Krystele Chavez

Passionate. Achiever. Artistic.

1 Year of Marriage: 5 Tips You Should Know

Forget the gym - go walk.

Ya ya, I’ve heard “couples who sweat together, stay together.” If going to the gym is your thing, then power to you. 

Keep in mind this is written by someone who hasn’t gone to the gym since high school, and only because she needed to get activity hours for the IB diploma. Goodness I can’t even recall how I fit into my Vera Wang wedding dress - thank God for a fast metabolism until I hit age… well, let’s see how I turn out at the end of my pregnancy and maybe you’ll see me on a treadmill.

Rant aside, going for walks as a couple forces you to take a step back and enjoy the stillness of being in each other’s presence. It also encourages you to have conversations you may not necessarily want to have or would have had to begin with. 

I remember the first argument Delwyn and I had in our home. I stormed upstairs, tried to lock myself in a room, but this handyman still managed to unlock the knob. I ran downstairs, and tried to ignore him multiple times (let’s face it, ladies sometimes don’t you just want to escape?!). After my silent treatment and his boiling frustration, he requested in desperation Can we just go for a walk?

The fresh air and surrounding mountain vistas helped us get a clear mind to get out of the walls we both were against.

Tip: People invest in self-healing and/or leadership books, but what about investing in wisdom that will strengthen your marriage? Get a yearly devotional book for couples and go through it on a daily basis during a walk, while having breakfast or before bed.

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
— Ephesians 4:26-27

Spend time away from each other - either double date or don’t third wheel.

At any point in time our social needs will not be the same as our partners. Simply put, you and your spouse may be as one, but that doesn’t mean you morph into one person. 

Unless his friends specifically ask for me, I won’t go have tacos with Del and his dudes. And I wouldn’t bring Del to happy hour cocktails (virgin for moi) with my friends either.

I’ll go over to my parents’ for dinner and update them with what happened at work and everything in between during the week, while he helps his brother wash his car and make dinner for him back at home.

So say no to Brangelina or Bennifer - your marriage is going to thrive if you still have your own interests and your own friends.

P.S. Spending some time together is important in marriage, but so is spending some time apart from each other and other people. God has created all of us with a need for solitude to reflect on our lives, and also to focus best during our times with Him in prayer. 

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
— Proverbs 11:14

Get into the habit of having a greater awareness of and sensitivity to all life’s challenges, whether trivial or life-and-death.

Buying a home. Starting a family. Financial reverses. 

We know the big things when they’re about to come, and we put on a mindset of steel to gird ourselves emotionally.

But undone ironing. Bulbs that need changing. What’s the big deal about the compost bin in the driveway?

Little things - they’re low visibility, often show up within the marriage circle, and we react instead of act. 

The repetitious act of ignoring little things important to our mate is like ignoring flood waters against a dike. If enough pressure builds, it bursts. And it’s the little things left undone that put pressure on a marriage.

Learn that when you do the little things right, you can expect each other to handle the big things right. 

Small kindnesses like waking up at 4 am to make me eggs and waffles because the babes in me are hungry. Leaving a note on my steering wheel. A loving glance. A chore done in secret that I discover. 

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It's the little things that Del deposits into my emotional bank account that inevitably take higher interest.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
— Luke 16:10

Pray for each other. 

Aggravated. Disappointed. Hurt.

Those were the words bouncing in my head as I sat down for some sort of quiet time. I felt like such a fake, scanning the holy words of my Bible. My heart wasn’t connecting. My mind wasn’t tuned in. All I could think about was the argument I’d had with my husband.

After a moment of silent anger, wiped tears and finally cooling off, God revealed this to me: You can’t be a “fix-him” wife. Krystele, you need to be a “love-him” wife.

I needed to be a wife daring enough to ask God to reveal to me how to love my husband. And I needed to ask God where I was going wrong, where I was being selfish, where I needed to work.

That’s what marriage has done for me - it’s given me the blessed opportunity to hold up a mirror to my flaws. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character, selfishness, and attitudes, encouraging me to live sacrificially. 

You’ll never be able to control how another person acts and reacts, but you certainly can control how you act and react. Don’t focus on having the right partner. Focus on being the right partner.

When I shifted my focus to letting God change me, that’s when I started to see real progress.

Do I still get irritated and frustrated? Of course. But when I stopped trying to fix my husband, I was freed up to just love him. And that’s a much more fun and realistic job for me.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
— James 5:16

Pray with each other.

On our wedding night, Delwyn and I, for the very first time, lay on our bed, side by side, in our beautiful suite and prayed (Okay, we were praying, but secretly on the inside we were both thinking, can’t wait to get this over with and get on with our wedding night together. - LOL honest thoughts from a couple who wasn’t even allowed to hold hands the first like what, two years of dating?).

Our long-awaited love to finally awaken had to be put on a halt for a moment. And from that moment on, we both knew that that night, we began to lay a foundation of regular prayer together that has made an indescribable difference in our marriage. Prayer together is the glue that will continue to keep us together. 

There’s also something special about the regularity of it. Some nights I feel connected to God and my husband, and some nights I feel distant. Some nights I can’t wait to pray with him, and others I could care less and end up snoozing away to lalaland.

But it’s not about whether I feel like it or not. It’s about consistently coming before God together and laying our life together before Him. There is power in consistency. Power in our kneeling together night after night and morning after morning that gives us the opportunity to lay every care, concern, joy, and sorrow before Him.

We continue to see Him show up with answers to prayer more times than either of us can count. Some dramatic like which vehicle to purchase. Some simple like having the patience to deal with a difficult colleague at work. Some were “no,” but He has and will always be there. We feel like a team — me, Delwyn, and God. Together we’ve found that we are unbeatable <3 

But sometimes, praying together is far more than a routine. Sometimes, it’s a lifeline — like finding out we’re expecting with twins and declaring in faith both children grow healthily and normally.

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The fact that we’re consistently praying during both the good and bad times make a difference.

Even when we don’t feel like praying, we do.

The habit behind it is what makes a huge difference. It teaches us to put God first. It teaches us that He will always have an answer for every problem. It gives us hope when the world is telling us there is none.

The best thing you can do for your marriage is to fill your soul with God, and that starts with spiritual intimacy first.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
— Psalm 27:4

Yes, it’s only been a year, and we know that there’s loads more to learn and live through by grace, but these are some practical steps that have helped us keep Christ as the foundation of our marriage. Are you seriously dating? A newlywed? Veteran couple?

Share with me your marriage relationship tips and let’s learn from each other!