When the First Year of Marriage Isn’t What You Expected

I reached out to a newly married couple in our church to find out how they would answer the question, “What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first year of marriage that you totally didn’t expect?” Ali was so very transparent and honest about how an old hurt caused intimacy issues in her marriage to Evan. Read just how our “I Still Do” marriage series came at just the right time for them.



When Evan and I got engaged I just kept thinking that as soon as we got married everything would be wonderful. This idea was false and the realization of that came before our honeymoon even ended.

 “Marriage doesn’t cause problems, it brings them out into the open.” I heard this quote from RIck Warren on the radio recently and it has stuck with me ever since, and for us it was the truth.

 Over the past 3 months Evan and I have gone through a much rougher patch than I ever anticipated. I was going through my first trimester of pregnancy and having nausea. While physically that was challenging what was going on emotionally and mentally was a much bigger problem. No matter how many good thoughts I had about Evan, or how often I prayed and begged God to help me be loving, respectful, and receptive to my husband, I still would get this intense anger and irritability inside me whenever he was around. To suppress it was excruciating for me and it seemed my insides were going to explode out of me. If I chose not to suppress it then Evan would be the victim of strong verbal attacks, or I would just push him away if he came near me at all.

When Evan was at work and Abram (our son) was napping I would cry and pray and I felt like a terrible wife. All of these emotions led to more feelings of condemnation. I would think to myself, “Here we are only 6 months into marriage and I can’t even love my husband correctly!”

 I felt defeated and nothing I did worked. I reached out to mutual friends of ours about my irritability and the fact that it was literally uncontrollable. They prayed over me but nothing changed. I completely broke all ties between me and ex-boyfriends but to no avail. Evan and I would sit down and talk but still I felt no change. My grandma, who is my spiritual mentor, prayed over me, but I still felt so defeated. All I could do was pray and read the Bible and many other Christian books to keep me going, all while feeling as though I was destined to feel this way forever.

 Then one day I picked up my next book to read. It was called “Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging.” That night the thought just came to me to look up information about intimacy issues. As I read online about these issues tears streamed down my face. I had almost every symptom regarding intimacy issues. It was a painful realization, but at the same time I was relieved to have an answer. Knowing my problem wasn’t a character flaw or a moral flaw, but in fact was an actual issue caused by a trauma I went through during my last pregnancy with Abram gave me hope. Abram’s biological father left me for another woman on my due date with no warning. This old hurt caused a wall to be built inside me by my subconscious to protect me from getting hurt again, but God has started removing that wall.

 When I informed Evan of this information he was supportive and loving and promised we would get through it together. The next week at church we started the “I Still Do” marriage series. God revealed what was wrong at the perfect time. Healing is already taking place in me and I have been realizing Evan is God’s gift to me to help me go through this healing process. Getting through the intimacy issues are not easy though. In fact, each step towards Evan feels heavy and painful, like I’m pushing on a wall, and I almost always cry with each move. It’s not easy for Evan either as loving me takes a selfless, gentle, compassionate man, but that’s exactly what he is. I praise God for the gift of my husband.

 We both are seeing progress in our intimacy now, slowly but surely. I know complete healing will come. And that quote by Rick Warren saying marriage brings problems into the open is so true. I already had this intimacy issue, but marriage revealed it and now provides me with the safety for healing it. God is so good.

AUTHOR: Nate Siemon
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