I remember sitting on the couch in my counselor’s office, asking in a fragile, shaky voice, “Who am I? Where is Brooke?”
I had been married for two months, and I felt less like myself than ever before.
The significant life change of becoming a wife left me feeling like I “should” be on cloud nine. That’s what I had seen on social media and around me. I wrestled with the thought, What is wrong with me if the only cloud I am on is anxiety and depression?
The first few days of marriage for Perry and me were confusing and difficult. Travel mishaps and resurfaced trauma left us with emotional whiplash.
But as we’ve now celebrated one year of marriage, I know God has been doing deep work in us as a couple with time, counseling, and trust-building. And He’s been doing deep work in me as I began discovering myself as a new wife and finding where Brooke was all along.
How do you discover yourself after marriage?
Are you asking yourself the same question … “Who am I now that I’m married?” This is a common question for both men and women. It doesn’t mean you are second-guessing yourself or the person you married. It is a natural result of a major life change for you both.
Here are four tips I have tried to implement this last year, to keep myself grounded emotionally and spiritually. My prayer is that they help you discover yourself as a wife.
1. Find your identity in Christ.
This should be the centerpiece of your life and your marriage. Often, when I am struggling to connect with myself, I turn to connect with Jesus. Why? Because the Bible shares countless stories of how God created me (Jeremiah 1:5), knows me fully (Psalm 139:1-6), and His Word provides wisdom and insight to who I am in Him (1 John 3:2).
2. (Re)Discover a hobby.
After I asked my counselor those questions, we slowly began uncovering what was beneath the surface, to find Brooke. To discover yourself after marriage requires intentionality because you may have gotten lost in the chaos of your wedding.
To find the things that used to bring me joy, I spent time journaling my hobbies from childhood to now and made note of the ones that still brought a smile to my face.
The more I journaled, the more I saw God reveal the passions He uniquely put in me—like playing guitar, running, visiting new coffee shops, photography, and graphic design.
What hobbies do you have? God uniquely gave you passions that bring life into your bones and help connect you with who He made you to be.
To discover some of your hobbies, ask yourself these questions:
- What did I love doing while growing up? (Chances are a hobby from childhood could transcend to adulthood.)
- What is a way I decompress at the end of the day? (It could be reading, coloring, or puzzling.)
- What brings me joy?
3. Create rhythms.
I am a routine-driven person, so I share this with the caveat that I don’t expect our rhythms to look the same. When we create rhythms with ourselves, God, and our spouses, we often feel more grounded and connected to all three. Rhythms give us a sense of safety and consistency. As you discover yourself after marriage, you may need to revisit old rhythms and/or start fresh with new ones.
An individual rhythm could be a morning or nighttime routine of making a cup of coffee or tea and sitting in your favorite chair to wake up/wind down. It could be making a habit of getting outside for 30 minutes every day to walk or jog.
A rhythm to connect you with God could look like a Bible plan or prayer journaling. Both can provide consistency to your day. You may be surprised by how God shows up and meets you in those spaces.
And make sure to establish routines for you and your spouse, like setting aside time each day to do something together. It could be watching a show, going on a walk, or just reading books in the same space—something where you two can connect with a shared hobby.
4. Surround yourself with other believers.
We aren’t meant to do marriage alone. You cannot discover yourself in isolation. And we all have something valuable and healing that we can bring to a community (Romans 12:4-5).
Surrounding yourself with both married and single (of the same gender) friends can take some work. Whether you work in ministry and/or attend a local church, it may be helpful to see if there are small groups for young married couples. Serving at your local church is another avenue to meet new people.
The more time you surround yourself with other believers—either one-on-one or in a small group—may lead you to see yourself more as God’s beloved child, beautifully and wonderfully made.
Perry and I are in a small group with other young married couples, and it’s been a gift to relate to others in the same stage of marriage. At our church, I have also met so many generations of women who have poured into me with advice on friendships and marriage. Surrounding yourself with other followers of Christ allows God to reveal more of Himself to you.
The lifelong discovery
I thought asking the questions of, “Who am I? Where is Brooke?” would lead to a dark, lonely place, but God redeemed it. He used those questions to remind me of how He created me, full of passion and curiosity.
If you are trying to discover yourself after marriage, welcome, you aren’t alone. Our lives on earth will be filled with learning more about ourselves, God, and our spouses.
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Brooke Wilson is a content writer and editor for FamilyLife at Cru’s World Headquarters in Orlando. She is newly married to her husband, Perry, and they have a Chocolate Labrador named Willow. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Brooke moved to Florida to pursue writing and editing content full time. A few of her favorite things are photography, running, and sipping a warm chai latte across from a friend.