Today’s guest post is from Trisha Davis. Trisha and her husband Justin are the founders of RefineUs Ministries. They’re also the authors of Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough. You can see Trisha and Justin live Oct. 11-13 at LifeWay’s Marriage Getaways event!

Justin and I got married the summer before his senior year in college. We were 21 and 20 years old, respectively. Four months after we got married, I got pregnant. We loved God and loved each other, so we thought our marriage would be amazing.

We didn’t know what we didn’t know about marriage. So today, I want to share with you five things I wish I knew before we got married.

We hope these things are helpful to you as you prepare for marriage or as you grow in your marriage.

1. Doing everything the “right way” in MY marriage won’t fix all the brokenness of my past.

As I mentioned, Justin and I married young. For the most part, we both grew up in homes (though sometimes dysfunctional) knowing that we were loved and that our parents loved each other. My parents separated two years after I got married and soon after divorced. It rocked the foundation of everything I knew marriage to be. I was naive of the real struggles my parents were facing and refused to come to terms with my own brokenness. This fueled a very unhealthy fire in me to do “everything right” in MY marriage so that NOTHING would go wrong.

2. Love is a choice; not a feeling.

Have you ever looked at an elderly couple that still hold hands and look upon your spouse with complete endearment and wonder, “How do I get that?” What I have learned is that love is not an emotion but rather a choice. Love is not about choosing each other but rather a daily choice to choose God. When I love Justin through my emotions and feelings alone, I am left most of the time disappointed. But when I choose to love God and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt me in how to love Justin, amazing intimacy takes place; the crazy kind of love that even in your old age makes you reach out for the hand of your spouse and with just a look communicates, “I love you.”

3. Physical intimacy WILL BE CONFUSING!

Regardless if you knew a lot about sex going into your marriage or not, it’s one of the most confusing parts of marriage. Sex is not just about attraction but also a deep spiritual connection like nothing else on the planet. It is as much a physical need as it is a spiritual need, so why is it so hard to completely understand? Why is it that one seems to long for sex way more than the other? Why is it that one seems to never long for it at all?

I wish I knew before Justin and I got married how a man’s body is designed — that sex is TRULY a physical need and not a selfish request. That sex is just as much about an emotional need as it is a physical need. But mostly I wish I understood the beauty and irreplaceable role sex plays in growing our marriage spiritually.

4. Doing it my way isn’t always the best way.

Our son Micah was born five days after our one-year anniversary. We were learning how to do life as a team of two and, before we could figure that out, we quickly became a team of three! We both took claim of different areas of our marriage and decided that MY WAY was the BEST WAY. For us, Justin held onto our finances with an iron fist, and I was that psycho baby momma that made sure Micah was taken care of the right way… MY WAY… at all times.

God has bought us together as a team and not as opposing sides. We learned to trust each other and accepted how we each went about daily life. So I may have chosen to change Micah’s diaper sooner than Justin thought too. And maybe I didn’t balance the checkbook in a timely fashion as he did. In the end, those small details didn’t matter! What matters is that we know that we are for each other and that we are always assuming the best of each other even when our best looks very different.

5. The difference between TRUST and FEAR.

Our story would lend one to think that I have a right to live in constant fear that Justin will have another affair. Or that Justin should fear that one day I would eventually leave him because of his choices. This type of fearful thinking is so destructive. Fear says that you will not survive the fall out of losing your spouse so live in suspicion so that you can catch him or her when she messes up.

Trust says…

I am fully aware that in trusting I’m being vulnerable to being hurt (again).

Trust says…

“I am for you” and “I am thinking the best of you”… not the worst.

Trust says…

I’m going to love my spouse with reckless abandonment just as Jesus did for me when he came as a baby and died on the cross.

Trust says…

I will love my spouse without fear but with hope that the Holy Spirit will guide me as to how to love my spouse.

Trust says…

“God I will love my spouse fearlessly thinking the best of them at all times,” and “If my spouse chooses to leave me, YOU will never leave me or forsake me.”

If you’re married, what would you add to this list? 


  1. I smiled as I read this post – tomorrow August 14th, if the Lord wills, my sweet, God-fearing husband and I will celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary. There have been bumps in the road – no major discretions – just times of selfishness on both our parts. But the God we serve is greater than our own selfish wants and desires and He guides us daily to walk in His path and to love and honor each other. I am as crazy in love with my man as when we first married and I thank God daily for His blessings on us. For a happy marriage, I would say honor God and He will teach to you to honor your spouse. There is nothing sweeter than when my husband takes my hand and gives it a squeeze and says I love you. I pray God grants us many more years. I Cor 13: 4-7

  2. Trust says … that I don’t have to depend or trust my husband to do the right thing for me to be ok. Even if my husband makes mistakes, I can trust God to keep me in all things. My worth does not depend on if my husband respects me, acknowledges my accomplishments, or is everything I want a husband to be. He is human with feet of clay, like me. I just need to trust that God will work all things for my good according to His purpose.

    • That is exactly what I have been learning and how I continue to grow- when I’m frustrated about something he isn’t doing my way, I’m forced to ask myself, am I praying to God about my husband? I put so much on my man’s shoulders and if I keep doing that, he’s never going to turn to God for help. I need to be praying for protection and The Lord to shower him in love and pray for my needs to be provided by God. Thank you for your wisdom!

  3. In a marriage… the utmost important thing is Patience because that’s what Love brings. “Patience is where love meets wisdom.” Understanding that you are in the closest relationship you can have with another person who is AT LEAST as broken as you are bound to do things wrong will allow you to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Patience gives you that time to be that way. Starting and maintaining a mentality of patience reflects the Love that God has with us every day.

  4. Rick Cone says:

    Thanks Trish for your candor. You guys are very special to us!

  5. TRUST is FAITHFUL… so, when the outcome is divorce… TRUST is still seated on its FAITHFUL throne! I so love the Lord!

  6. This was just an all around good post. Whether your married or getting married, this one brings about truths that are sometimes over looked or simply ignored. Great conversation starter if you read it with your ‘significant’ other.

  7. Do you really believe that a husband who abandons his wife and family for another woman is in God’s will?
    I have a difficult time believing this…….it’s happened to so many people I know that are Christians.
    It’s truly sad…..

  8. LifeWay Women says:

    Hi, Vickie — I don’t think anyone has said that they believe that a husband who abandons his wife and family for another woman is in God’s will. But we do believe in restoration, reconciliation, and forgiveness. That’s the Gospel, and we are thankful for it!

  9. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary this past June, no not without ups and downs, but I love him more today than ever before and more than I thought possible to love anyone. I believe that only comes from learning that we are both from completely different places, different backgrounds, different parents, and different circumstances in our lives, and with that we have to remember that we are not always going to see things the same way, do things the same way, or think the same way. We have learned over the years that putting away selfishness, completely giving our marriage to God, and allowing Him to be in the center, keeps our perspective on the One true God and not ourselves. I also have learned that one of the most important things I can do as his wife is to pray daily for him. To pray for every aspect in his life. And to remember he is not perfect, and neither am I. And especially if there is an issue you are going through at the time, funny how praying for him can change not him but you. Daily, I strive to be who God wants me to be as his wife, and daily I have to ask forgiveness not always from my husband but from God, because of my imperfectness and actions. In the end, no I won’t be able to say I did everything right, but I learn from my mistakes, as does he, and respect him as the position God has placed him in, and remain thankful that God blessed me, a sinner, with the blessing He did many years ago in giving me a Godly man, and for the love that we share even when down. The article was dead on…Love is not a feeling, and when down, when arguing, not agreeing or in the valley, we chose to love each other till death do us part, not till the money is not there, the diagnosis is not what we want, or we don’t meet each others expectations, but forever. I still get butterfiles when he walks in a room, still think he is the most handsome man alive even with his aging body and gray hair, and find it amazing how as we get older, we still feel the same. Most of all above all else, allow God to grow your marriage, and be in control each day and love without conditions.

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