Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

An Open Letter to Young Wives

Posted on Mar 1, 2017 by Lisa Ricard Claro   26 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth

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In today’s ridiculous environment of instant gratification and Play-Doh stocked safe spaces—neither of which prepares young people for the real world, by the way—too many new couples think marriage is disposable, and they’re ready to cut and run at the first sign of trouble. I’ve lately come into contact with a number of young wives jumping into matrimonial waters with no clue what real marriage truly entails. So . . .

Get over yourselves, girls, and understand these hard, Naked Truths:

It is not your husband’s job to make you happy. It is his job to love you, cherish you, and want the best for you. Being happy? That’s up to you.

It is not your husband’s job to agree with you when he thinks you’re wrong or to support you when you pull out your crazy. It is his job to love you, cherish you, and want the best for you in spite of his opinion of your behavior. And guess what? He can love you, cherish you, and want the best for you and still think you’re wrong, all at the same time.

It is not your husband’s job to throw his family under the bus just because you’ve decided they annoy you. They’re family, which means they probably annoy him, too. But when you put him in a position of having to choose between you, you are not doing your job, which is to love him, cherish him, and want the best for him. Suck it up, buttercup, and play nice. Do it because you love him even if you don’t love them.

It is not your husband’s job to cater to your every whim. It is his job to love you, cherish you, and want the best for you while maintaining his self-respect and appreciating you as an equal partner.

Now, to all of the above, switch it from husband to wife, because those truths cut both ways. What is true for one of you is true for both of you. Or as my mama used to say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

A few years ago a young soon-to-be wife told me she hoped her marriage would be like mine: long, loving, and happy. I smiled and said, “There’s no reason it can’t be.” What I didn’t tell her was the rest of the sentence:

There’s no reason it can’t be, as long as you’re prepared to work hard for it through every moment of its existence.

Supporting one’s marriage is sometimes one of the most impossible things to do, because throwing it away at the first sign of trouble is the path of least resistance. Young people are conditioned to believe they should leave a situation if it doesn’t make them happy. Got news for you, buttercup—happiness isn’t a guarantee of marriage, it’s a byproduct. A long, loving, happy marriage comes at a steep, steep price, requiring that you offer generous amounts of the following on a daily basis:


Sacrifice, when you think you have nothing left to give.

Compromise, when you think you’re right and he’s wrong.

Cooperation, when you think you’d rather go it alone.

Communication, when you think there’s nothing left to say.

Compassion, when you think it is undeserved.

Forgiveness, when you think it hasn’t been earned.

Apology, when you think you have nothing to be sorry for.

Tenacity, when your grip is slippery and it would be easy to let go.


That’s the short list. The whole list is longer than that, pages and pages longer, but those are the biggies.

Nothing worth having comes without cost, and no one achieves a long, loving, happy marriage without developing scar tissue along the way—deep, thick, and copious scar tissue. The good news is that for every disaster you weather together, your bond will strengthen. And the more you do it, the better you become at it. Life and love are messy, but the longer you’re together, the easier it is to adjust the sails and stay the course.

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So, it isn’t the easy days and good times that build the bonds to support your marriage. Nope. The happy times are a blessing and a byproduct. What strengthens your marriage the most are the disasters and the messes, the insurmountable circumstances you prove are not insurmountable as long as you scale them together.

That’s what makes a long, loving, and happy marriage.

Don’t end it without putting up a fight to keep it strong, and that means Sacrifice, Compromise, Cooperation, Communication, Compassion, Forgiveness, Apology, Tenacity, and hundreds of other things that don’t come easy and might make you bleed. If you can’t offer those things with a loving heart, then don’t expect to reap the benefits.

The hard, Naked Truth:

If walking away from your marriage is easy to do, then you never deserved it in the first place.


****AN IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Abusive situations are a different animal. If your partner is abusive, get the hell out NOW. Don’t wait, and don’t look back. Abuse is never okay and should not be tolerated.


Thanks for following my rant. Do you agree? Disagree? What’s YOUR Naked Truth? Please leave a comment.


Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last, Love to Believe, or Love to Win in eBook or print, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Black Opal Books, or Kobo. Or just click the book cover on the sidebar. That works too. And autographed copies are available for purchase on my home page. 🙂

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26 Responses to "An Open Letter to Young Wives"

  1. Comment by Pat
    March 1, 2017 at 8:30 am  

    Totally agree. Staying married isn’t easy, but definitely worth the effort.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm  

      Young couples don’t understand that the good stuff takes a while to achieve.

  2. Comment by Stephanie Trietsch
    March 1, 2017 at 9:48 am  

    Well said!!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm  

      Thanks, Stephanie!

  3. Comment by Terry Lynn Thomas
    March 1, 2017 at 10:05 am  

    Agree times 100. Well said.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 1, 2017 at 5:04 pm  

      Thank you. 🙂

  4. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    March 1, 2017 at 10:13 am  

    I blame rom-coms and Disney’s messing around with the classics. 🙂

    But yeah, a good marriage doesn’t just happen. Love does.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 1, 2017 at 5:04 pm  

      Now that’s quotable!

  5. Comment by Mark
    March 1, 2017 at 10:59 am  

    Great article Lisa 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm  

      Thanks, Mark.

  6. Comment by Alana
    March 1, 2017 at 6:11 pm  

    I mostly agree (and have been married 42 years) except for one point – about in law family issues. You state (correctly) an abusive partner should never be tolerated. There can be abuse on the in law level, too – I would say that if there was any hint of verbal abuse (true verbal abuse) directed at you or your children, or any type of behavior that seems inappropriate (touching, or worse) that same disclaimer applies and you should not “suck it up” No abusive behavior should EVER be tolerated and you may well need your spouse’s support to enforce that kind of situation with his family.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:46 am  

      Thanks for your comments, Alana. I agree that no abuse should be tolerated, regardless of where it originates, which was the reason for the caveat at the end of the post.

  7. Comment by Donna Volkenannt
    March 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm  

    Getting married is easy; staying married is hard. It takes love and sacrifice and mutual respect.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:48 am  

      So very true, Donna. Once the ceremony ends is when the real work begins.

  8. Comment by Linda Robes
    March 1, 2017 at 8:48 pm  

    Great article Lisa. I am printing this for Ksitlyn and Adsm to read when they get into s serious relationship.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:51 am  

      I know you keep wondering when that will happen, but it will. 🙂

  9. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    March 1, 2017 at 11:27 pm  

    Well said Lisa; #43 is coming up for us in April. Many of my high school friends, who married young like we did, didn’t last 5 years. Sometimes I’m not sure how we did it but we didn’t have children or serious money problems. Both of those things, as I understand it, can add a lot of stress to a relationship.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:53 am  

      Those things do add stress, you’re right. Honestly, I think anything outside of the couple’s own dynamic has the potential to add stress. The question then becomes, “How will they deal with it?” which is what makes all the difference, of course.

  10. Comment by Kaitlyn Robes
    March 2, 2017 at 9:41 pm  

    Love this! Always so good with your words 😉

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:53 am  

      Thanks. 🙂

  11. Comment by Sioux
    March 5, 2017 at 9:47 am  

    Lisa–I loved Donna’s comment. Entering into the relationship–easy. Sticking with it–hard.

    Have you thought of publishing a small “marriage handbook”? I envision it full of heartfelt suggestions/advice, some anecdotes from people you’ve talked/communicated with, sprinkled with some humor. (You could even use snippets from your romance novels. 😉

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:54 am  

      Hmmm. *tapping chin with index finger* I’ll put some thought into that!

  12. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    March 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm  

    “Happiness is a byproduct.” Such truth! I also believe expressing appreciation is crucial to a good marriage. Every young bride should be required to read this. I think we live in such a ME society: big I little you, that we seldom think of the other persons’s feelings before our own. Great post, Lisa.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 7, 2017 at 6:56 am  

      Thanks, Linda. It really is a ME society these days, and relationships are WE, which makes it a challenge for many. So worth the effort, though.

  13. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    March 9, 2017 at 5:04 pm  

    Oh Lisa. This post is just so totally wonderful. I think we live in such an instant gratification society that people head into marriage thinking it will always be perfect and happy. True marriage is very hard work, as is true happiness. There needs to be a whole lot more emphasis placed on the marriage, and a lot less on the wedding ceremony. I would add to your list of biggies mutual respect and being each other’s best friend as well. As always, I love your writing!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      March 15, 2017 at 8:35 am  

      Thanks, Theresa! And thank you for your insights.

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