3 Things I Wish I’d Learned Before Marrying Young (Advice to a Future Young Wife)

“What advice would you give to a future young wife?” -Alyson, on Facebook

This is the only question I haven’t answered yet in my Q&A blog posts (part 1part 2, & part 3) because I thought this deserved more than a quick 1-to-2-sentence response.

I’ve written it the way I have because Alyson asked for advice specifically within the context of her being a young bride, but this advice applies to young and not-so-young women (and men!). No need to tune out if you’re not a young bride 😉

Here are 3 things I wish I’d done before marrying young.

1. Get your finances in order

Save as much money as you can, and learn how to budget. Seriously. Don’t assume your husband will take care of it. Even if he does end up being the one who handles finances, there’s no reason for you to be left in the dark!

2. Learn how to disagree healthily

For a long time, when Josh and I would argue, I’d feel so uneasy and guilty. I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure we were “okay” and I’d repress my feelings in the pursuit of “making us okay.” That didn’t work though, because those feelings would resurface, sometimes more intensely than before. Now, during disagreements, I focus on A) being completely honest (even if I can tell it’s hurting Josh’s feelings), B) striving to understand where Josh is coming from (even if it hurts my feelings), and C) (this is important!) working all the way through the issue, respectfully & honestly, together. So here’s my advice: don’t be codependent. It’s okay to ask for some time to process your feelings, but don’t ignore your problems. And finally, learn to recognize switchtracking. So many unnecessary miscommunications could easily be avoided if we would just take a step back, identify the differences in perspective, and talk all the way through both perspectives.

3. Sit down and talk about your expectations

You two ARE going to have different ideas of what marriage will look like. There’s no way to anticipate every difference in expectation, but y’all can minimize the frustrations if you take the time beforehand to share your ideas with each other. Maybe each of you can write a letter detailing what you imagine the everyday realities of your life together will be. Maybe answer a bunch of questions separately about what you think your marriage will look like, and then come together and discuss your answers. A pre-marital counselor can help you with this, too. Suggested topics:

  • the division of chores
  • how you’ll split time and holidays between your families
  • how you’ll spend birthdays
  • if/when you want kids
  • list the most-to-least important things to spend your money on after the bills are paid (vacation, home decor, video games, date nights, giving to others, fun foods, etc). You’ll probably have different priorities, and that’s ok – but it’s good to know.
  • make sure you’re on the same page about what happens when one of you wants sex but the other isn’t feeling it
  • how often you’ll each need time to yourself (with or without your friends)
  • is one of you an introvert and the other an extrovert? How will y’all handle when one of you needs space and the other needs company?
  • etc.

Honestly, the biggest and most important piece of advice I can give to young wives (and husbands!) is to keep your communication lines open. Every marriage faces its own unique difficulties, but if both of you are committed to honest & thorough communication, you’ll be equipped to face anything that comes your way 🙂

9 thoughts on “3 Things I Wish I’d Learned Before Marrying Young (Advice to a Future Young Wife)

  1. I’m getting married in a month and this is great advice!! Thankfully we’ve already done premarital counseling which covered a lot of these topics but I ALWAYS appreciate hearing it from various people’s points of view. It helps me realize that my future husband and I aren’t going to be the only couple in the world going through a certain problem, and that there ARE ways to handle them. Thanks for posting this!!

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  2. Agree! I married at 20 (he was 23) and we were married 2 months before discovering we were expecting a baby! Our little guy was planned – in a way, and he’s a huge blessing, but it definitely enhanced our need to communicate! We have had a lot of change in our relationship so far, moving interstate and away from family means we need to be even more in-tune with each other’s needs. I would recommend getting married young IF you’re both mature enough to handle it!

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  3. Thanks for sharing these thoughts Kelli, which I think are good advice for people getting married at any age.

    I can still remember a week into our marriage having the revelation that actually my life had changed – now what this other person wanted in life was JUST as important as what I wanted.

    25 years (and 4 kids) later, I still think the key factor is seeing marriage as a partnership, sometimes quite a rough one, and trying to understand where the other person is coming from can be a real help.

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  4. Saving this for later 😄. My roommate is going through the book “101 questions to ask before you get engaged” and from what I’ve seen (read: eavesdropped 😁) it’s been super helpful for them!

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  5. Great advice. 🙂 I especially liked the last paragraph. Joe and I are approaching our 10th anniversary in October, and despite all of the cliche and eyerolling that society has ascribed to communication and “talking about your feelings,” it really is so very important. And at least in our case, Joe has just as much a desire to be heard and understood as I do. Sometimes it takes us a while to arrive at this realization, but the vast majority of our misunderstandings and disagreements are a result of how differently we think.

    I’m curious to know if you and Josh have changed from your original expectations? When we went through our premarital counseling, I remember being clueless as to how to answer what certain of my expectations would be, but arriving at a logical or goal-oriented conclusion for those. As we began our life together, it became apparent that what I’d said about my expectations were way off, and we had to revisit that several times because Joe rightfully thought I expected one thing, but I’d grown to expect something entirely different. Learning how to read each other and ourselves, and how to communicate well has been a great blessing for us over our almost-ten years. If we’re ever blessed with children, I think we’ll discover just how invaluable this time has been. 🙂

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  6. Excellent. I agree so much with these. Man, I am really really descriptive when it comes to answering questions like this and I am really amazed that you did it in how you did it!!! I definitely think that you got this down! The financial thing especially. . .I don’t think I put ANY thought into that part when we were working on getting married young. We somehow thought we’d just fly into it without issue. . we learned a lot there!! haha.

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  7. I’m 19 years old and getting married in 8 days (he’s 23) 🙂 This is great advice and I’ve seen some of these things for myself already!! Especially in learning how to disagree healthily … we have disagreements just like everybody else but it took us a long time before we figured out how to really solve the problems and not just forget about them or cover them up! Thanks for this

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  8. “What will you do if we move and my parents FOLLOW US”?
    “When my parents become disabled WILL YOU TAKE THEM IN, pay for their upkeep and wash their urine-soaked sheets cheerfully”?

    These are questions that can affect your health and finances for DECADES.

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