10 Things Every Newlywed Should Know: Tips from John & Kimberly Bytheway

Don't nag. Do praise.

Being overly critical probably hurts more than it helps. We doubt that anyone is ever criticized into changing. On the other hand, many people have been loved into changing. . . .

 Some may believe that their job is to help their spouses become more than they are, and that’s true. But what may be intended as encouragement for the future can sound like complaining in the present. For example, if a wife is constantly telling her husband all that he “could” be doing, or all that he “should” be doing, she may sincerely believe she’s being the “good woman” pushing her husband to greater heights. However, the husband may begin to think, “No matter what I do, it’s not good enough." . . . Most men want in marriage is to be admired and appreciated.

Say "I love you" in your spouse's language.

John says: I used to think that keeping cars clean and running smoothly sent a powerful “I love you.” I have learned that, although auto maintenance is greatly appreciated, Kim prefers vegetation and words (flowers and notes). My opinion of flowers is that they’re very pretty at first, but in three days they’re
dead. But what I think is not important in this case. If I want to say “I love you” in Kim’s language, colorful and aromatic flora is the way.

Remember money matters.

Part of marriage is relocating. It’s a little ironic, but people usually start out marriage with brand- new china, silverware, and matching glassware in an old, worn-out basement apartment. For some, the adjustment isn’t difficult, and they can turn any apartment into a home. 

Others may feel forever uncomfortable until they catch up with their parents’ lifestyle. They see Mom and Dad and maybe some of their siblings with new cars and computers, living a Martinelli’s lifestyle, and they may try to match it on a Kool-Aid income. . . .

[But] President N. Eldon Tanner gave some wonderful financial advice years ago in general conference. His five main points were: (1) pay an honest tithing, (2) live on less than you earn, (3) distinguish between needs and wants, (4) develop and live within a budget, and (5) be honest in all financial affairs (see Ensign, November 1979, pp. 81–82). . . .

As in every other area of your marriage, when it comes to money, the main thing is to communicate. Talk about and agree on your financial goals, and then make a commitment to be disciplined about spending limits. 

Remember to build all areas of intimacy.

Speaking for ourselves, once we were home from the honeymoon and back into a normal telestial routine, we reflected on how quickly something that had once been “no, no, no” became “go, go, go.” Because LDS youth have all heard so many cautions about dating and chastity, some get the impression that sex is bad and unspeakable.

One of the best pieces of pre-honeymoon advice we received was from an old friend who strongly recommended we read a book called The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. This book is thorough and specific, and was written in a reverent spirit by committed Christians. It handles specifics about anatomy and male and female response that we couldn’t find in any other book we read. We read it together during the final weeks of our engagement. (We agreed not to make eye contact while reading because of our frequent blushing.) . . .

In your intimate relationship, just like in everything else in your marriage, the things you want to accomplish together will take time, understanding, and effort. . . . For those first few days after your wedding, the pressures of school and work are left behind. It’s a wonderful time to forget about the world and just get to know one another. Once you’re back home, absorbed in the complicated pursuits of life, you have to find time to re- create the honeymoon magic. One of the things we learned is that intimacy is not just a physical thing, although we often use the word to mean just that. The sexual aspect of intimacy is only a small part of the experience, especially for women.

John & Kimberly Bytheway: 10 Things Every Newlywed Should Know

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