Twleve years ago, at 20 years old, 12 weeks pregnant with our firstborn, and very much in love, I said ‘I do’ and married my 23-year-old husband.
The way we got to know each other as bride and groom was by being thrown into an all-consuming and crazy mix of building our first home, and becoming new parents six-months into our marriage.
It was a whirlwind. One I had no preparation for. And there were so many things I wish I’d known.
I wish I’d known how to lay down my expectations and approach marriage with curiosity and an adventurous disposition, that my expectations of myself and of my poor new husband were ridiculous as my attempts to be, do and control it all would only exhaust us both.
I wish I’d known that the times we were fighting, he wasn’t the enemy. How to take a breather until we’d both calmed down, how to pray for wisdom.
I wish I’d known that my insecurities were completely unwarranted — that he was smitten with his new wife, and thought she was just as beautiful first thing in the morning as she was on the rare occasion she changed out of her pjs and brushed her hair.
I wish I’d known about the tiny foxes that so easily spoil the vine — how not to let things like dirty glasses on the sink, clothes on the floor or text messages with one-word replies build up hurt and resentment.
I wish I’d known about the crazy cycle and how to stop it: he doesn’t feel respected and reacts without love, she feels unloved and reacts without respect — that so often this was the issue, not the often minor thing that caused our arguments.
I wish I’d known not to burden my new husband with the impossible task of making me happy. It should never have been up to him to have to even try, but I bought into the lie that he would be my saviour, my fixer, my gap-filler. I’ve learned now that it’s not his role. When I’m content on the inside, he’s free to simply love his wife and not feel out of his depths trying to fix her.
I wish I’d known that 12 years on, we’d have grown up together and that the hard stuff would make us stronger, closer and more in love than ever before.
Em is a wife, mother of three and writing is her passion. She has studied English and Journalism at university, while photography and reading are her favourite hobbies. Coffee motivates her and Jesus sustains her. Em believes there is room for everyone, and desires to see women live free and confident lives, embracing all that God has called them to be and do. Follow Em on Facebook | Instagram