The wedding was more wonderful than I could have imagined, the honeymoon was glorious, and even coming back to reality was new and exciting. And here I am, penning my first piece as a married woman. I thought I’d reflect on the first few weeks of wedded life. If I had to sum it up in three words, I’d choose the following:

Loved

One thing I can tell you – “married bliss” is a real thing. I realise that there will be bad days and tough times, but the first few weeks have definitely been filled with all things idyllic. For me, there came the realisation that my husband really did love me. I mean, I already knew he loved me before we got married, but I felt the realisation all over again in the first few days of wedlock – as he saw me in all my imperfection and all my lack of virtue, and still chose to bring me back home with him rather than leave me back in the Caribbean (where we honeymooned).

Natural

Married life brings with it a lot of change, and I think I almost expected a rude awakening about how difficult it was all going to be. But honestly, it was the most natural thing! I’m so glad that we got as much spiritual and mental preparation as we could in the lead-up to the wedding, because I think it’s really paying off now – helping us to understand the commitment that we’ve made and the future that we’re embarking on, and so slip into marriage life in a more effortless way.

New

If you only even take one piece of advice from me, let it be this – don’t live together before getting married! I have friends who have cohabited pre-marriage, and in that context, the wedding was just a big party – you kind of lose the understanding of its meaning and the beauty of the commitment! Having not lived with my husband beforehand, everything is now new and exciting and full of hope for the future – which I wish everyone could experience. I know people will suggest that you should “try before you buy” – what a completely degrading and objectifying thing to say – but honestly, living with any person in the whole wide world is an adjustment – if you love someone, you should be willing to make it work.

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.