A question from a reader: "What are some specific things a newly married woman should be doing while keeping her home and growing her marriage before children come?"
First, I'd like to tell you how my heart rejoiced when I read this question. So many young women today would find the answer to this question obvious, without even thinking about other options. What should you be doing in your single years? Why, everything in your power to advance your career. What should you be doing when you're newly married? Keep investing in your career; don't let something as petty as your husband's needs interfere. What should you be doing when you become a mother? Grudgingly allow some attention to your children before you ship them off to daycare and return to the only thing truly worthwhile – money-making and climbing the corporate ladder.
Of course, as someone who isn't married yet, I can naturally only offer you an unmarried woman's perspective. As many of my readers already know, I believe it makes sense for a young woman to prepare for marriage. And of course it makes sense for a newlywed woman to invest in her marriage, her home, to deepen her bond with her husband, to show him their marriage is the most important thing on this earth to her, and to make sure he knows she trusts him to provide for their family.
Practically, I think there are countless things you can do to better equip yourself for marriage and homemaking. If you don't have children – for some couples this period lasts a year, for others it might last a lifetime – you might find yourself with a bit of free time on your hands. Don't squander this precious gift! There might be periods later in life when you look back at it longingly, wishing you would have managed it better.
Invest in setting a good working routine in your home, tailored to your husband's plans and needs, so that the two of you can spend plenty of quiet time together when he is home. Practice and perfect your homemaking skills; learn to make your husband's favorite dishes – I feel this is especially important if he comes from a different culture with a different cuisine.
Now is also a good time to try out creative pursuits such as sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and more exotic hobbies like making soap and candles. Try growing a vegetable garden, even if you haven't done anything like that before – just give it a try. Invest in making beautiful things for your home. Fill your home with lovely smells of cleanliness, fresh laundry, and delicious food; and most importantly, fill your home with your loving, contented presence!