1 year on: Is marriage supposed to be this good?

by Gabriel Ong // June 30, 2020, 5:22 pm

one year on marriage - featured

Since I got married in June last year, people have asked me how it’s been going. My answer has always been the same – better than expected.

Why do I say that?

Because in the lead-up to our wedding day and even beyond, we had been hearing our fair share of well-meaning advice. Like wedding is about the ‘ring (suffering) and other corny jokes like that. 

In cautious tones, they would tell us to enjoy the honeymoon period (because it apparently doesn’t get better).

Well, by the grace of God, I want to continue having a marriage that challenges that paradigm. In fact, it’s been awesome, and increasingly more so, as each day passes.

If you’ve been following our love story, you’ll know Cheryl and I have been through a fair bit since our teenage years leading up to our three-year courtship and our marriage. And we want to give God all the thanks and praise for having recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary!

So I thought I’d reflect a little and share some of the ways we’ve grown as people, and some of the best practices we’ve found to be helpful in our marriage.


1. Be yourselves

We were being especially gross and saccharine one day when a thought popped into my head: “When exactly did we get this way?”

It dawned on me that our mannerisms and how we say things had become vastly different compared to when we first started dating.

You should have an idea of what I mean. It’s like, you’ve got a thing that’s uniquely yours in a relationship. Maybe it’s giving each other pet names, acting cute or being wacky. I know I have a friend who does all three, just saying…

Suffice to say, we have a lot of fun with each other. We’re weird people.

But, really, when you can completely let your guard down in front of the person you love – that’s something special and truly unique God has given the two of you to share.

You’ll be surprised to see just how much fun you can have as you grow together, and how much deeper in love you’ll fall over something as silly as a funny face or a dance.

So yeah, totally normal to be weird.

2. Be honest

We’ve made it a point never to have any secrets between ourselves.

Whether it’s ‘fessing up about something wrong one of us did, we’ve committed to making sure there’s nothing too big or small we can’t share with one another. 

That means no lies, ever. And even if it’s a small white lie or a white truth, we own up to it and also encourage each other to repent before God. 

You’re especially close to someone when there’s nothing to hide between the two of you.

Interestingly, this way of life has also given me some insight into intimacy with God. When we have that same clean slate with God, when we’re on the same page with Him – there’s a closeness. 

It’s the same closeness that’s missing whenever sin is present and blotting up the page. Just think of Genesis 3 when sin first came into the picture, and how that changed things between God and Adam and Eve.

All of a sudden they had things to hide from God (as if the omniscient Creator didn’t know). All of a sudden there was a distance, a gap.

Thank Jesus that He made a way for mankind to come back to God!

So always being honest is a great start, and coming clean when you aren’t is still another. Really, this same principle applies to your relationship with God. You’re especially close to someone when there’s nothing to hide between the two of you.

3. Be humble

Marriage also has a way of humbling you. You find out early on that you’re not as great a person as you thought.

It’s the short-temperedness that comes out when you’re frustrated after a long day of work, or your laziness before a mountain of chores, choosing to quietly let her do the work instead.

My point is that, eventually, a time comes where you realise you’re bad or in the wrong. And it’s humility that decides whether you’ll change for the better.

One of my favourite things about Cheryl is that she always gives it to me straight. She’s honest, even when it can be hard-hitting. And I need that.

She’ll tell me I need to step up in my walk with God, or tell me I was unkind to her – she’s willing to wound me for my holiness. 

It’s tough, but the encouragement is this: Whenever I hear a difficult word like that and am able to receive it in humility, I change more and more into the very likeness of God!

Till difficulties do us part? Staying married is hard work

Honesty needs to be met with humility. All in all, being honest and humble have helped us to toughen up. We’re growing as sensitive people who can still shoot straight and take criticism or correction well.

And lastly, never be afraid to be the first to say sorry. 

(Side-note: I don’t know if I’m remembering it right, but I think my dad used to make a joke about always having to eat humble pie when it came to relating to my mum. Well he ate so much pie that he was certainly full of love and grace – at least that’s how I remember him!)

Point is, I could quote any number of verses explaining why it’s a good thing to be humble, but it really is self-explanatory. Puffing up your chest just isn’t productive in the grand scheme of things.

The way I see it, a real and humble “sorry” is the moment we can start to work together and make things better.

So choose the right words to say when you’re next in trouble with your spouse. Life is short, so we really need to live and love well.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope what I’ve shared proves helpful for you in some way down the line.

I recognise that it’s only our first year, and we have so much more to learn with certainly many more challenges along our path. But through it all, Cheryl and I have each other, and a firm foundation in Christ.

Pray for us as we journey through life together!


  1. Do you struggle with being honest or being humble in your relationships?
  2. How is God using your relationships to bring about growth in your life?
  3. Is there someone you need to say sorry to today?
About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.