Lately I’ve been running into a number of Funda-Gelical blogs dedicated to either training brides what to do once they marry or advising them on what a proper Christian lady does to prepare for her future marriage.
Some of the advice is good, some not so good. Examples? One lady insisted that all young women find out what all their fiances favorite meals were, go to their soon to be mother in law to get the recipes and practice making that food just absolutely perfectly for your man.
Very bad idea. After having been married for the last nearly 27 years I can tell you this isn’t something you need to do. Why? Well, I learned the hard way that if you’re trying to make his mom’s perfect recipe you’re never going to make it just like mom’s. Never ever ever. He’ll eat it, tell you it’s almost like mom’s but not quite. I’ve talked to a number of my long time married pals and they all say there’s one or two dishes their husband loves that his mother makes that it’s hopeless to try to get just like hers.
Much of the other advice is things like ‘Save as much money as you can to help your groom out after you’ve married’ or ‘Comb through garage sales and thrift shops to buy all the things you’ll need to run a home efficiently.’ and ‘talk about important issues’ and ‘start praying for him immediately.’
All of that is well and good but I personally think it’s a piss-poor list that doesn’t address the facts of life as a couple. Here’s my list…
1. Make sure you have or acquire marketable skills towards a job and keep upgrading your skills. Never turn down an opportunity to learn new skills. Even if you plan on being a stay-at-home momma (and there’s nothing wrong with that) no one knows the future and at some point you may have to support the family if your husband happens to die or be seriously injured. Respecting your husband and your future family means planning for the ‘what ifs’ or even do it just to feel accomplished for yourself.
2. Always make sure you have your own sum of money, your own personal emergency fund. You never know when you’re going to need an extra fifty or a hundred dollars for an unexpected bill or circumstance you didn’t budget in.
3. Make sure you understand the household bills and finances, including knowing how to balance your check book and some basics about investing. In some marriages the wife has a better understand and more time than the man and it might be helpful for you to do the check book balancing and bill paying. Some men aren’t good at it and someone has to do it.
4. Have someone teach you how to maintain your car. Know now to check the oil and tires, when routine maintenance needs to happen, how to change a tire or dealing with AAA. Even if your hubby is a master mechanic he’s not going to be around all the time and it’s good to know what to do if you have a flat tire when he’s not around.
5. Make sure your credit history/credit report is clean. If you have errors on the report or outstanding debts pay them off, correct the history before you marry. It’s disrespectful to the man you love to saddle him with debt or a bad credit history via marriage.
6. Be realistic in picking a place to live when you start your marriage. Do not fall for an ARM mortgage or an interest only loan on a house. Keep in mind the realtor’s rule of thumb – Your house note should not be any more than 28% of your monthly income and your personal expenses should be no more than 33%. If you cannot accomplish this right away make it a long term goal and start saving for the down payment.
7. Establish a savings account, a will and retirement funding as soon as you can. The years fly by and it’s much easier to make these things planned from the beginning.
9. Realize everyone has bad days, even Christians. Don’t take to heart anything said in anger or frustration by your husband. Realize it’s not you and try to be soothing and understanding. Or just give him his space when he first comes home from work to relax for a few minutes before trying to have a serious conversation. Don’t take it personally.
10. Pick your battles very carefully. If he likes his towels folded a certain way and is annoyed when you fold them differently realize how minor this is and do what you need to do to keep the peace over the small stuff.
11. If something is really important to you, make sure in a non-confrontational way that he realizes what it means to you. Don’t assume he’ll realize what’s important to you or will just pick up on your feelings. Most men need to be told if you have certain expectations that you apply to them. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
I’m sure I missed many things but I think I hit most of the more important things about going into a marriage. If I missed something tell me what it is in the comments below.
Comments open below
Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce