Twenty-five things I've learned as a wife

Originally Appeared in : 9917-8/15/19

Paul and I are about to celebrate our 25th anniversary of getting married. That is just mind– blowing. In honor of this blessed, special, humbling occasion, I’d like to reflect on a few things I’ve learned in my years as a wife.


1. Love hurts. I don’t know why that’s the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s true. Love hurts because it costs everything.


2. The best way to love is to love extravagantly and wholeheartedly. Let it cost everything. Let it hurt, in a good way. Love in a way that makes you a better person, focusing less on what it costs you and more on what you give.


3. Don’t look for faults in your spouse. In the words of one of my very best friends, when we were talking about our husbands years ago, “you get what you get.” Which means, there will always be something that your spouse could do better (and the same with you). Oh well. 


4. Focus on the good. What do you love about your spouse? Let him know.


5. Be stingy with criticism. Don’t be afraid to be honest, but make sure you aren’t so honest all the time about all things that you become someone who isn’t that pleasant to live with.


6. Practice self care. When you are caring properly for yourself (not being a ragged–out, exhausted martyr) it makes you easier to be around. Your spouse will appreciate this greatly. It will also make it easier to be stingy with criticism.


7. Pray together.


8. Pray for each other.


9. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger — unless you are too tired to think straight. Too many times early in our marriage did I try to hash out some misunderstanding or hurt before falling asleep. Then I would make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s okay to say “to be continued, I love you, goodnight” because many times when you wake up you can’t remember what the fuss was all about.


10. Have a mentor, or a counselor or a wise, older couple who can talk you through the rough times. We have benefitted from the wisdom and support of these people who’ve helped Paul and me as we navigate married life.


11. Have fun together.


12. Find good friends who support you in your walk. A faithful friend is indeed a sturdy shelter. If you want a healthy marriage, spend time with people who have that same goal. We are so very blessed in this regard.


13. Be open to life. Don’t fear your fertility; respect it. Children are a gift and are the best and also — the Church teaches that you are free to use your wit and intellect to postpone (even indefinitely) children. We love our six children, and the almost six–year gap between babies number four and five kept me sane.


14. Just because the thrill is gone doesn’t mean you are busted. The thrill really will come back. Sometimes it just gets overshadowed by life. Be patient.


15. Be for one another. Be each other’s biggest cheerleader and greatest ally. You are on the same team. Remember that.


16. This is especially true if children come along. Be a united front, or they will destroy you (kidding, mostly).


17. “In good times and in bad” is a real thing. But sometimes neither of those will be what you expect. Get in the habit of being committed, and you will weather the storms.


18. “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” Really ask yourself that.


19. Make time for each other. Get something on the calendar if you have to. It is so easy to become business partners who are just getting the job done, which can be a dangerous way to live.


20. Make time for your relationship with God. When you are in a good place spiritually, you have so much more to offer those around you — especially your spouse.


21. Practice gratitude. Thank your spouse for as much as you can — for your life together, for the kind things he does, for the simple act of getting up and living life. What a blessing.


22. Don’t overshoot your headlights. Marriage is for the long haul, but it’s all about dealing with this moment right now. 


23. Keep a short list of grievances. Forgive and move on. Don’t bring up past hurts, and if you haven’t dealt with the hurt, do that. Bring in a trusted friend, or go to counseling if you can’t move past something. 


24. Recognize the incredible gift that marriage is. What an amazing thing to be committed to someone and say “no matter what, we are together.”


25. Remember that marriage is a vocation — isn’t that amazing? God is using this incredible, sometimes challenging, beautiful thing to help me become a saint. What an honor to accept this task.


Happy anniversary, Pauly. Thank you for being a humble, loving, caring person who makes married life so fun. I’m so happy you are mine.


Rachel Balducci is a wife and mother of six. She and her husband Paul are members of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Augusta, GA. Her latest book, Make My Life Simple, is available on Amazon.

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