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What I’ve Learned After 18 Days of Marriage

As I’m writing this, I’ve been a married woman for 18 days, 3 hours, 29 minutes, and 28 . . . 29 . . . 30 seconds. Clearly, I am an expert.

But seriously, even though I’m almost three weeks into married life, I’ve learned a few things. So here is my very short list of things I’ve learned. This list would be longer, but in case you didn’t know, being married increases the amount of laundry by 500 percent. Since I am the designated laundry-doer in the marriage, I spend soooo much more time sorting, folding and putting away laundry. Consider yourself warned!

1. In sickness and in health might come sooner than you think.

That line in the marriage vows made me think about when we’re elderly and one of us breaks a hip or requires a scooter at the grocery store. But it actually came the day we got back from our honeymoon in the form of a fever for my husband.

I spent the first week of married life post-honeymoon nursing a sick husband. Just when he started feeling better, I came down with it, despite our best attempts at germ control. Marriage is a lot less romantic when you are experiencing The Great Illness of 2015 and tell your spouse on multiple occasions during a fever-induced episode, “I am so sick I want to die!”

Marriage means sharing everything, including flu-like symptoms. Look at it as a chance to serve your spouse even when he cannot give you anything but his sick germs in return.

2. Hold loosely to newlywed expectations.

Because of our weeks of sickness, the beginning of our marriage looked absolutely nothing like I anticipated: goodnight kisses, sharing about our day over a home-cooked meal, reading Scripture over morning cups of coffee (made using the coffee bean grinder, new latte mugs, and French press off our wedding registry, of course!).

Instead, it was sleeping as far apart as we could so we wouldn’t breathe on each other, mumbled prayers before bed as the Nyquil took effect, and eating leftovers for the third day in a row because neither has the energy to cook. Nothing about it was blissful or romantic, like I was expecting.

But you know what? It was still awesome because I got to suffer with the person I love the most. We each saw a different side of the other when we were weak and vulnerable or while nursing the sick one back to health. I’m actually thankful for the way we were smacked with the reality of real life early on. Lord willing, we have decades of goodnight kisses and millions of opportunities to share meals we cooked together.

3. Invest in lots of thank you cards and a return address stamp.

The funny thing about getting married is that people give you things. Lots of things. From gifts at wedding showers, to offering to help pick up out-of-town guests from the airport, to cards of congratulations, people love to celebrate love. It’s overwhelming and humbling, but something to be hugely thankful for.

Remember your etiquette, and send a thank you card that is personal and sincere. Keep a list if you don’t send it right away so that you don’t forget anyone.

I’ll be “live blogging” more about what I’m learning as a 30-something newlywed. Even with all the sickness, I can say that marriage is so worth it! But for now I have to take my next dose of Sudafed and hope I stop sounding like a smoky lounge singer before my presentation at work tomorrow. Pray for Tyler as he continues to nurse his sick wife!

Photo by Sonya Wittleder

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