1. Trust is a gift. In a healthy relationship, it gets easier to give as you make decisions that make the other person feel safe to invest their heart. But it will always cost you.
2. You cannot be everything your spouse needs in life. Only God can fill that role. Trying to be that for someone or asking someone to be that for you will set you both up for disappointment.
3. The person you love most will also hurt you the worst. Not intentionally. It just comes with having access to each other’s hearts.
4. Communication is hard. For everyone. Be prepared to put in the same kind of effort you would into learning a new language into figuring out how to resolve conflict, understanding the meaning beneath your spouse’s words, and helping them understand you.
5. There are no perfect people. Something your spouse does is going to bug you. You can spend all your time trying to fix them or you can celebrate their strengths, but you can’t do both.
6. You’ll find reasons to give up. What is beautiful today will become difficult tomorrow. Decide beforehand what you’re going to do when that day comes.
7. Your spouse is never going to completely understand you. To be fair, you’re never going to completely understand yourself so asking them to do it doesn’t even make sense. Set your expectations to keep learning in every season of life, both about them and yourself.
8. Two words that are sometimes more important than “I love you” are “I’m sorry.” Practice saying them until it becomes natural for them to come out of your mouth.
9. You will forgive your spouse more times than you think they deserve. Either that, or you will carry around a chip on your shoulder that will destroy your relationship from the inside out.
10. Marriage will introduce you to your worst version of yourself. If you do it right, it will also unearth the best version of yourself. But don’t be deceived, nothing reveals selfishness and pride like building a life with another person.
11. There will be a day that you look back on the emotions you felt when you first fell in love and they will seem like child’s play. As intense as things feel now, it’s only the beginning.
12. The experience of watching your spouse succeed will be unlike anything you’ve ever known. Knowing that you played a role in helping them get there will be one of the most satisfying feelings you will ever have.
13. You will see potential in your spouse that you never imagined possible. And it will be up to you whether you face the obstacles, take the risks, and sacrifice to help them realize it or bury it and take the safer road.
14. Nothing will mean more to you than what the two of you create together. A life. A home. Children. The legacy you will pass down to others. Side by side, you will do more than you ever could apart.
15. Life will get busy and it will be far too easy to take your spouse for granted. Intentionality and thoughtfulness will be required to grow in your ability to love them in every season of life.
16. It will become obvious that your words and belief carry more weight for your spouse than anyone else could even come close to. You can do great damage or create incredible momentum with that power.
17. One day, you will smile at the naivety of the lovesick couple experiencing the first rush of emotions that come with falling in love, knowing that it is nothing compared to the richness and beauty that is developed with years of time and care.
18. At some point, you will realize that sex that doesn’t cost anything (regardless of how the love songs dress it up) can never measure up to the intimacy shared between two people who’ve paid the price to love each other well. It’s like trying to compare McDonalds to a Steakhouse…it just isn't done.
19. Your spouse will spend money on things that will never make sense to you, not in a million years. Set a budget and embrace it.
20. The shared activities and interests that come naturally when you were dating will become more difficult to find. It will require sacrifice and effort to spend time doing what the other person enjoys. But without it, you will lose touch with the person you are married to.
21. Your friendships will change. The time and attention you once gave your friends will go to cultivating the relationship with your spouse. Some friends will make the jump and adjust to the new reality, some won’t.
22. The need to be vulnerable with each other will only grow, making it easy for insecurity to also flourish. In order to keep it from winning, there needs to be a much bigger source of love, confidence, and hope in your life. Namely, God.
23. Romance will not always come easy, no matter how infatuated you are with your spouse. The emotions you experience when you first fall in love have the potential of getting deeper and stronger. But only if you continue to invest in looking for and drawing out the good in each other.
24. The person you stand before God with on your wedding day and swear to love, honor, serve, and protect for the rest of your life is going to change. They will not be the same person in five, ten, fifteen, or fifty years. You’re committing to a journey of growing together, not just the version of themselves they are on the day you say, “I do.”
25. You will discover that marriage is a mystery. Two people becoming one is a reflection of the relationship God invites us into. It’s both difficult and fulfilling, painful and beautiful, sacrificial and life-giving. And you will spend the rest of your days together letting God unravel the revelation of it for you.