Here's some unsolicited marriage advice—or maybe you’d rather have a Foreman grill?
Impossible as it is for me to believe, we are counting the days to my little sister’s wedding day.
A few months ago, when my big sister senses were tingling that an engagement was imminent, I decided to send her an email full of unsolicited advice. I wanted to let her know that, although marriage is not something to rush into, it’s also not something to postpone when you’ve found someone who can be your life partner in Polka, pie baking, and prayer.
So I sent her a list of my thoughts as she and her now-fiancé discerned whether they should be married (though I am pretty sure they already knew):
- Marriage is good.
- Marriage between a man and a woman who love each other and God is even better.
- Marriage in which the husband and wife can take sudden, mostly-expense-paid trips together to Rome is the best (not that I would know).
- Engagements should be short, fun, and not entirely focused on issues such as catering, floral arrangements, and other things no one will remember after the wedding day.
- When you know you have met a person who will pull with you in the harness, and not against you, who loves God and wants to serve Him and His Church, who is open to children and family, who doesn’t play too much golf or obsess about overpriced cars, and—as a bonus—who knows when St. Francis de Sales’ feast day is, don’t waste time. Pray alone, pray together, ask others to pray, and God will show you whether marriage is the right path.
- Engagement rings are lovely, but not necessary. Never go into debt over a piece of jewelry. One day you may find yourselves saving for a home or a car or an adoption, and you will be happy not to look at your ring and wonder whether you should sell it to make those dreams a reality. If, one day down the road, your husband says he wants to buy you a more expensive ring, you will just remind him that there are so many more fruitful ways to spend money, and he’ll go back to watching a Bigfoot special on TV.
- Weddings should include our father’s punch. Alcohol is superfluous.
- The more priests concelebrating a wedding, the better—unless, I suppose, there is no room on the altar for the bride and groom.
- Natural family planning is so good for a couple’s marriage. You will truly become one, more sensitive to each other’s needs, and more appreciative of God’s extraordinary gift of life.
- There are no perfect people in this world, but two imperfect people can make a perfect marriage. That’s where God comes in.
- Ephesians 5.
- Marriage is a blessing. There are dark times. There are joyous times. There are challenges. There are celebrations. Through it all, you have someone to share in it with you. Everything is easier to bear—and to rejoice in—when you have a partner for life.
John and I are by no means experts at marriage—though we’ve always been glad we had a brief romance and short engagement. When we met, we just knew. We’ve been married only seven-and-a-half years, and it’s definitely a journey. But it’s a wonderful one, and there’s no place I’d rather be than by his side—watching and helping our two boys grow.
As I was writing, I asked my husband what advice he would offer to his sister-in-law and her future husband. He offered two tips:
- Children are not an accessory, and couples who say that having children will not ‘change’ them are naïve or deluded. Rather, children teach you that your life is not your own—and you are better for it!
- Find the natural division of labor in your marriage (she likes to cook, he likes to clean, etc.).
Thank goodness I’m married to a man who not only gives good advice, but does all the laundry and spent his weekend dealing with a plumbing problem. That’s actually a good tip, too—either marry a man whose father is a master plumber, or who knows when it’s time to call for professional help.
So, rather than giving these lovebirds a cheeseboard, fondue set, or a donation through this astonishingly tacky wedding registry, why not help me add to this list of unsolicited advice?
What would you tell a couple preparing for their wedding day four months from today?
7/10/2012 9:18:40 PM
By Rita Buettner