The Surprises of Marriage

“What’s for dinner, darling?” Joshua asked a few months after we got married.

“Well,” I answered, “I was going to make lasagna but we don’t have any lettuce.”

He looked at me puzzled. “What do you need lettuce for?”

“For salad,” I answered, surprised at his puzzled expression. “We can’t have lasagna without salad!”

In the twenty-one years leading up to that day, I don’t recall ever having lasagna without salad. They go together so well and the thought of eating one without the other was like trying to imagine a PB&J without the jelly. Apparently, lasagna and salad are not generally considered as inseparable as peanut butter and jelly and we had a good laugh about it.

Marriage is full of surprises ranging from comical to devastating. Each surprise has lessons to teach.

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“How did you transition between singleness and marriage? Was it difficult? Were there some things about marriage that surprised you?” These were the questions that prompted this post.

Joshua and I had a wonderful courtship (read our story here) that helped make the transition from single life to married surprisingly easy.

Still marriage, like life, is full of surprises. Surprises about your husband, about yourself, and about the road you are now traveling together.

Many of the surprises were humorous ones that arise whenever two backgrounds or cultures meld into one: like learning that you can eat lasagna without salad.

Some of the surprises weren’t so funny.

We got pregnant less than a month after our wedding, and though thrilled about the pregnancy, my hormones had never been on a more exhausting roller-coaster. I probably cried more those first three months of pregnancy than I had in my entire life up to that point… and generally didn’t have the faintest rational reason for the tears.

Joshua was so patient and loving, but I’m sure he occasionally wondered what on earth he’d gotten himself into. I was alarmed at myself and worried that I might never again make it through an entire day without randomly bursting into tears. (Don’t worry, I have.)

Marriage is a new adventure in the journey of life. Surprises are part of any good adventure and help us learn and grow to become more Christ-like, if we let them.

In another twenty or thirty years I might be ready to start giving solid marriage advice, but looking back on the almost seven years of marriage we’ve enjoyed so far, there are a few lessons I’ve learned (or am learning) from the surprises of marriage.

Marriage brings many surprises. Many of them funny, some not so funny. But each surprise has a lesson to teach us.

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Lessons learned from the surprises of marriage

  • If you wait for your very first kiss until your wedding day, with an audience of over five hundred, and it isn’t all you’d dreamed, don’t despair. Your second kiss will be much better and your second thousandth kiss even better.
  • Be honest. Honesty requires vulnerability. Sometimes it’s much easier to say “Oh, nothing’s the matter” than to choose honesty. Choose honesty anyway. (Something I’m still working on!)
  • Honesty is great, but it’s possible to be honest and rude or whiny at the same time. That isn’t so great. Temper honesty with respectfulness and humility.
  • Rejoice in your differences. God uses our differences to help us grow.

But if there were only one thing I could encourage young brides, it would be this: make sure your expectations and trust are grounded first in Christ, not your husband.

Joshua is faithful, thoughtful, smart, and one who beautifully lives out Christ’s love toward me. I am incredibly grateful that I get to be his wife. But Joshua, like all men, is still human. So is your husband.

Our ultimate hope and trust and fulfillment don’t belong on the shoulders of a man. They belong at the foot of the cross.

Are you married? What are some lessons you’ve learned from the surprises along the way? 
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  1. says

    So true about keeping my expectations in Christ rather than in my husband.

    I got pregnant too within a month of our wedding. I felt bad for my husband because for over the first year of our marriage I was a hormonal mess with two pregnancies, one miscarriage, and postpartum.

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    Such a wise and thoughtful post! I’ve definitely experienced my own surprises in two years of marriage. 🙂 I like the last few things you said– to keep our expectations and trust founded in Christ, not our husbands. As amazing as my man is, he’s not perfect, and what’s more, I can’t expect perfection from him (just as I don’t expect it from myself!). When we realize that we’re both sinners in need of forgiveness–and that we can forgive each other because of Jesus–then our marriage will be all the stronger for it. 🙂

  3. says

    The lasagna story made me laugh. 🙂

    Tempering honesty with respectfulness is such a great point but one that is often so hard to implement. I’ve found that sometimes I have to put off talking about a subject until I’m able to talk about it lovingly and respectfully. 🙂

    • anna says

      Great point Carrie—sometimes it’s SO much better to wait to talk about something until I’m not an emotional wreck. 🙂

  4. says

    I had to smile over your lasagna story. 🙂 It seems like just a few months ago that I watched you get married. Where has the time gone?

  5. says

    Even without a pregnancy in the mix, I’ve found myself crying at the drop of a hat here in the first three months of marriage.

    The lasagna story is a great example of those mundane, but frequent realizations here in the beginning of marriage. My most recent discovery was learning how Daniel was used to doing laundry. I’d been hanging all his clothes to dry, since I knew that was what he did–but had been hanging them straight out of the washer. I learned just this last week that he was used to always drying them in the dryer for 15 minutes before hanging to get the wrinkles out. Who’d have guessed?

    Great comments on married life!


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