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I took this letter as a sign from God that He never meant for His children to face anything alone. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could tell us how things are going to be each time we enter a new situation in life? “Why didn’t anyone tell me it was going to be like this? If you’re reading this book before you get married, congratulations!In His grace, He brings people into our lives who are walking in our very shoes. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Praise God for the spirit of unity among newly married women. My friend Abigail gave birth to her first child two weeks ago. You have your very own resource to tell you how marriage is going to be! And chances are if it’s an I-just-got-married-and-I’m-clueless sort of thing, then thousands of women are experiencing the same thing as we speak.

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So if you wake up some days completely unable to wrap your mind around the fact that you are a married woman with your very own home and your very own husband, never fear. I had been feeling discouraged—all alone—my first Christmas as a married woman. had gotten married in May, and I hadn’t seen her since.

When a holiday newsletter arrived in the mail, God knew it was just what I needed to lift my spirits. Reading between the lines of her letter, I felt as if I were at a support group for newlyweds and found a kindred spirit. “It is exam time for Andy, so I have been delegated the honorable job of writing our very first Christmas letter.” Just change “Andy” to “Gabe,” and I could use this very sentence!

Sets of sheets—still in the package—stacked in her bedroom closet, mismatched furniture—Mom and Dad’s castoffs—in the living room, the freezer stocked with Totino’s “combination” party pizzas.

A sparkling new coffeemaker, can opener, and toaster. Our kitchen table was a steal at $40—with four wobbly chairs thrown in the deal.

A pile of wedding gifts to return, a stack of partially written thank-you notes, a spare bedroom decorated with a hodgepodge of everything that didn’t match the rest of the décor. Our first apartment was a total throwback—straight out of the ‘70s—with dark wood-paneled walls in the living room, mustard yellow and olive green wallpaper in the kitchen, gray paneling in both bedrooms, brown shag carpet, and mustard-colored sink, toilet, tub, and linoleum. Our bed and dresser were $100 together—and actually quite beautiful.

Our end tables and lamps were and —castoffs from a funeral home.

And we each contributed some furniture from our parents’ homes. Even if I never once used my wok, my cappuccino maker, or my electric knife, just owning them made me feel like a real cook, a real wife. We often think no one understands what we’re going through, but that is not true.

Whether you moved straight from your parents’ home to the home you now share with your husband, or you’ve lived as a single gal for years and years, adjusting to being married takes time. No problem we face or sin we struggle with is unique.

You’ll even forget what life was like in your “old country”! Marriage is much more complex than we realize when we’re dating.

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