5 Things that Surprised me about Marriage

Last week marked ten months of marriage, and my husband and I are eager to celebrate our one year anniversary very soon. In this relatively short time, I have come to realize that so many things I once thought about marriage are simply not true! I thought I might share some of these marriage surprises so you could commiserate – some hilarious and some not-so-funny.

Marriage Surprises | Things That Surprised Me Once I Got Married - perfect for newlyweds | graceupongracetoday.com

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Morning Breath

When I thought about all the joys of romance in marriage, sleeping in the same bed and waking up next to my sweet husband was top on my list. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to flutter my eyelids open, roll over, and peck my sweetheart on the lips? …gross. The first time I tried it, we both had such terrible morning breath that I vowed to never try that again! We still like to cuddle some mornings when have time, but definitely not kissing.

It Still Takes Work

Before we got married, we met with an older married couple from our church for mentoring and we worked through a pre-marital study book together. We also met with our associate and lead pastors, and we gleaned advice from other couples and from various books. (We spent quite a bit of time and money on our wedding, and I felt like we were spending more on our marriage!) There was a lot of effort put in up front. However, after our honeymoon and as time went on, we realized that we could not just “coast” through our marriage. When things got difficult or other obligations got in the way of our proximity and connection to each other and to God, we fought more and we felt less close. One morning, I woke up and realized that I could not simply set the car of my marriage on “neutral.” I had to continue to invest in our relationship. I realized that marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. When you put in the extra work, you get to enjoy it.

Some Things Matter More Than Others

You want to know a simple way to make your marriage better? Ask your husband what matters to him! It blew my mind when someone gave me this advice. Here’s the thing: My husband does not really care if the house is spotless or the bed is made or the kitchen floor is clean. He values having clean clothes and something to eat. When I realized this, I was able to stop trying to be SuperWife and instead be the wife that he needs and desires. I choose to focus on laundry and grocery shopping first. Yes, the kitchen floor gets swept, but I focus on how to serve him how he desires it first. Likewise, he does the same for me! I love that he picks up extra work on the weekends sometimes, because it helps the budget. I also love when he’s home on the weekends. We are able to work out a schedule each month that satisfies both of us as well as the budget.

Socks… Socks Everywhere

Since I graduated high school, I always lived with female roommates and/or housemates. I know what it is like to walk around someone else’s laundry or dishes. However, I was just not fully prepared to find socks on the living room floor that no one will pick up until I pick them up on laundry day. At first, I became angry with my husband: How dare he leave his stinky socks on my floor? But honestly? It’s not that big of a deal, and I am thankful that he is home long enough to take off his socks in the evenings. Sometimes I ask him to pick them up (which he does gladly), and sometimes I gather them up with the rest of the laundry. It’s not worth yelling over – most things aren’t.

Men are Different From Women

I know, newsflash, right? Even though we married women roll our eyes at this one, we too often assume that our husbands think and feel just like we do. Ironically, my wonderful, sweet husband is just plain different from me. He has strengths in areas where I have weaknesses, and he has weaknesses where I have strengths. Case in point: Our kitchen sink began leaking around the seal. My husband cleaned it up, examined the sink, and made a plan for how to reseal it. Then he left the wet towels by the sink. At first, I only saw the wet towels. I did not see his effort in repairing the sink. His thought-processes work differently than mine, but that’s a good thing. Did God not create man to lead woman and woman to be man’s helpmeet? We need each other in a beautiful way.

Marriage Surprises | Things That Surprised Me Once I Got Married - perfect for newlyweds | graceupongracetoday.com

What have been some of your marriage surprises?

Mother’s Day: Beautiful Unique Gifts

As a newlywed, this year will be my first mother’s day with a mother-in-law. I have been racking my brain for what would make a nice gift. Honestly, this sweet lady raised my wonderful husband during his difficult years – I want to honor her with something special! I am so excited to have collected these gorgeous and unique mother’s day gift ideas to share. These gifts are perfect for mothers and mothers-in-law, and also grandmothers, aunts, nieces, and sisters-in-law. If you are looking for beautiful, unique, personalized, precious, and not-too-expensive mother’s day gifts, keep reading!

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Mother's Day Gifts Guide | Grace Upon Grace Today

Personalized

Mason Jar From the Kitchen Self-inking Stamp
Personalization is so fun! Why not personalize a self-inking stamp for your mother, grandmother, or mother-in-law? I love this “From the Kitchen of…” stamp by arrayforhome at Zazzle.com. It comes in nine different colors and two different sizes. It would be perfect for a lady who likes to cook and bake. Isn’t that mason jar image adorable?
Woodland Wildflower Personalized Social Stationery Notepad
You can completely customize this Woodland Wildflower notepad by kat_parrella (right) because Zazzle.com makes it so easy! What a beautiful design for mothers new and experienced! See more notepad designs here. Zazzle.com can personalize almost anything… Yoga mats and aprons, too!

DecorativeWatercolor World Mom Hand Lettering Quote Throw Pillow

When you picture your mom’s home, does it seem as if she is missing something? Perhaps a couple throw pillows on the couch or something to hang on the wall in the kitchen? This watercolor throw pillow from JunkyDotCom communicates Mother’s Day sentiments in a cute way. It’s also available as an outdoor pillow!

If a special lady in your life has a favorite or cherished china pattern, like my grandmother does, a piece that she’s missing might make a lovely gift. Replacements, Ltd. has one of the largest collections of replacement china and glassware patterns, and they make beautiful custom pieces out of extra china. For example, I ordered a clock made out of a plate from the same pattern as my grandmother’s china. It made a memorable gift for both of us. (You can see my grandmother’s china pattern in this post’s featured image. Isn’t it lovely?)

I also love the gorgeous monograms that I’ve seen on front doors recently. I even got one for my wedding! Initials are not just for newlyweds, though. Mothers and grandmothers would love this more refined take on modern monogram signs. Look how gorgeous that circle design is!

Faith-BasedDevotional Journal for Moms | Morgan Harper Nichols Shop

I am honored that my mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law are all believers. What joy this brings to my heart! If you share your faith with the special lady you are gift-hunting for, why not give her a gift that will bless her soul? Morgan Harper Nichols (the lovely lady behind Her Binder Project) has released these gorgeous devotional journaling for moms pages. They are beautiful and are a perfect match to the monthly Her Binder Project devotionals. (You can also catch seven days of the mom journal for free here!)

A lovely gift to celebrate a significant mother’s day would be a Bible or devotional book. The New Mom’s Prayer Bible comes highly recommended, as does the Mom’s Devotional Bible, and both are New International Version. There are other lovely options for mothers who prefer the New King James Version (this gorgeous large print edition) and ladies who would like to journal in their Bibles (see my review of two popular journaling Bibles). A woman who is interested in learning more about Scripture might enjoy studying the Women of the Bible yearlong devotional. Don’t forget to write a personal note in the front cover of the book!

Which mother’s day gifts best suit your mom or mom-in-law?

P.S. Want to share this gift guide with your friends? (Or give your husband some ideas?) Pin this for later!

Mother's Day Gift Guide | Grace Upon Grace Today

Being a Team in Marriage

To me, the most beautiful thing about marriage is that it instantly lays the foundation for teamwork. Notice that marriage does not instantly create a fully-functioning, healthy, and established team… It only builds the framework for what could be a healthy team. I consider the second most beautiful thing about marriage to be the act of building that team. If you are interested in becoming a team with your spouse and developing teamwork in your marriage, this is for you. Developing teamwork in marriage takes work!

Being a Team in Marriage: developing teamwork in your marriage | Grace Upon Grace Today

When my now-husband and I were going through premarital mentoring with a couple from our church, we mentioned how our small group had recently spent an evening discussing marriage. We were disappointed that the general consensus from the evening was that marriage was difficult and challenging. I expressed my disappointment to our mentor couple that there was no rejoicing in the beauty of marriage, but rather, commiseration in the challenge of marriage.

Our mentors responded along these lines: “Yes, marriage is hard, but it is good, because it is two people working together towards the same goals.”

When two people commit their lives to each other, they make the decision to fight for the other person’s best interests. In that way, they are therefore taking care of themselves, since in marriage, the couple is now one flesh. In addition, a couple following after God has chosen to commit their lives not only to each other, but also to their Lord and Savior. His glory becomes their goal.

My husband and I have the joy (and sometimes headache) of working together: we are teachers at the same Christian school. Literally, our occupations involve working towards the same goals: for our students to be well-educated and to develop relationships with God and with each other.

Additionally, outside of our careers, we have taken the words of our mentors to heart. We have chosen to seek the other’s goals and best interests, so we can not only honor each other, but also live out an enjoyable marriage. For example, my husband chose to do the household chore I hate the most. It doesn’t cost him any extra time (he would be doing something around the house anyway), but it makes me much less stressed to focus on the chores I hate the least instead.

The author of Ecclesiastes writes similarly to the encouragement of our mentors:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT)

The last line speaks clearly of a good marriage. Not only is there a husband and wife who seek after what matters to the other person, but they also seek after God’s presence in their marriage. With the Lord as the basis for our marriage, my husband and I are stronger and tighter than we would be otherwise. We have the same goal of glorifying Him.

In all these things, we are becoming a team: fighting for each other, fighting for God’s will and desires, and serving Him. We are choosing to work together instead of sowing discord in our relationship.

How is your marriage a team? What can you do to make your marriage full of teamwork and not discord?