I am a wife now, and with that title comes instant wisdom. Yes, we have only been married eleven days. But Josh and I are mandatory-quarantining in our Toronto apartment for the next two weeks, so the forced togetherness is like a decade or so of marriage in dog years. Today I will share the most important strategies for wedded bliss, gleaned from these magical and enlightening times together.
Listening. When you get married, you will have a lot of conversations about how to arrange, decorate, and run your new household. Listen carefully to everything he says about where to store shoes and how he prefers to rinse frying pans. That way he feels heard, and then you can more thoroughly refute all his incorrect reasoning. When you demonstrate the proper method for resting the spatula on the stove, he will thank you for showing him the way.
Compromise. The two of you do a lot of things differently. Despite the inferiority of his tactics, you’ll have to make compromises—but make sure he knows just how accommodating you are. If he explains how he wants to arrange decorative pillows on the bed, make as much noise as possible when throwing the pillows so he sees your selflessness. If he wants to work from a separate room with the door shut, close it nice and loud for him so he hears you compromising. When you wash the dishes his way, leave them in a tall pile in the drying rack so he can’t miss how much hard work you are doing.
Service. Serving your spouse is one of the most important ways to keep a marriage strong. One way to serve is by cooking for him. You didn’t know it was possible to burn stew, but somehow you managed it. Still, he knows the crusty, smoking bowl of charcoal you serve him is a labor of love. You can also look for ways to help him do his tasks faster. He meticulously hang-dries his fancy garments, so you can serve him by throwing them all in the dryer to show him how easy it is and how nice and snug all his clothes fit now.
Communication. Never hide anything from your spouse, and be honest about every feeling you ever have. You should communicate your thoughts gently but firmly. “No, I don’t want to watch that survivalist show with you.” “No, you can’t buy a $1200 leather jacket just because it’s on sale for $500.” “No, we aren’t ordering another TV subscription because Alone isn’t available in Canada.”
Respect. You can respect your husband by teaching him to withstand a harsh environment. By training him up in difficult skills, you are ensuring he can weather any storm. So pull those covers all the way over to your side at night. What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger; it’s what Ephesians 5 intended.
Encouragement. Did the Proverbs 31 woman tell her husband that Uniqlo cashmere can’t protect him from a Canadian winter? Of course not! Make your husband feel strong and brave by encouraging his dreams, no matter how impractical. When he wants to build a bonfire using only damp logs and the cardboard from a Cuisinart box, let him. When he wants your dog to be his protector in the wilderness even though she’s scared of her own farts, let him. When he constructs a crossbow out of a clothes hanger and Amazon gift wrap ribbons, tell him what a man he is.
Love. You know what they say: if you love them, set them free. When your spouse wants to build a shelter in the north woods to live off the land and hunt moose, let him go. Your subpar cooking skills have prepared him for this. Wave goodbye as he sets out with only the fashionable denim shirt on his back. He knows he is supported by you, and you’ll be waiting for him when, or if, he ever comes back.
Independence. It’s important to have a life separate from that of your spouse. While he is fending for himself on the edge of civilization, decorate the house the way you wanted to in the first place. Someday when he returns from Northeast Saskatchewan clothed in elk hide, he’ll realize how much better your ideas were anyway. Boom, compromise. You’ve got this.
Laura graduated from Calvin in 2015 with a degree in art and writing. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband Josh and dog Rainy. She works as an IT support analyst and enjoys painting, rock climbing, and exploring the city.