1. Your wedding day isn’t the most important day of your life.
Although I sort of knew this before hand, it’s easy to get carried away. Your wedding day is…a day. It’s special, but it’s just one day. I wish we kept things smaller and more intimate like we had originally planned and sometimes I even wished we eloped. I think of all of the energy I put into planning and choosing color schemes and all of the money spent and I imagine all of the things I could’ve put that time and money into instead.
2. The small problems in the beginning only get bigger with time.
It’s easy to overlook small problems especially in the beginning when everything is blissful and filled with lust. It’s so easy to sweep things under the rug when things are brand-spanking-new. If a problem reoccurs again and again, it needs to be fixed or else it’ll only get more problematic as time goes on. Do you hate the way his mother speaks to you? Or perhaps you hate that she’s always running late? Imagine dealing with that for the rest of your life. Take my advice, and work on the big and small things before your wedding day. Don’t take old problems into a new chapter of your life.
3. Compromise isn’t always going to be an option.
Let’s face it, life is not a sitcom and coming to mutual solution isn’t always possible. You’re going to have to learn to let some things go or if not, learn that things will not always work in your favor.
4. You’re going to go through growing pains.
I thought we were full-fledged-adults when my husband and I got married at 26. But no one talks about how much growth and change is still ahead even after you say “I do”. Careers change, paths change, jobs and friends come and go. You both will learn hard lessons and learn more about yourselves and each other. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.
5. The first year of marriage is a big adjustment, but far from the hardest.
My husband and I lived together while we were planning our wedding so a lot of the adjustments already took place before our wedding day. But, for some, the first year can be a learning curve. Even so, sorry to say, but the first year is far from the hardest. Usually, you’re still in the honeymoon phase and most problems are solved quickly. It’s the years ahead when the honeymoon phase has faded and you’re sleep deprived parents who have to schedule sex when things tend to get a little bumpy. It’s after you’ve gotten comfortable and fall in a rut. It’s when you start to notice how loud he chews or how messy she is.
6. Things can get predictable and boring.
Yes, even if you have regular date-nights. Yes, even if you’re soulmates. Things become so comfortable and so predictable that it can get boring. You could also start taking your partner for granted because things seem safe. Relationships need stimulation and need to evolve.
7. You need space to grow.
As I’ve gotten older, having alone time has become increasingly difficult. But it’s so necessary. Sometimes you just need to reconnect with the part of yourself that existed way before you became someone’s spouse or someone’s parent.
8. It’s not “You VS Me” it’s “You and I VS the problem”.
A lot of couples make the mistake while arguing that it’s a battle that needs to have a clear winner. No, whatever you two are going through is a problem that needs solving. Instead of looking at it like it’s your partners problem, look at it as a problem you both need to find a solution to. Getting defensive, shouting, or pointing the finger does nothing but escalate the situation.
9. Making up and coming to a solution are two very different things.
Just because you have make-up sex or just because you’ve put your pride to the side and start snuggling on the couch, it doesn’t mean things are okay. A lot of couples argue passionately only to become silent when things cool down. Making up doesn’t mean you’ve come to a solution. Sometimes my husband and I would get so tired of fighting we’d just go back to normal after a few days even though one or both of us still felt hurt, angry, or unsatisfied with something.
10. Having children will not always bring you two closer together.
If I’m honest, my husband and I thought having a daughter would make us this complete family of three. We were going through a lot at the time, dealing with family issues and a death in the family and needed something good to happen. And although children are a blessing and I feel incredibly lucky to be a mom, becoming parents has tested our relationship like nothing else ever has. Nothing went as planned, they rarely ever do. I went from being a business owner to a stay-at-home mom and the dynamic of our relationship changed completely. We had no idea how unprepared we really were and how hard things would get. It’s still a battle to navigate around parenthood and to find a way to make my marriage work.
11. Not all families blend together perfectly.
You may not get along with all of your in-laws and neither will your spouse and vice versa. And even if you do, traditions may differ. Blending family time between yours and your spouses may not be as easy and sometimes you’ll have to make hard decisions. Like, who will you guys spend Christmas with? Or how do you start your own family traditions without your family or theirs feeling left out? How do you deal with a family member you cannot stand but have to see often? These are real life situations that do happen.
12. Marriage is not 50/50.
In a perfect world everything from chores to money would be split down the line evenly. But, life isn’t perfect. There will be something you’re better at and somethings your spouse is better at. You may find yourself paying more bills while your spouse does more chores. Having a discussion about finances, budgets, goals, and chores is so vital. My husband and I have clear expectations and we know who takes care of what chores and what bills.
13. Love is not enough.
I wish I could say that all we needed was love to make a marriage work, but it’s not true. There’s so much that goes into a healthy and long lasting relationship. Ultimately, I’ve learned, the secret to a happy marriage cannot be summed up in one line and it’s far more complex than we’d like to believe. It takes a lot of work.
14. Though you’ll probably always love your spouse, you will not always feel like you’re “in love” with them.
You may not want to admit it or even think of it, but you won’t always feel like you’re madly in love with your spouse. Relationships go through seasons. There have been times where I felt like we were stuck in winter. I wanted to be alone and didn’t feel like we were the same people anymore. We drifted apart and things were kind of…bad. You’ll have ups and downs, it doesn’t mean things are over. If you work at it, you’ll fall in love with each other again and again over the course of your life.
15. Just as in life there are “mid-life crisis” so are they in marriages.
The middle of marriage has been said to be the hardest. What’s the middle exactly? It’s after the honeymoon phase has faded, it’s after the you’ve exited the fog of being new parents, it’s when things have gotten comfortable and predictable. I’m not quite there yet, but I totally see why this happens. Life can get away from us when we’re just trying to survive. We do what’s easiest because we’re tired and busy. Our marriages feel so safe and guaranteed that we sometimes stop putting work in, and before you know it, in the middle of your marriage you’re both strangers.
16. Be wary of the relationship advice you receive.
Not everyone wants to see your marriage succeed. Be careful who you ask for advice and be wary of complaining about every single problem you have in your marriage. People are more likely to remember the bad than the good and they’ll likely remind you of it too.
17. It’s not your job to make your spouse happy.
Although being in love and feelings loved is a part of what makes most of us happy, it’s not your job to make your spouse happy. You cannot solve all of their problems and you cannot be the only source of their happiness. The truth is, making yourself happy is what’s most important. Of course it’s important that we show affection, support, and love but do not expect to be everything your spouse may need. You cannot fix someone’s depression for example.
18. You cannot change your spouse.
If your spouse does or says something that you disagree with or something that hurts you, let them know. Talking about is the only thing you can truly do. If they continue, you should not try to change them. Thinking that your actions or words can force someone to change into what you want or need will leave you very disappointed. Allow them to be themselves, and perhaps on their own they will change for the better. If not, they’ve made their choice and now you need to make your own. If your spouse is cheating on you, it’s not your job to monitor where they’ve been or where they’re going for example.