“Just you wait…” The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage

just you wait

“Just you wait!”

If you say those words, what tone do you take?

Are they joyful and full of anticipation? “Wow! Oh man, just you wait! It’s gonna be fantastic!”

Is it more doom-and-gloom? “Oh sure… it’s good now. But just you wait! It’s gonna get a lot worse.”

Or perhaps from your childhood: “Meredith Kendra Amadis Goertz! Just you wait until we get home!”

(I mayyyyy have heard the last one several times)

In the summer of 2006, Jarod and I were newlyweds. We lived in a tiny basement apartment in midtown Toronto. A friend who had been married a few years visited us… and quickly cracked a joke about how our intimacy would soon start to fade.

That it was inevitable. Things were just gonna get worse.

“Just you wait” he said. “Just you wait.”

A few years later, Jarod and I were in a different city. We had both gone back to school; we lived on an impossibly small budget.

But we both made good money that summer and saved up a downpayment. Upon sharing that news with a couple we were close to, they smirked and said:

“Just you wait.” 

“It doesn’t matter how much money you make – there’s always something to spend it on. Wait till you have a house and kids! You’ll wonder where all your money went. And you’ll have to spend it on putting them in sports and electronics and all the stuff you’re going to want. Just you wait.”

Ever have someone pronounce “doom and gloom” over you like that?

“Just you wait” until…

  • you have kids!
  • you lose your job!
  • you’ve been married a few years!
  • you start to age!
  • you get sick again!
  • you have no choice!

and a thousand other disasters…

“Just you wait!” the cries come. “You’ll never sleep again! Your body will be gone! You’ll have no self-control! You’ll never have a night out! Misery is inevitable! The circumstances will change your character!”

(They make adulthood sound really appealing).

Where does this come from?

I can understand that previous generations sometimes had an idealized view of life. No one told them about things like postpartum depression or premarital counseling.

I understand that people want to give fair warning. Life isn’t perfect. There is struggle. Nothing is 100% fantastic.

I’ve seen that too. We’ve seen that too.

Major recessions. Crushing debt. Friends and family whose marriages imploded, got sick, cracked under strain. Seasons of life with no sleep, no money, no time.

But we can’t understand the loss of hope.

Because economies turn around.

Debt is paid off.

New relationships can begin and old ones can be fixed.

Seasons change and you can end up in a better place.

And most of the time, you can make choices that give you control and make a situation easier.

Plus, unlike purchases, relationships aren’t subject to the law of diminishing returns.

Marriage, friendship? These can get better over time. Better together.

Circumstances change. Good and bad happens. That’s inevitable.

How we react – the choices we make – is under our control.

New circumstances reveal our priorities. And our choices further shape our character.   

And while we’ve experienced an immense amount of pressure?

The greatest gift in ten years of marriage is that pressure has pushed us together.

Pressure can drive a wedge between you and others. It can drive a wedge between you and God. Or it can push you closer.

To paraphrase Hudson Taylor:

It matters not how great the pressure is, only where the pressure lies. As long as the pressure does not come between me and Jesus, but presses me close to Him? Then the greater the pressure, the greater my dependence upon Him.

The same for marriage.

It doesn’t matter how great the (job, relationships, financial) pressure is.

It doesn’t even matter if you’re dealing with one of your deep, dark personal issues. That could erode trust if you keep it in the dark.

These things can push you apart.. or closer together.

If you hide from each other, snipe at each other, blame each other? Prepare to get pushed apart.

But when you admit your faults, tackle problems together? That pressure is like superglue! You get close and get focused.

Circumstances change.

New circumstances reveal our priorities. And our choices further shape our character.   

This past week, I’ve been reading through the story of David in 1st and 2nd Samuel. The shepherd boy who became king (after many years).

His strengths come through: Trust in God. Self-control when he could have killed the current king (on more than one occasion!) Leadership. Listening to people like Abigail who stop him from doing something stupid.

Circumstances revealed his priorities. And his choices further shaped his character.

His weaknesses also bust on through: more than once, he makes impetuous decisions! To kill or try and kill people. To sleep with someone, embark on a foolish project or take hasty revenge. (And often someone is there to stop him from making a dumb choice).

Circumstances revealed his priorities. And his choices further shaped his character.

From the very beginning, David was a guy who relied on God’s action in his life. Even in his early life tending sheep, he had fought off some wild predators. Now their people were being threatened by an invading army.

David figured if God could help him defeat the bears and lions, he could take care of the invading army and their champion. So before he famously goes and defeats him, he says

““The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” ” 

Of course, his character grew over time. It took years before he became king.

But his circumstances didn’t change his character – they just gave opportunities to choose. Would he grow and move forward, or fail and shrink back?

It’s the same over the past 10 years for us, I think. We’ve grown. We’ve changed. We’ve done a lot.

Getting married.

Moving.

Buying cars and houses.

Starting businesses.

Going back to school.

Having kids.

They’re all different circumstances, but I don’t think they fundamentally change who we are. I think they activate different things, and let our character come through. So we can make choices. So we can grow.

It’s like we’re each a massive factory or a human supercomputer or a multifaceted diamond.

And new circumstances will illumine different facets.

Circumstances activate different abilities.

They’ll call us to functions we haven’t performed before.

But they won’t fundamentally change us. We’re still the same diamond or supercomputer or factory we started with – we’ve just activated something different.

If we handle it well, it’s something new and amazing that we are capable of.

If we handle it poorly, we warp or shift that part of ourselves.

New circumstances reveal our priorities. And our choices further shape our character.   

And while I’m glad we’ve grown, I’m glad Jarod is still the man I married 10 years ago. 

I’m glad we’re closer than ever.

I’m glad we’ve kept our priorities clear.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about what circumstances we go through.

I know his character. And he knows mine.

When you’ve seen good marriages, good parenting, good jobs and good lives? You realize there is a lot of truth to hold onto,

Whatever challenges come? Just you wait. You’ll still be you, and you’ll even get to grow.

Lifestyle inflation isn’t inevitable.

Just you wait – you can grow into someone whose income gives life to them, their family, and helps other people.

Age already gave me forehead wrinkles and other sags. Having kids might just accelerate that process.

Just you wait  – age is gonna happen, and you can grow into someone thankful for the experience it shows.

You’ll need to say “no” to a lot of stuff over time. Unless you want a life full of things low on your priority list. And saying “no” to almost everything is OK.

Just you wait – you can be someone who lets go of attachments that don’t matter, and holds on to beautiful relationships and life-giving experience.

The lack of sleep from a baby? Yeah, that puts a strain on a relationship. But so did shift work and traveling to other cities and working 16-hour days.

Just you wait – you’ll get through any reasons for lack of sleep and have another story – about how you went through this together and made it through the other side.

We’ll get through it. Just you wait. 

See, you’ll encounter challenges. But you’ll grow and they can make life better, not worse.

Because this is how God designed marriage:

Yep, you’ll fight, because you’re human and sinful.

But you’ll also grow in intimacy and trust, tackle immense problems, make major moves together.

You’ll take turns being strong, leading and following.

You’ll learn to confess your sins, and forgive each other.

You’ll find healing for wounds old and new.

You’ll follow God together and see how he leads you both.

You’ll craft a life together.

If you choose to let pressure push you together:

Marriage has its challenges, but it also keeps getting better.

New circumstances reveal our priorities. And our choices further shape our character.   

A while ago, my mom started saying something to people on their birthdays, and when they were looking at the future.

“The best is yet to come.”

Whether you take that in a really long-term sense (death and resurrection), or acknowledging that even lousy seasons of life have an end-date?

That’s a good word any day, for any one.

Just you wait. The best is yet to come.

(After I wrote this I joined the Love Grows Mutuality Synchroblog happening today – it happened to fit in quite nicely with the theme!)

Rachel Heston-Davis, who put it together, also has some great thoughts on being a child of the 80s and using technology over on her blog right now.)

just you wait

4 Replies to ““Just you wait…” The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage”

  1. I liked the analogy of the supercomputer/factory, etc. where you’re activating different facets when different challenges come at you. And I think a mark of a good relationship is when one partner is having trouble activating that part, the other helps them until they’re able, and then continues to walk alongside them as they grow.

    We’ve gotten a lot of the ‘just you wait’ through the years too (11 for us this June!), but I’ve always been pretty excited about the ‘just you wait’ time…excited to see how my husband will be/look when he’s matured that much more, how much we’ll have changed and grown together, how much our kids will have grown as we learn together…

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Anniversary 🙂

  2. […] Just You Wait….the biggest lesson I’ve learned in 10 years of marriage by Meredith Broug… […]

  3. Thank you for writing this! It’s exactly what I needed to hear.
    Since getting married 10 years ago, I have been absolutely baffled by the number of people who want to convince you that life is miserable. I have noticed–with a great deal of concern, actually–that most people seem to totally discount the choices that we as individuals can make to help alleviate the stress of different situations.
    In some instances, it becomes a martyr complex; someone would rather complain and look like a hero than make some simple changes.
    But I think more often–especially for women–there’s this guilt telling us that there’s only 1 way to do life, 1 way to parent, 1 way to balance career and family…and if that way doesn’t work, a woman assumes she’s just doomed, because making a different choice would be wrong or sinful somehow.
    As someone with OCD who tends to get over-focused on worries, it has been extremely damaging to me to live in our culture of “Just you wait.” For anxious people, it’s vitally important that we believe we can make choices about our circumstances, because we can spiral down into panic so quickly. It’s hard not to be resentful of other people when they say “Just you wait…” because it implies that you won’t, in fact, have any choices. To an anxious person, we hear a MUCH worse message than what the person probably thinks they’re giving us.
    I’m rambling. Anyway, I’m right there with you, sister.

  4. We got that comment so many times! We’ve been very happily married for nineteen years and what you wrote is true in our experience as well. We’ve been through pretty much all of the ups and downs you listed (and a few more). It’s drawn us closer to each other and closer to Christ.

    Thank you for linking this up to the synchroblog! I’m glad I found it and you!

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