Here are some practical things I discovered during my first six months of marriage.

by EA Lepine

Editor’s note: In the January 28, 2013 issue of Marriage Memo,
James Lepine wrote of what he had learned as a new husband.  After that his
wife, EA, decided to write on the same topic from her perspective.

What I’ve learned in my first six months as a wife:

1. Be a wife, not a girlfriend.

What it
In the dating stage, girls expect to be wooed and swept off our
feet. While I hope your husband continues to do his best to keep you swept off
your feet, it’s time to stop smelling the dozen roses he got you and start
serving and loving him the best you can.

What it looks like: For
me, the most practical example I can think of is when James gets home from work.
Although I’m really excited to see him after a long day, I’ve learned that he
prefers a little time to himself when he gets home before we begin our night

At first, I was tempted to feel sorry for myself and inwardly
pout because he didn’t run through the door ready to talk to me. But I realized
I would much rather create a welcoming, relaxing context for him to come home to
than exhaust him by indulging my own desire to talk and connect as soon as he
walks in the door. Now I cook dinner later so I still have another 20-30 minutes
of prep left to do while he relaxes.

2. Be a wife, not a

What it means: If your husband wanted someone to
point fingers at his dirty socks on the floor, plan out each night of his week,
and try to turn him into the ideal man, he would never have moved out of his
mom’s house.

It’s your job to do life alongside your husband, not decide
what’s best for him or dictate what he can and cannot do. (Hint: Just because a
man gets married doesn’t mean he suddenly stops caring about video

What it looks like: After we got married, I was
(ignorantly) surprised to realize James still wanted to have a “guys night” on a
regular basis.  We kept finding ourselves in the same argument each time he
wanted to hang out with friends. I felt abandoned and threatened and James felt
frustrated. Just like a mom, I wanted to put limits in place: He could hang out
with his friends for X number of hours, X number of times a week.

afternoon I was thinking through a disagreement we’d had the night before and l
realized that I had never once considered what was best for James in the
situation. I asked God to give me the humility to admit that James needed “guy
time.” I also prayed for the desire to make sure he got the time with his
friends he needed. God was gracious to open my heart to a deep desire for James
to feel free to have fun.

Although we both eventually made some
adjustments, when I was able to approach James and say, “Hey, I’m on your team
now. I want you to feel free to enjoy your friends,” our arguments turned into
conversations and we were able to work things out.

3. Ask, don’t

What it means: You’re a woman, your husband is
not. Therefore, you’re not going to think about things the same way. If you
don’t talk through different perspectives, expectations and personality styles,
communication will suffer.

What it looks like: I think I felt at
first that if I had to ask James how I could best support him, that I was a bad
wife. If I were really a good wife, I would just instinctively know what to do.
We can’t help that, as both women and individuals, we’re wired differently than
our husbands. When I finally realized that, I stopped worrying about how to
respond when something was bothering James and just started asking, “How can I
serve you best right now? What do you need from me?” It takes the pressure off
you and it gets your husband what he actually needs.

4. Be
submissive, not overbearing or silent.

What it means: Give your husband the space and the authority to
lead, but also be helpful.

What it looks like: I’m still
learning in this area. Sometimes I’m afraid of not being submissive and I
overcompensate by being silent.

A recent example is a discussion James
and I had about whether to take on a volunteer opportunity at church. He shared
his thoughts and then asked me for mine. I had a different perspective than he

At this point, I had three options:

  • Turn the discussion into a debate and begin trying to convince him that I
    was right;
  • Keep my opinions to myself and tell him I agreed with him in an effort to be
  • Understand his perspective, lovingly explain mine, and trust God to equip
    James to lead us.

The first option is overbearing, the second is silent, the third is

5. Be self-aware, not self-righteous.

What it
Although it’s an old and overused stereotype, the notion that women
tend to think they’re right is pretty true. What’s even truer, though, is that
as long as you live you will struggle with sin. As a woman, your ability to
effectively manage yourself, your home, your job, and possibly your kids can
give you a false sense of “rightness” or entitlement. Be aware of the subtle
ways your sin can creep into your marriage, and have the humility to see where
you might be wrong.

What it looks like: One late afternoon I was
scrubbing our toilet around the time James usually gets home. As I bent over the
toilet bowl I found myself thinking, I hope James gets home while I’m
cleaning this toilet so that he’ll see me and think I’m such a great wife.

I realized what I was thinking and quickly reminded myself that the purpose of
being diligent with chores is not recognition.

Although this is a silly
example, it shows just how quickly sin can creep in and plant seeds that grow
into attitudes of self-righteousness or entitlement, which are poisonous to a
marriage. If sin can creep in while you’re cleaning the toilet, imagine what can
happen during an argument! It’s important to monitor your motives and responses
and be on the lookout for sin and selfishness.

Read what EA’s
husband, James, wrote about what he learned during his first six months as a

©2013 by EA Lepine. All rights reserved. Used by permission.