter and joy (even on the bad days).
Happy to hear what you’ve learnt in your first year of married life.
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