My husband and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary next week. It’s amazing how the years have flown by!

We have recently been asked to facilitate a group at our church for young married couples (with less than five years of marriage). We are excited about the opportunity to share and pour into these young couples.

We’re preparing the curriculum calendar for the year and it’s been fun to think about what topics to discuss with these newlyweds. As I think back to when I was a newlywed, there’s so much I didn’t know that I know now with 13 years of marriage under my belt.

Here’s some of my best advice to these couples:

  • Leave and cleave. This is an adjustment for sure, but God designed for this process to happen for the benefit of your marriage. Make sure you’re becoming your own family unit and making it a priority over your family of origin.
  • How you’re raised affects your relationship style and how you handle conflict. Dig into your past and figure out why you do what you do. Take the time to understand your spouse’s upbringing, it will give you insight into why he acts the way he does. Sometimes when you fight, a reaction isn’t about you or him, but about triggers from the past. Communicate and find solutions together.
  • Don’t get into debt. Spend less and save more. Do your budget and pay your bills together.
  • When you’re in a fight, don’t fight against your spouse, but fight for your marriage. Satan loves to steal, kill and destroy; don’t let him mess with your marriage by dividing you. When conflict comes up, because it will, remembering that you’re on the same team with your spouse will help you fight for unity.
  • Be honest about your past, about your temptations and struggles. The earlier the better! Shame and guilt have a way of affecting us the longer we have unresolved issues. Once we speak about them and share our heart with our spouse, we can begin the path to healing.
  • Check in with each other every day. Send a text or call during work hours and have a catch-up time every evening on how the day went.
  • Have more sex. Just like many things in marriage, sexual intimacy is something that evolves and matures over time. God designed sex as a beautiful gift for married couples and you are the only person who can fulfill your spouse’s sexual needs and them yours. Don’t view it as an obligation, but as a gift. Find romantic and creative ways you can enjoy this special aspect of marriage.
  • Get away together at least once a year. Do something special every anniversary.
  • Do sweet things for each other regularly. It could be a simple as making her coffee or buying his favorite snacks.
  • A baby changes everything. Once you have kids, ask family or find a reliable babysitter to watch the kids so you can get out on a regular basis. Don’t neglect this! It’s so easy to not make it a priority, but your marriage needs to thrive, not just survive these child-rearing years.
  • Have fun together! Find activities you love doing together and make time for them.
  • Enjoy the journey. Life is busy and messy and being a family is hard sometimes (whether or not you decide to have kids). Take the time to cherish the mundane and the magical of married life every day. Pretty soon, you’ll be here writing your own words of wisdom after 13 years of marriage.