For National Marriage Week, we asked ministry leaders and married couples, “What is one important thing couples need to know in their first year of marriage?”
Here are some of our favorite replies:
One thing Mike and I have learned is that communication is key. Whether that’s communicating your goals, your feelings, your likes and your dislikes, it is so important. An open and honest line of communication prevents any misunderstandings and assumptions. You always hear “communication is key”, but there truly is a lot of truth to that.
We have also learned how important it is to be on the same page when it comes to decision-making. We aren’t always, but anytime that we aren’t, we’re able to compromise.
And lastly, but maybe most importantly, we pray. We pray together and on our own time. Our spiritual journey as a unit gets stronger and stronger. We remind ourselves that God won’t do the work for us. Mike and I have to do the work in our marriage and ask for help when we need it – and God hears us. He has helped us more times than I can count. Talking to Him has brought a lot of peace in our relationship.
Those three things have made our marriage very strong. We are going on three years of marriage and have already overcome a lot of obstacles. Through all of those obstacles, nothing about our love for each other has changed. We never place blame, we never distance, and we always say “I love you”.
Sydney and Mike – Married 2+ years – Pittsburgh, PA
Develop a habit of mutual prayer.
Retired Priest – Anonymous
Be intentional. Choose love every day. Be active in communicating, regrouping, and continuing to know and respond to each other more effectively every day. Care for your marriage like you care for any living thing….attend to its needs, feed it, love it, and above all spend time on it.
Dianne Vadney – Family Ministry Coordinator – Manitowoc WI
You are never alone, as a person, as a couple. Christ is always there, along with other Sacramental Married Couples.
From: Dcn. Adrian Jimenez – Director of Marriage and Family Life – Lubbock Diocese
You must always have love, respect, and a sense of humor in your marriage, but not necessarily in that order! Sometimes having that sense of humor, learning to laugh together, is just as important. Having all three (love, respect, humor) can make for many happy memories in the years to come.
Barbara & Jim McAloon – Pre-Cana Hosts – Washington, NJ
Learn to accept his/her whole being including his/her whole family. Always ask guidance to our Loving Almighty God the Father in everything you do. Make “God ” the center of your married life. Understand each other’s weaknesses, and praise all beautiful things he/she makes.
Lorna & Brian – Married 17 years – City of SJDM
Remember your vows, always give more than you take, always say I love you and mean it. Life can change in a split second, and forever never feels like long enough when you love someon. Take the good days with the bad days because many more of both are to come!!! COMMUNICATE!!!! LISTEN!!! Don’t lose yourself, but remember to grow with your partner too!!!
Jamie and Zatch – Married 1 year – Bluffton
Manage your spending, and discuss issues or concerns quickly not allowing it to pile up.
Blessing & Larry – Married 2 Years – Chicago
When you get stuck, ask for help when you need it. It’s a strength to ask for help, not a weakness. Start by asking God to bring you the best people to help you with your marriage.
Sharon Witzell – Program Coordinator, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Wichita, Kansas
Please be careful when buying a TV. TVs can be super addictive, and please never put a TV in the bedroom. The bedroom is your holiest place in the house; please keep it sacred.
From: Alex and Kristene – Married 1 year – Toronto, Canada
Good question: What’s one important thing couples need to know in their first year of marriage?
- Remember to pray, pray, pray together (each day…) and listen to each other “with heart”…
- Remember to “see” the other in charity (with love) – In other words, recognize the ‘image of God’ in their beloved (especially in facing trials and difficult moments). We are longing to be seen with ‘eyes of love’ (as God sees each one of us…)
- Always affirm one another. Remembering these simple words “You are worth much!” (When we begin a conversation with an affirmation or a little ‘thanksgiving prayer’, it paves the way for a healthy conversation when disagreements rise in the day-to-day living. We are imperfect and make mistakes. Learning to walk with each other “in good times and in not-so-good times.”
I offer a little prayer that my beloved (husband) Tony and I pray each day:
Prayer of Spouses for Each Other
Lord Jesus, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other.
Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust.
Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony.
May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths.
Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness,
And the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self.
May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year.
Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other.
Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.
Mrs. Socorro Truchan – Diocese of Kalamazoo – CFLA
This exciting time of Marriage Prep is not only preparing the couple for a day or for a “picture”, it is a lifetime tool that they will be acquiring through all steps of Preparation. It’s so important that the couple realize they are trying to be equipped with valuable information that will help them through their marriage.
It’s also very important and personal experience. They need to find a group to join for example: marriage group, group of Christian families, Bible study, etc. Why? We are so busy… we as couples need to grow in our faith day by day.
Araceli Gutierrez – St. Joseph, Denver
Remember that you are both on the same team. As tense as some arguments may be, your spouse is not your enemy. Keeping this in mind can help to resolve conflicts faster and also deepen your relationship!
Deanna Johnston – Director of Family Life – Tyler, TX
That first year, patience with your spouse is a must! At least more so than usual. It’s going to be a learning experience for both of you. Patience and grace!
Azury and Armando Gutiérrez – Married 2 years – Encino, CA
Invest in your marriage — start when your love and devotion for one another are at an all-time high. Take classes to help your marriage succeed. Surround yourself with like-minded couples who believe in marriage and desire to have a strong foundation.
Above all else, realize that it is by the Grace of God that the two of you are called to a healthy marriage — and that atmosphere of grace compels you to put in the work to make your marriage extraordinary.
Gordon & Regina – 12 Years – Michigan
I think couples need to understand that there could be an adjustment period, and it can be very trying. Being from different upbringings and cultures could lead to a culture shock within the marriage. It is also important to “look for the flowers“. What that means is that each of them would have some flowers and some garbage (using the bee vs the fly). Prioritize your spouse’s good qualities over their bad when thinking of them and trying to adjust to your new dynamic.
Another important thing is to protect the image of your spouse that you project to others, especially your extended family members. Keep more in and within you than you share with others.
Know your strengths and weaknesses, and work on them individually and together.
Finally, do all that you can to build the foundations for an awesome FRIENDSHIP!!!!. Marriage needs friendship a lot more than people think.
NOTE: If they are Christian, they should try to pray together and grow their faith together.
I wish I had known all these things before I went into my marriage. We wouldn’t have struggled as much as we did, but that’s okay. We are having a much better time now and are growing stronger every day
Mike and ViVi, Years married- 3 years, Abuja, Nigeria
Be brave; resist the urge to hold back when things get hard or you learn something unexpected about your spouse. Expand your capacity for love. Forgive.
Chris & Jessie – 26 yrs – Michigan