If you are a blog reader, chances are you have seen posts from writers that they would tell their younger selves. I really enjoy reading those letters, but I debate about writing one to my younger self. Let’s face it–my younger self would just roll my eyes behind my back and try to prove myself wrong or better. None the less, I imagine that she is taking a break from writing thank you notes to read this.
Dear 22 year old bride,
Congratulations! You are married. You are a June bride. For whatever reason, that is/was a big deal. It only holds significance because you married exactly one year to the day of your first date. Your wedding is what you wanted. You and your new husband had guests come and support you. There was nothing extravagant, and that is what you wanted (and what you could afford). At the end of the day, you were married and that is what mattered.
I know you have heard that most people prepare for the wedding and not the marriage, but of course, not you. Wedding planning did not stress you out and you even did the required pre-marriage counseling. I know you did not mind going to all 4 sessions. (That did not last long either). Pre-marriage counseling, however, will not prepare you for everything that lies ahead. I don’t know if it really can for anyone. Yes, opposites attract like you and Matt, but it can be destructive if neither of you put in the hard work that is marriage.
Some advice if you don’t mind. You will need to get over yourself. Oh yes, your husband will hurt you in ways you never thought possible. You will grieve and need to make hard decisions, but you will make them. You will overcome. You will overcome the heartache that the last man on earth you thought would cause. You will however, also need to overcome pride and arrogance on a daily basis. You will need lessons in humility often and you will need to admit you are wrong. You will be a receiver of grace. You will need to give grace, but don’t think yourself better when you do. NONE OF THIS WILL COME EASY TO YOU.
Another thing. Counseling is not a failure. You will feel validated at times. At other times, you will cringe.
Oh, and by the way, you and Matt will have to undo all of the toxic crap that was put into your head about submission in marriage. It will beat you down and break your spirit, but hang on, you will find your voice that God gave you. You will have to re-think and redefine what submission is. Sure, blame the churches you were raised in and how you saw it lived out growing up, but newlywed, you and your perfect-for-you husband will go on an arduous journey that will make YOU seek the Holy Spirit and not what your minister says. Your husband will have his own journey to go on. You will have to help him on that journey. You will have to go to counseling with him. It will not be pretty. It will not be a fun adventure.
One thing I don’t want you to worry about. Right now, you have the ability to see the good in a lot of situations. You will still be able to do that. It may take more time, but you will get there. You are adaptable, and that can be a good thing and bad thing. You will brag about being flexible, but you will forget who you are because due to your flexibility, you will bend to what others want you to be. As a 35 year old, you are wondering who you are. Your husband will tell you to be yourself, but you have to work around so many people, including your husband and child (yes, you will become a mom) that you can’t seem to get back who you were. Hang in there. You will. You will get back to the woman you were–a woman who has opinions and ideas and they are not all bad.
One last thing. God will help you heal. Good will come out of this. Have faith. It really is unbelievable. I will not tell you how because you do not need to know all of the journey. You still need some excitement in your life.
You will be blessed 🙂
Your 13 year married self.
PS–Sex gets better.