January 28, 2013

Marriage Advice for the Pre-Married Me: Guest Post by Jennifer K. Hale

Today I'm super blessed to host my writer friend, Jennifer Hale. I don't even remember when I first met Jen, but I just have to say...sometimes you just click with someone, you know? Of course, it helps that we're both blonde singers with a passion for writing, but still. ;) Jen has blessed me over and over again with her honest and open heart, and I know she'll bless you today.

There have been several times over the course of my adult life when I've looked back and thought, "Man, I wish I could talk to myself then to tell myself what it's going to be like now."

I'm sure you know what I mean--the idea of being able to give yourself advice in the past in order to make it easier on the journey to the present is an appealing thought. Of course, part of the "fun" of getting to the present is learning the lessons that God brings us through our trials, but still...I'd like to give my past self a little advice.

Specifically, marriage advice.

I'm lucky to be married to Super-Hubby, so I don't have much to complain about. Like all couples, we have had our rough patches in our 11 and a half years of marriage, but nothing serious. Nothing that is marriage-destroying.

Still, if I could go back in time to the day of my wedding, here's what I'd tell myself:

  1. Chill. Your personality is dominating and you've got to back off and let him be the man. There can't be two people running the show, and God designed him to be the leader of your household. Let him lead from day one.
  2. Start talking about your parenting philosophies and ideas now. Don't wait until you become a parent or you'll find little surprises that you weren't prepared for. Like his idea that his children need to be exposed to superheroes and Star Wars from the moment of birth.
  3. Don't worry about the cat. She's going to die eventually and while everyone will think you are a horrible person for not loving his cat, you'll be able to rejoice in a cat-free home before you know it. (No, I didn't kill the cat. She died of natural causes. Probably an overload of evil.)
  4. You're not just marrying him, but his entire family too. Do not do not do not do not do not do not allow issues with extended family (on both sides) to become issues in your marriage.
  5. Pray for him in specific ways throughout each and every day. Don't let one day pass that you haven't blessed the man who loves you in the name of your Savior. Lift him up so that he can fulfill each and every plan God has designed for him, including being a husband and father.
So, there's just a bit of advice I'd give myself if I could time travel back to my wedding day. And I'd probably tell myself to pack warmer clothes for the honeymoon to avoid freezing at our day in Disneyland.

Share with me: If you could go back to your wedding day, what would you tell yourself about marriage, your spouse, and creating your own family?

Jennifer K. Hale is a hopeless romantic living in a Thomas the Train world. Mom of two little boys and expecting a third, she's come to terms with watching Disney princess movies alone. She's married to a middle school teacher and was a high school history teacher herself. Jennifer suffers from a healthy chocolate addiction and she and her family make their home in Georgia. She is a writer of historical and contemporary romantic fiction for the inspirational market and you can connect with her via her blog at www.jenniferkhale.com or on Facebook.

*Hey, Lindsay here again. I'm guest posting about writer's block and brainstorming today over at The Writers Alley. I'd love for you to stop by and say hello!


  1. Oooooooo!You need to write this on the sky!!

    My MIL and FIL loved me from minute one. I knew that. Hubs sisters? If the CIA needed training in how to intimidate and crush the life out of someone just by staring at them,I've got a few phone numbers they could use.
    I think now, you know, after 24 years, they have accepted that I'm going to hang around. And yes, in case you wanted to ask, EVERY SINGLE FAMILY VACATION is with THEM.
    It's a miracle I'm not in prison for a bad attitude.
    And noooooooooo, we've never spent more than a week doing a family vaycay with MY parents. Someone didn't do so well, and it was logistically impossible.
    But it's quite gratifying when they look at you with their jaw on the floor and you say "yes, I was in a school at the end of a one lane dirt road 15,000 feet in the Andes and spoke to the kids in Spanish" and they say "I could never do that!" and you WANT to say "No kidding!!" but you don't, because you're going to be like Jesus and smile.

    Here's a few tips for the newly married couple:
    -learn a foreign language that none of your in-laws speak or remotely understand. That way, you can mutter under your breath and feel better.
    -get up and brush your teeth and suck back a VAT of Scope before your wife wakes up.
    -not everyone thinks like you do, therefore, take some mental yoga classes and learn how to stretch and flex
    -cats ARE evil
    -girls need their girlfriends (my husband is very good about this, and always has been) and guys do need a night out with their buddies
    -you are not 100% right all the time, I am, but you aren't (KIDDING!)
    -do not try to control things if you are scared, being a parent is hard, ask questions and don't drive your wife insane
    -150 pounds is not FAT, 250, maybe, but cut a curvy Irish girl some slack, your sisters are freaks, no one is that skinny!!!!
    -how did that get it there?

    Be a tree in a warm wind, learn to bend and sway and life will go much smootheryish.

    Chocolate is a food group.

    1. Lol, Jennifer! I love love love the idea of learning a foreign language together. Man, that would really have come in handy over the years! Hubby and I might need to start that now! :)

  2. I would have told myself not to pick that dress again. But seriously, I would have told us to relax more that first year and NEVER EVER EVER GET A CREDIT CARD. Dave Ramsey would be so proud of me right now. :)

    1. Oh, Dave. How he haunts me. :) But I 100% agree with you-- excellent advice on the credit card.

  3. Hahahaaa, Jennifer M.'s comment cracked me up!!!! lol Great info, ladies. I love it!!
    However, cats are NOT evil. And I'm sticking to that. Heh.

    My advice to me? Grow a backbone sooner! lol
    Learn how to ask for help.
    It's okay to say how you feel. Your husband wants and needs to know.
    Always discuss who is going to cook before you get married. ;-)

    1. I definitely agree that husbands need to know how we feel. Men are not intuitive beings by nature and more than once my husband has said to me, "just tell me what you want me to do rather than making me guess, because I'll never guess right."

  4. These are great. I would tell myself to embrace him for exactly who he is. We're very different and that's beautiful and fun and always an adventure. :) My advice for any married couple is speak kindly to each other and don't keep secrets.

    1. Secrets are deadly to a marriage, so I completely agree. My husband and I are different in many ways, too, and I think that's why we're so perfect together. We compliment each other and balance each other out.

  5. I would have loved all of those tips on my wedding day, Jennifer! Especially the one about extended family...I've also been married eleven and a half years (June 8, 2001) and in that time I've learned so much about marriage, but I know I could still use some advice for down the road. As our children grow, we're learning so many new things about each other. No doubt, when our children leave the nest, we'll have to learn many more things. :) Marriage is a living thing and as soon as we think we have it figured out, something changes or shifts. Hope all is well with your pregnancy!

    *And hi, Lindsay! :)

    1. Garbielle, you are so wise!! Marriage changes with each stage of life. I kind of like that-- it keeps me on my toes! :)

  6. LOL, I'm not married yet so this is all good to hear BEFOREHAND. :)

    1. Take notes, Melissa. Take notes. :)

    2. I agree with Melissa. :-) Thanks for the post Lindsay and Jennifer.

  7. Great advice! I would have told myself that the things that first attracted me to him will one day drive me nuts. Be prepared for the shift, but more than that, try to remember the days when you found XYZ charming! :)

    (Thank goodness I reread this before hitting send. Typo: I'd forgotten the "f" in shift! Oops!) :)

    1. LOL. This is why I love you.
      And you're right-- the things you once loved all of a sudden become annoying!! Working on that myself...

  8. Jenny, thanks so much for being my guest today!! One thing I'd tell my pre-married self is to keep my expectations realistic. No guy is going to write sweet love letters or bring home roses every day. Also, time together won't "just happen." You have to make it happen. (Busy me still struggles with that one.)

    1. So smart! We definitely have to schedule time to spend together, just the two of us. Now that little ones have come along, I've often asked him, "What did we do with all that time before we had kids?" His answer: "We went to the movies a lot." :)