One of the biggest difficulties I had adjusting to life as a wife stemmed not from the new marriage, but from the fact that I had never managed a household, something that I attribute to my age. Many of the women I know who married in their late twenties or beyond had lived alone for years, many of them owned their own homes, and they had already learned housekeeping skills. Of course, keeping house is a bit different with a husband, and later on with children, but many of the basic skills need not be relearned.
Although I hadn’t lived in my parents’ home for five years, those five years were spent very much in “college living”. I lived in the dorms the first year, and the same house the next four years while rotating through various roommates. Living with other people in a non-family setting meant that chores weren’t done regularly or with any rhyme or reason. I could cook a few decent meals, but I rarely bothered making full meals because it seemed like a lot of hassle for one person and with my busy work and school schedule, I felt my time was better spent doing something else. Looking back, it was very shortsighted of me to neglect the development of these basic skills. For some reason, I was assuming that when I said my marriage vows, I would suddenly be endowed with “wifely knowledge”. Yet over a year later, I am still struggling to keep my home clean, stocked, and welcoming.
My husband has never complained when the house was cluttered, the cupboards were bare at dinnertime, or laundry overflowed the hamper. He’s always pitched in around the house and I was incredibly lucky to marry a man that actually likes to clean. But despite his support, my lack of housekeeping skills put a great burden on me because I felt like a failure as a wife. I had a picture of how I wanted my household to run, but couldn’t make it a reality. The emotional, intellectual, and spiritual components of marriage and the blending of two lives is a difficult adjustment for any newlywed couple, and had I not had to worry so much about daily household maintenance, I would have had more attention to devote to those more important aspects.
Of course, this certainly isn’t a reason to postpone marriage. But I do want to mention it because young women can do much to prepare themselves for marriage so that they will be ready no matter when that marriage will occur. Don’t make the mistake that I did, believing either that you would have many years before marriage to learn those skills (you never know when God will send you your husband) or that you would magically pick up the housekeeping skills that take many women a lifetime to learn.
Instead, identify the women in your lives that have mastered these skills - perhaps your own mother, another family member or a friend, and ask for advice. If there is something that is difficult for you, ask for explicit instructions - although there isn’t necessarily one best way to execute a household chore, some methods are certainly better than others and they aren’t always obvious. But most of all, practice! Even if you are the only one who will see or appreciate the fruits of your labor, cook and clean as if you have an audience. If you still live at home with your family, they will appreciate the help. If you live alone or with roommates, you will be surprised by the difference that a little more care around your home may make to other areas of your life (I notice that I am much cheerier and more productive if the room I am working in is clean). And when you marry, you’ll have a little less to adjust to and more time to spend getting to know your role as wife, not just housewife.
Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my On Marrying Young series.
This post linked at