Never have we ever heard such hilariously frustrating advice and one-liners as we did during the months of our engagements. And we’re not sure why. Maybe it is because people think you all-of-a-sudden care about their advice just because you’re starting a new chapter in your life. Maybe misery loves company, or maybe some women just love to share the same tired one-liners at every bridal shower they go to. We don’t know. But in all seriousness, whether you’re married or not, other people are always going to be doling out advice, and not everyone who tries to give it is going to be wise.
Our suggestion for real advice is to look at the women whose lives, marriages and families you want to emulate. Listen to what they have to say. In the meantime, ignore and maybe laugh when people say stuff like this …
Aw. You love each other now. So cute … but just you wait.
Erin: I must have heard this 100 times, in different ways from different people. It seems the results are in and marriage is awful. Only ignorant brides-to-be are excited about it. Marriage of course comes with hard times and frustrations, but would these women honestly say the bad outweighs the good? Um, why did they get married again? I decided early on that toxic thinking like this had no place in our marriage, and much to everyone’s chagrin, I am still happy.
Whitney: I heard this one, too, in some form or fashion. Talk about uplifting. Now that I am married, I do see what they were trying to get at. When you are trying to manage a budget, keep the laundry and dishes clean, move in all of your stuff, and are getting used to the other person’s quirks, it can be easy to lose that initial “butterflies” feeling. You’re going to be angry, and have to deal with fights and annoyances and work hard to keep the romance going, but I never stop loving my husband. And if they have, I feel sorry for them and their marriage and it doesn’t seem to me like they are trying very hard to change it.
It’s so cute that you want to make your home a comfortable place; use your dishes, clean. Just wait a few years and you will be lazy and not want to make things nice for your family at all.
Erin: Yeah, you’re right. Because any time I walk into the home of someone who has been married for more than five years, their house is a wreck, they don’t own any dishes, and they order pizza every night for dinner.
Your wedding is too big. Why don’t you elope and save money?
Erin: As long as there have been brides planning weddings, there have been people who knew how to do it better. Maybe people wished they had done their wedding differently and wanted to live vicariously through me. I don’t know. But when I look back, I had my dream wedding. It was everything I wanted. We could have eloped and saved money, but honestly, we wanted to use that money to throw a huge party for all our friends and family to celebrate the happiest and most sacred occasion of our life. And I don’t think that’s irresponsible.
Whitney: I have a slightly different opinion. Not because weddings are too big, but because of the stress that comes with them. I didn’t have a huge wedding, but I tend to be overbearing when it comes to detail. If you are a type A personality, it would be good to grasp up front that nothing is going to be perfect. When I look back on my wedding, I realize I stressed out so much, I missed some important things. So if y0u desperately want the big wedding and are type A, just try to stay calm, get help and know it isn’t and doesn’t have to be perfect … or elope. If you are carefree (like Erin) and don’t stress over the small things, go for it!
A new toaster oven? Do you even know how to use that?
Erin: I just find this one funny. I think it’s great how people think just because you are a young woman you have absolutely zero homemaking skills. Cooking has always been an interest for me and I guess it always strikes me as odd to see how little faith some of these women have in us younger folks.
Whitney: Well, no, actually, but thank you for throwing something I am already self-conscious about in my face instead of offering to help me learn. (Side note to all of you kitchen-challenged ladies like myself: Don’t sweat it. Your husband knows already whether or not you can cook, and if he’s not willing to be patient while you learn, he should get in there himself. My husband cooks just as much as I do, and helps when it’s just me. I caught my toaster oven and stove on fire. Flaming fire. And he helped put it out every time. You may not know how to cook, but if they aren’t willing to help, they have no right to say anything.)
The first year is always the hardest (and sometimes the fifth and the seventh or the first five altogether).
Whitney: Wow, thank you. I can go into my marriage fully confident that it’s going to suck from the time we leave the church to the year 2017. And this always confused me anyway, isn’t the honeymoon stage supposed to be lasting for a while? Guess people nowadays just don’t believe in that fairytale stuff anymore.
You’re getting married too young. You’ll get divorced.
Erin: This was a real gem that I received twice from two different people that I had just met. (Both I think had been divorced multiple times.) My thoughts: Find out my first name before you tell me my marriage is doomed. My response: “Well, God really showed us this was the right step, so nothing else really matters to us.” That silenced them quickly.
A rolling-pin! A frying pan! Great! Now you have something to beat your husband up with!
Erin: And I use it all the time, ladies! Thanks for all the new weapons. Seriously? If a “godly man” said this, even jokingly to my husband, I would be livid. Why do we think it’s okay to talk like this among women?
Are you sure he’s the right one for you? You haven’t even been together that long.
Whitney: Yes, I’m sure. I could stop there, because explaining is unnecessary, but my friend’s comment above, “Well, God really showed us this was the right step, so nothing else really matters to us,” is very appropriate. My husband and I got married one year after we met. I loved him, prayed about him, was confident in us as a couple and in Christ, and nothing else mattered.
Have kids as soon as possible.
Erin: The pressure for kids comes quick, like everyone has money riding on when it will happen. (Who knows? Maybe they do.) I think it’s awesome when couples want to have kids early in their marriage, but it’s a personal decision, and really, my husband and I are the only ones who have any stock in it. I just want to unpack from the honeymoon and wash the sand out of my swimsuit before I start making decisions like that. By the way, are you going to congratulate me on getting married?
Wait as long as possible to have kids. They ruin your life.
Erin: I do appreciate this positive, uplifting advice, but please don’t get me too excited to start a family. Oh, by the way, your 7-year-old just heard you.
Train your husband early.
Erin: I understand where this is coming from. The home is your sphere, so you should make sure your husband knows your expectations. I just don’t like viewing my husband as a dog that needs to be trained. It’s annoying rubbing his nose in the dirty laundry and giving him a treat every time he washes a glass.
You’ve got a good girl there. And, you better treat her right.
Whitney: These are a couple that hurt my husband. The first seems like a compliment, but after you hear it about a thousand times, it becomes more of a, “aren’t I a good enough guy for her if God brought us together?” The second is just a threat, posing as a loving, protective statement. This one got the same response as the first, and with a little more defensive tone, because of course he was going to. I’m no one’s trophy wife.
Let me teach you some of my tricks on manipulating your husband.
Erin: Please do. I would love to know the secret to having a marriage like yours.
Did you get that blender I sent you? Just wondering, because I haven’t gotten my thank you note.
Erin: I don’t know when thank you notes got to be such a hot-button issue, but apparently if you don’t write the note before you get the gift, it is a major faux pas. I have read that it is proper etiquette to send them, at the most, two months after the wedding, but apparently that isn’t proper enough for some people. There must be some unwritten rule that you should spend your whole honeymoon writing thank you notes.
Whitney: At this moment, I still haven’t handed out thank yous (or even finished writing them), and I’m the dreaded two-month deadline out from my wedding. What’s a girl to do?! Well, right now I am typing this up and have them right next to me. It’s really polite to send a thank you note, but if you’re going to see that person in person, tell them face-to-face. Let them know how much it meant and give them a hug. This can be SO much easier than stressing yourself over a note they will toss.
—Erin and Whitney