22 years ago I started a life-long adventure with Brent Kaser that I was quite ill-prepared for. In honor of our wedding anniversary, here are 22 things I’d tell myself as a new bride:
You’re marrying a visionary. He’s going to come up with at least ten outrageous ideas a week. Don’t be a dream killer. He just wants you to dream with him. One idea a month might actually launch, so stop freaking out or killing his ideas with practicality. Enjoy the exploration of possibilities with him instead.
Don’t expect him to read your mind and supernaturally know what to do for you. Just simply ask for what you want. He actually does want to please you.
Brent is naturally, genuinely cool. You’re naturally, genuinely not. Learn early to own your awkward uncoolness and laugh at yourself often. He actually picked you and thinks your nerdiness is attractive.
Being his wife will take faith and trust- not in Brent, but in Christ. You think you’re marrying a successful landscape contractor and things are going to be comfortable forever. Get as close to Jesus as possible right now, because the comfortable life you think you signed up for will soon turn into a radical journey of faith. God’s plans are far greater than yours, and comfort is overrated.
Don’t pretend you know what you’re doing when it comes to keeping a house. You totally don’t, and Brent is amazing at domestic stuff. Lose the pride and let him teach you how to clean and be organized.
One day, Brent will actually “fire” you from doing laundry and you will be gloriously delivered from your domestic nemesis. Sometimes, heroes carry laundry baskets and smell like fabric softener.
Your friends’ husbands will be home for dinner every night, spend weekends with their families, and tuck the kids into bed. You will feel as if this is the “right” way for a family to be. But that’s not who you married. Stop comparing and feeling like you’re missing out. Instead of routines, your unconventional family will have faith adventures to exotic places to share the gospel together, do outreach concerts as a family, and have incredible stories to share of God’s miraculous faithfulness. It’s a good trade.
When he comes home one day and shaves his legs because he’s “taking cycling to the next level,” don’t freak out. He’s not weird. Leg shaving is a legit cycling thing, and you’ll learn to willingly share your razor.
Speaking of cycling, encourage him to ride more often. His bike rides are the equivalent to your library trips. He totally needs the escape.
You’re unknowingly a hyper-critical, spiritually prideful feminist who needs to understand you are so in need of sanctification in nearly every area. So many conflicts could be avoided if you just let go of needing to be right about everything. The biggest need in your marriage is your own humility.
The biggest fight you will ever have is over the purchase of a hot tub. You’ll lose. It will seem like the biggest offense ever, but get over it. He’ll learn to never make a huge purchase without your consent ever again, so it will really be a win.
Your mother in law is a wealth of knowledge and help. You’ll regret not taking her advice on things and learning her ways in the kitchen. Get close to her sooner.
When you are in a position to choose between your extended family or Brent, choose him every time. God will honor it, and your family will adjust to your transferred allegiance.
You will never, ever manipulate him with a raised voice, slammed door, or hysteria. Sweet speech increases persuasiveness. When you are quiet and gentle, he listens.
When you have a disagreement, don’t demand an immediate resolution. He needs more time to process than you do, and if you press him to keep talking, you’ll make things worse. Abandon the quarrel before it gets hot, and stay quiet till he is ready to talk things through.
He will start as the pickiest eater ever, and you’ll be very frustrated for a few years. Just cook what he likes. Soon, he will be eating super weird food in foreign countries and vastly expand his pallet. However, he won’t ever, ever eat eggs or cantaloupe.
The most important thing you can do for your marriage is pray. Self-pity, complaining, or manipulation are entirely ineffective, but things happen when you actually pray specific prayers and trust God to work.
You will be alone for weeks at a time every year. You’ll miss him. But you’ll learn to love the periods of independence when you can serve ice cream to the kids for dinner, wear your hair in a bun for several weeks, and read till 3am. Also, reunions are awesome and they never get old.
Death and loss have their own beauty, and you will find the seasons of deepest grief will be the most binding times in your marriage.
You’ll be surprised by a season of health issues that will make you feel insecure and vulnerable. You’ll learn that your husband is a marvelous caregiver, and he really meant it when he vowed to take care of you in sickness. You’ll connect with him on a totally different level and end up grateful for your infirmity because of what it does for your marriage.
Hold loosely to plans and agendas, and don’t take changes as personal offenses. Some of your best adventures will be because your husband changed the plan.
Brent Kaser is a deeply passionate man who will fight for what is right. This will often make him unpopular and will result in deep losses at times. You will come to treasure his unshakable integrity above every other attribute he has. He will prove to be a man worthy of respect and admiration again and again.
What advice would you give your young married self?