I have noticed a trend going on in the young adults in my generation. Specifically, young adults who get married, and then find themselves dealing with a rocky first year--or three--of their marriage.
Sometimes, they are confused as to what happened, or what they may have missed earlier that could have helped them now. And there seems to be a common skill nobody knew they lacked.
What is this one thing that could have saved so many people stress and struggle?
In fact, it’s a very particular type of self-discipline that couples often develop after getting married. But if you don’t have it beforehand, you can set yourself up for some rocky roads ahead.
I know tons of people who want the classic sole-breadwinner-husband, stay-at-home-mom type of life. They all truly believe it’s what’s best for their family. Yet, almost none of these people have that type of lifestyle - in fact, many of them face the exact opposite, wherein the father stays home with the baby, and the mother works full time to support them all (I’m not saying that’s always a bad thing, because many couples do so intentionally with great results).
What I’m pointing out is that saying that you want a certain lifestyle is not enough to make it happen. Couples need to have the self-discipline to both make a plan and carry it out. If you want to be the sole provider for your family, you need to line up an education/job that meets those expectations. This thought process is not that complicated, right?
Couples need to have the self-discipline to both make a plan and carry it out.
The trouble starts when this clashes with the wedding date.
“But we just want to be married right now!” “We’ll take care of the other stuff after the wedding.” “What’s the point in delaying any longer?”
I’ll tell you the point. It is practicing self-discipline in order to set yourselves up for success. You can get married just about any time you want. I get it, nobody wants to wait to be joined with their spouse, especially in today’s world of instant gratification. We all just want to start our lives together, right? But don’t get so caught up in just wanting to be married that you forget what kind of marriage you’re already building.
Don’t get so caught up in just wanting to be married that you forget what kind of marriage you’re already building.
There are three main areas where self-discipline will save your marriage even before you get married:
Housing costs money, college costs money, cars cost money, travel costs money, basically everything practical costs money. Unfortunately, we can’t just live on love alone. If neither of you has a solid job, how do you plan on providing for yourselves? Wedding money will only last so long, and you don’t want to get caught in the trap of pulling from savings or borrowing from friends during the first months of marriage.
We can’t just live on love alone.
Being prepared to fiscally support yourselves before the wedding will go a long way in keeping your new marriage stress-free and happy. If you don’t know where to start in taking control of your finances, ask your marriage prep or mentor couple for some advice, take a class or two, or talk to your parents about their experiences. Usually, even if you’re in college without a job, there are ways you can prepare to be a good money-manager for your future marriage.
Being prepared to fiscally support yourselves before the wedding will go a long way in keeping your new marriage stress-free and happy.
We all have but twenty-four hours in a day. You’ll want to spend at least one of those with your spouse! Many people marry during college, attend grad school during marriage, or get married without a job lined up. Before you jump on board with that idea, it’s worth weighing the impact it will have on your union. Homework might take up any free time you wanted to spend with your husband in the evening.
Job hunting can stress you out to the point of not being able to enjoy a date night with your wife. Grad school work might replace going to your kids’ soccer game. Often, higher education is one of the big time-sucks in a marriage. Even if you have to prolong the engagement an extra six months or a year, it’s worth considering spending your time wisely now, so you can have more of it with your new family later.
Life throws curveballs. Cars break down. Surprise pregnancies arrive. Injury or sickness strikes. We’ve all seen this stuff in others, yet we often fail to plan for it in our own early years of marriage. And trust me, the more ducks you have in a row prior to the wedding, the better.
There’s already enough to deal with when surprises inevitably happen! Some curveballs might not be so run-of-the-mill, either. Maybe there’s some deep-seated insecurity you didn’t know you had. Perhaps baggage from a previous relationship surfaces. Maybe there’s extended family issues or differences in child-rearing in a blended family.
Life throws curveballs. We’ve all seen this stuff in others, yet we often fail to plan for it in our own early years of marriage.
Whatever the case, you’ll both be surprised by some of the things that come up. That’s okay. You know what makes dealing with a surprise easier? If it’s the only thing throwing you for a loop. Think about two hypothetical couples: one set is unemployed, in college, and can’t afford rent. The other has one solid job, and a small apartment lined up. Now consider which couple is more prepared to deal with a surprise pregnancy. See what I mean?
Overall, If you both practice self-discipline BEFORE you get married, your future selves will thank you! By making a plan and patiently carrying it out, not only will you be ready for the curveballs life throws your way, but you will also be free from trying to acquire self-discipline in the middle of it all. You already built that skill during your engagement! So if you want to get married, are planning to get married, or even are married, do you and your spouse a favor and start developing self-discipline. It might just save your marriage.