Everyone and their mother has a self-help book or a blog or a program that could have helped me to help myself make my marriage a successful one. However, while I’m sure they each offered some valuable nugget of wisdom, there are a few important things they just don’t say. I wish someone had said these five things to me before my wedding day.
#1 – You will always be you, not “we”
You come to a marriage as individuals and, believe it or not, you’ll remain individuals throughout your time as a married couple. There tends to be this strange portrayal of marriage where, after saying your vows, you automatically become one being that sees, hears, and feels things the same exact way. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The essence of who you are as a person doesn’t change, nor should it. All those wonderful intricacies of your personality are what drew your partner to you in the first place and vice versa. Being true to yourself instead of morphing into a mirror image of your significant other won’t always make your marriage easy, but it’s going to make things a hell of a lot more interesting.
#2 – You won’t always feel in love
Being dedicated to one person all the time is hard. I won’t lie to you, there are days when I’d like to punch my husband in the throat. Because you still manage to be you and not “we” after marriage, it can be hard to get along some days. Most weekdays, whatever. It’s ok not to feel like your partner’s biggest fan all the time.
#3 – Nothing changes after the wedding
As much as we want to believe that marriage is this big sacred thing, it’s officially just a piece of paper and a legal status for tax purposes. A wedding day may be magical, but after all the celebration wear off it’s back to relationship as usual — no rainbows, no unicorns, no riding off into the sunset. Married people don’t get a pass on relationship struggles just because they’ve said “I do”.
While marriage is a serious and important commitment, we all know that not everyone is good at honoring their commitments. If you were in a shitty relationship before you tied the knot, you’ll end up in a shitty relationship afterwards to. Marriage is no different than a relationship you have without a ring on your finger. He’ll still snore relentlessly through the night. She’ll still obsess over dirty dishes in the sink. You’ll still have to find a reason to be in love tomorrow.
#4 – Having kids can bring you closer — if you let it
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say how they are waiting to have kids so they can have more alone time as a married couple. Alternatively, some people just think that kids ruin relationships because they make them more complicated. Certainly, the stress and responsibility of having children will take its toll on any relationship, but if you let being a parent bring you closer as a couple, it will.
There’s something amazing about creating life, and along with all the struggles comes a lot of joy. I’m convinced that nothing creates a deeper bond with your partner than guiding your little ones and watching them grow into wonderful people together. If you can make it a priority to support one another, to give more than you take, and to present a united front with your kids, the whole parenting gig will make your marriage a stronger one.
#5 – Time served doesn’t matter
You can bet that you’ll turn a few heads when you announce your engagement after only six months of dating. While it’s absolutely advisable to really know the person you plan on dedicating your life to, you can’t know everything. We all grow and change and become different versions of ourselves over time — which means there’s no “time served” quota for dating that will make your marriage a good one. Sometimes when you know, you know. Whether you’ve been together for ten months or ten years before walking down the aisle, the only thing that will determine how successful your marriage will be is how much you and your partner are willing to work at it.
There’s a ton of marriage advice floating out there in the world, but it’s these type of things that I wish someone had told me. Being married is pure joy and pure madness all at once. There’s almost no wrong way to do it, but knowing this kind of stuff ahead of time can really help you to do it right.