5 Lessons I Learned Early in Marriage

Posted by: Shel 8 Comments

My husband gets me. We get each other. He would never buy me anything baby blue or pastel pink to wear. I wouldn’t gift him silk pajamas. If he sees a movie before me, I ask him if I would like it – confidant that his response will serve me well. I am his personal taster when it comes to spicy foods – he counts on me to let him know if it has more heat than he would enjoy. After 35 years of marriage, we are often in sync. However – that was not always the case!

We only think we know someone when we’re dating. Sometimes we’re silly enough to think we have it mastered in the first few years of marriage. Mastery is an elusive goal – we just keep learning over the years. But some lessons are learned quicker than others. Here are 5 lessons I learned early on in my marriage:

1. If arguing about who starred in a movie (or other equally important topics) – especially if the discussion has moved  past the  bantering  stage – don’t ask a stranger in the elevator to declare who’s right. Being the one declared right will not result in victory.

2. When asked what you’d like for birthday, Christmas, or anniversary, don’t coyly say: “Nothing.” Unless, of course, that is exactly what you

This is not the actual ugly sweater I received as a surprise - but you get the idea! (courtesy of tumblr.com)
This is not the actual ugly sweater I received as a surprise – but you get the idea!
(courtesy of tumblr.com)

would like to receive.

3. When asked what you’d like for birthday, Christmas, or anniversary, don’t say: “Surprise me!” Not all surprises are good.

4. Stating with moral superiority: “God can hear what you’re saying right now, you know” will result in you hearing that phrase many, many, many times for years to come.

5. Being told: “It’s delicious!” doesn’t necessarily mean “make it again and make it often.” Sometimes it just means: “I love you and I appreciate that you tried.”

So, if you are a newlywed, hopefully I saved you some time and a not-so-good surprise. If you have been married longer, you probably have a list of your own lessons learned early in your marriage! I hope you’ll share your list with us in the comment section below.

ON ANOTHER MATTER – I know that sometimes I can be just too subtle – so if you want to know what I really think about marriage, please click here to check out my recent guest post on author Angela Ruth Strong’s blog!

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  • Sheila Stinson

    One thing we learned early on is that we must stay as a team. We had to always remember we were on the same side when dealing with any issues like families, jobs, etc. We could disagree or debate anything at home, but we wanted a unified front against the world. It is even more important now that we have small children.

    • Shel Harrington

      That is a great lesson, Sheila – an important one. My own folks felt strongly about that – heaven help the child that was told “no” and went to the other parent for a second opinion! (I’m pretty sure none of us did that more than once!) Thanks for chiming in – it’s nice to see you here!

  • Gina Kishur

    Great post as usual Shel. I especially like your statement, “Mastery is an elusive goal – we just keep learning over the years.” Life changes, people change, and just understanding that we are constantly learning (or striving to learn) more about each other, goes a long ways towards a happy marriage.

    • Shel Harrington

      And wouldn’t things be boring if they didn’t change? Every once in a while Steve or I surprise the other by eating something we never would have tried years ago or wearing something that is just not ‘us’ – it’s one of the ‘good surprises.’ The one thing he can count on never changing is my dislike for baby blue, pastel pink, and all things raisin!

  • Those lessons learned early in marriage can be valuable. One of the most important Bill and I learned: DO NOT under any circumstances attempt any home improvement/repair project together. The money spent on hiring a professional will be saved in divorce attorney fees.

  • I can’t believe you used my sweater for your “ugly sweater,” Shel! Hahahahahahaha…

    Re number 5: I learned early on to ask my guy if some new recipe I tried was a “do-again.” It’s become the long-standing barometer for whether to keep or toss the recipe.

    Loved all the lessons you learned! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      We both know you didn’t have any ugly sweaters – any sweater you had (by definition!) was cool. Which is why I wanted each one. Now some of our hairdos . . .

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