Eight things he wished he’d known as a newlywed

They walked the aisle, said “I do,” then stuffed wedding cake in each others' faces. But they had no idea what they were getting into.

Within two years, "I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to be married," writes Tyler Ward in Relevant magazine. "I brought a lifetime of bad ideas and bloated expectations to this enigmatic relationship, and the deeper we got into marriage, the more ridiculous some of my most basic assumptions about it proved to be."


After slamming doors and screaming matches became regular occurances, he began to write down eight things that he wishes he'd known beforehand. 

The first? "Happily Ever After is a perk — not the point," writes Ward. He's also the author of Marriage Rebranded: Modern Misconceptions & the Unnatural Art of Loving Another Person. "Our modern obsession with being happy often makes it far easier for us to love happiness more than we ever love another human. And though being happy is a very real by-product of a healthy relationship, the value we put on personal fulfillment is so inflated, it’s causing us to miss one of the more beautiful purposes of marriage.

"In Hebrew, the word used for marriage actually means 'Fire.' And not-so-coincidentally, fire is also the element used throughout ancient Hebrew culture to represent personal reformation. In this light, marriage, and its necessary—but often unhappy — friction, is seen less as a doorway to happily ever after and more as a tool in God’s hands to help us become increasingly beautiful—increasingly our best and brightest selves."

The second thing he wishes he'd known? "The perks of marriage are incredible — but they take work. Many experts say young people simply expect too much from marriage. But I tend to think that it's not what perks we expect, but how we expect to get them that sets us up for disappointment in marriage. We walk the aisle, recite a few vows and subconsciously expect marriage to be a genie in a bottle without a price tag—freely giving out sustainable happiness, breathtaking sex and emotional security."

But, he notes: You aren’t entitled to the benefits of love just because you put a ring on it. "Those perks only come with intentional investment and personal sacrifice."

What else is on his list?

3, Good Consumers Make Bad Lovers.

4. Love is a Journey—Not a Free Fall.

5. Marriage isn’t Just a Choice.

6. Marriage is Designed to be Priority No. 1.

7. Your Spouse isn’t the Problem. You are -- and

8. The World Needs Love.

"Love is not the fleeting butterflies we get when looking into the eyes of our significant other," he writes. "It's far simpler — and far wilder — than all of that. It is the big, small, mundane — but generous — choices to give to our spouse. And as we begin to orient ourselves to this brand of love that requires us to show up continually, we're sure to discover the beautiful paradox that it is."

One of the most useful tips he says he's ever been given on marriage came from a rabbi: “All of your problems (financial, relational, marital, etc.) are because your marriage isn’t your highest priority.”

The moment our spouse feels less important than our work, friends or hobbies — our efforts of love suddenly mean very little to them, writes Ward. "But when marriage is given its rightful place in our priorities, our spouse becomes a partner and asset to every other area of life. It took me a long time (and an absurd number of yelling matches) to see my wife’s 'issues' were actually just a reflection of much deeper brokenness in me.

"This is the phenomenon Solomon of the Bible alludes to when he says, 'As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.'

Today's society doesn’t needmore millionaires, leaders, pastors, soldiers or philanthropists," he writes. "What the world needs are better lovers — husbands and wives committed to learning the unnatural art of loving another person."