My Biggest Mistake as a Newlywed

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

How Personal Quiet Time Protects Our Marriages

By: Naomi Vacaro

If you’re married, you know that a relationship with a spouse is unlike any other relationship on earth. There’s nothing like enjoying the full-time companionship of another human! However, marriage was never meant to be our ultimate source of satisfaction, and we run into problems when we expect our spouse to fulfill our every need and desire. This is when dissatisfaction inevitably arrives. We may think we’ve picked the wrong person when our spouse fails or disappoints us, and we can easily start blaming them for not measuring up or even begin looking for satisfaction in other places. Then instead of being a source of love and help to our significant other, we become the discouraging voice of unmet expectations.

I made a similar mistake when I was a young wife.

Five months after getting married, Matt and I experienced World War III right in our living room. It wasn’t really a “fight,” per se, but an evening filled with hurt feelings, raised voices, and lots of tears. The worst part about this emotional explosion was that it was all my fault.

Almost immediately after starting our married life together, I had unconciously started critiquing Matt’s flaws more than I praised his merits. He didn’t walk with the Lord as closely as I thought he should, and I wanted him to be a certain kind of husband— to read his Bible and pray like I did, and to be the “spiritual leader” in our marriage. As a result, I became the nagging and quarrelsome wife talked about in Proverbs 21:9. Increasingly, our home became filled with the tension of my unmet expectations.

At first, Matt tried to comply and be the husband I wanted him to be. He strained to develop spiritual disciplines overnight and eventually exhausted himself beneath the weight of my regular criticisms. After five months, he just couldn’t do it anymore. In a fit of exasperation, he let out all of his pent-up hurt and frustration. We argued and cried until long after the sun went down, and by the end of the evening, I finally saw how terribly I’d been treating him. I was horrified to realize that my unrealistic expectations were making Matt feel like a constant failure. Instead of being my husband’s helpmate and encourager, I’d become his critic and “coach” (a husband’s worst nightmare). That evening was a painful but necessary wake-up call for me.

Though I hadn’t done so consciously, I had wrongly assumed responsibility for molding and shaping my husband’s character. Thankfully, after my wrong mindset came to light, Matt and I were able to start healing our relationship, and I used my newfound understanding to love my husband better. I came to understand that God cared about Matt more than I did and that my quickness to criticize him and slowness to pray for him revealed my own lack of faith in God’s power to change my husband.

My job as a wife was not to be the Holy Spirit for Matt but to love and support him as I remained close to Jesus myself. Although I still had hopes for Matt to grow in his walk with God, I now took those desires to the Lord. I also began to focus my interactions with Matt on what I loved about him instead of what I thought he was missing. I offered constructive criticism only when he directly asked for it. I also tried to leave our differences at the foot of the Cross.

As this became our new normal, we started to enjoy each other more than ever. What’s more, the Holy Spirit began to work in both of us in ways that surpassed my wildest hopes. In the years since that emotional evening in our apartment, I have witnessed how graciously the Lord answers the prayers of a wife. As I have humbled myself, surrendered control, and left my husband’s development to the Holy Spirit, God has answered prayer after prayer.

Truly friends, there is no better way to protect and nurture your marriage than by spending time in the Lord’s presence! More often than not, our marriage problems are not caused by our spouse’s deficiences but our personal lack of close relationship with God.

A regular, joy-filled, intimate relationship with Jesus helps us to keep marriage in its proper place. If we look to Christ as our ultimate fulfillment and joy, we won’t be dismayed by the disappointments and frustrations of marriage. It may sound simple, but if we really want to protect our marriages from the seductions of sin and remain faithful to our spouses in body, mind, and soul, then we ought to start by establishing and maintaining a daily quiet time with Jesus.

So if you want a better marriage this year, start with prayer. No marriage can fail in which both husband and wife are making Jesus their truest delight and utmost treasure.


Naomi grew up as a missionary kid in Outer Mongolia before moving to Central Florida at the age of 18. After graduating with a degree in graphic design, she started a photography business and worked as a wedding photographer for 4 years. Naomi married Matthew Vacaro in 2017 and in 2020 they welcomed their firstborn son, Cove into the world and last May, they welcomed their daughter, Haven.

In early 2018 Naomi created a journal called the Quiet Time Companion and founded Wholehearted, an online community of women committed to encouraging each other in their daily walk with Jesus. Now Naomi fills her days with mothering, homemaking, writing, and leading the Wholehearted community.


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