(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Four Things to Decide Before You Tie The Knot
By Jacqueline Napoli
You found the perfect dress. The photographer rocks. Flowers, colors, cake…it’s all there. Even the vows are written. This wedding is going to be perfect! Congratulations! But are you thinking ahead to Day 10,000? Our culture sells us an unwritten idea that a perfect wedding predicts a happy marriage. That’s good news for the wedding industry, but it doesn’t help actual marriages a whole lot. But here are some tips that will.
Even if you divide labor on who does what, make important decisions together. Share a Google calendar. Ask each others’ opinion. Pray together for guidance. Pick a weekly time, just 15 minutes, to plan your spending and agendas. It’s critical to be on the same page, always united, always a team. You won’t always agree on everything, but you can disagree agreeably, compromise, submit to each other, and display tenderness and grace as you grow in unity.
Wherever you guys are on the maturity scale, communication will always be the key to success, and there is always room for growth. My best communication advice is to assume the best and be curious. Most likely, he is not trying to irritate you, hurt you, or be a jerk. Women confuse guys, and often he’s just flying blind, trying to be awesome, but not really knowing what you think or need. It’s your responsibility to clue him in. Nicely. If you are offended, address the words or the action, and don’t attach motives to them.
Last week I put on a new dress for a date with my husband. I asked him if he liked it and demanded he tell the truth. When he said it looked like I could jump out of a plane in it, I was a little offended. Instead of getting mad, I assumed he meant no harm (assuming the best) and decided to be curious (he’s scientific and sees the world like an engineer). “Interesting. What do you mean?” He told me that the skirt looked like it could serve as a parachute because it was billowy. He wasn’t trying to be mean. He was trying to be accurate and truthful. I chucked the dress to the Goodwill pile, put on something a little sleeker, and we had an amazing Friday night dinner. And I giggled at how his mind works. No fight, no drama, just a lovely night of conversation and food.
Kay Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa used to say she’d always have something cooking when her husband, Pastor Chuck, came home, and at the very least, she’d have onions and garlic sauteing! One day, I tried the garlic and onions thing, and my husband was elated to walk in the door and have that amazing aroma greeting him–and he said so. It was hilarious, but I’ve heard it a million times: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. As simple as it sounds, it’s true. Being a great cook is an incredible gift to give your future husband. No clue how to cook? Pick something you guys both like to eat, and either go to YouTube, or search the recipe and find the one with the most and highest reviews. Put the word “easy” in front of your search. When I first started out, recipes took forever, and I’d have to shop for spices, and it was hard! But I stuck with it, and over time, I became one of those people who can improvise and not even measure. Pay your dues on this one and it will reap a lifetime of amazing meals. Plus, you save boatloads of money and it’s far healthier.
My worst moment? I used to focus on how “little” he did and how “much” I did, and cooking for him one particularly hormonal night, I hurled his burrito, plate and all, on the floor. No brownie points for that one. I have learned that whatever I do, I offer it as an act of worship to God, with thanks for the ability to do it, and the house, tools, and money to do so. I focus on the sacrifices my husband makes, and not my own. Don’t get robbed with a martyr complex.
What matters above all is doing every little thing in love.