Marriage is one of the biggest adjustments to anyone’s life. It may seem like a fairy tale beforehand, but after becoming man and wife, there are a number of things that will take some time getting used to them. Sharing a bed may sound like a dream come true at this point, but when it comes time to actually sleep, you may find that getting used to having someone in bed with you may be considerably out of your comfort zone. Depending on how long you’ve been single, it may feel overwhelming at first to have to consider the other’s needs in all of your decisions. If you are used to spending several nights a week on a hobby or with friends, it may seem unfair for your spouse to be unhappy with all of your recreation. Compromise does not usually begin as an easy task; but, after time passes and each person gives a little, it does become easier.
Because marriage is such a big change, I encourage everyone to learn a few key things about their future spouse that will make transitioning into marriage a little easier. One small thing that can make a big difference is learning to cook a few of his or her favorite home meals. Men, and women, the idea of cooking may not be exciting to you; but, it may be a great comfort to your future spouse if you can treat them to something they miss from home on a particularly rough day, or if you are celebrating something like a birthday, promotion, etc. And if your beloved surprises you with such a meal, chances are it will never be as good as Mom’s or Dad’s… but don’t mention whether it was or not. Just appreciate him or her for his or her thoughtfulness. Besides, he or she will have many more opportunities to perfect it and it is the love and care they put into making it that counts.
Another great item to know is where your future spouse likes to go when they are feeling sad or lonely – a place that inspires them or brings them a sense of joy. When I was feeling down or even bored, as a teenager, I loved to go to a close pond or river and feed the ducks. There was something peaceful about it. It was an easy place to think and it was fun pleasing so many little floating ducks with a $1.50 loaf of white bread.
What movie does your future spouse never tire of and always want to see when he/she is feeling down, or sick? In college, my roommate and I, along with a few neighbors, would get together and watch Blue Crush on snow days. Being cooped up made us dream of the warmth of Summer and visits to the beach.
Do you know your future spouse’s favorite vacation spot? Is there a certain beach the family would go to every year? Is there a mountain cottage they would rent? Is there a feasible way (depending on time and finances, of course) that you could occasionally plan a visit to those places? Eric grew up in California and his family went to Lake Tahoe every Summer. As a result, he has some wonderful memories there. He ended up surprising me by taking me there for our honeymoon and I’m so glad we did – he seemed so alive in that environment. Since we live on the East coast now, closer to where I grew up, he is gracious in taking me to the beach at least once a year (a place I love). He’s also sweet in encouraging me to go with friends when they are available (I like being in the ocean for hours; whereas, he’s done for the day after 15 to 30 minutes).
Having some of my childhood comforts of home available now that I’m married is an incredible comfort to me. I strongly encourage you to learn from your future spouse what they need and enjoy in life so that you can provide it for them, if realistic. The little things don’t have to be expensive or take up much time, but what a difference they make when transitioning into marriage. Even though the couple entering matrimony are in love with each other and want to be with each other, there is still is pain that comes from the tearing away from the old family structure to the new one. For those who are uncomfortable with change, this can be even harder. Even if you move far away from family and friends, there are still things you can learn to do to bring comfort and a smile to your future spouse.
What comforts you from your formative years?