It was when I first got engaged that I realized that everybody had an opinion about marriage, irrelevant to whether they had ever been down the aisle themselves. It wasn’t just advice that they were dishing out either, but waves upon waves of jokes, which had divorce and a lifetime of unhappiness, as the punchline. For the most part though, I just ignored them. I had my own expectations about marriage and I wasn’t about to let anybody tell me that it was less than great.
The thing is though; I should have listened because I went into my marriage believing in fairy tales and then ended up waking up in a cold, harsh and boring reality that I could have stopped if only I’d of known these 20 things, before I had said “I do.”
1. Your wedding doesn’t define your marriage
When my husband first proposed to me, all I could think about was the wedding. In fact, it wasn’t until the big day had come and gone that I realized we then had our whole lives ahead of us. A wedding is a big deal and it takes a lot of preparation, but you need to remember that you have your whole lives to make things perfect, so you shouldn’t just be focusing on one day of that.
2. Forever can be a really long time
When you’re engaged and you’re planning for your wedding it can be easy to forget that it isn’t the end goal. In fact, you have your entire lives after that day to live and you need to make sure that the person you are with makes time fly not drag because otherwise forever is going to feel like, well forever to you.
3. Marriage isn’t easy a lot of the time
Before I got married I thought marriage would be like how they portray in on the television. I thought that all arguments would be settled before we went to sleep and that no matter what, our love would be the glue that would hold us together. Television makes marriage look easy and trust me, it just isn’t.
4. You don’t get to be selfish anymore
When you get engaged at some point you will hear that marriage is all about give and take. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, that is standard marriage advice. So you think to yourself, well that sounds fair and you don’t think much more about it. The thing is though that whilst a marriage is about giving and taking, that doesn’t mean you can just take what you want.
5. You’re not just marrying your partner
You know the mother in law jokes you hear? Well they come from a real place. It can be easy to let yourself think that you are just marrying your partner, but it isn’t true. You are marrying into his whole family and they are not going to go away.
6. Trust is worth more than its weight in gold
If you are going to spend a lifetime with a person, then you need to be sure that you trust them. You have no idea how tiring and emotionally draining it can be, when you don’t trust the person who you have dedicated your life to. If you have any doubts about their ability to stay faithful then you should always voice them before the marriage, so that you can work it out, before you commit to each other.
7. Distance changes nothing
Long distance relationships are becoming increasingly more common, as people spread their wings in the pursuit of better work and better lives. This can sometimes mean that you will find yourself away from your husband, but you should always remember that distance doesn’t change anything. If you find yourself tempted to seek comfort in another remind yourself that it isn’t just a cuddle you are missing, it’s the person who gives you that cuddle.
8. Saying you’re fine doesn’t make it true
We all lie and say we’re fine when we’re not sometimes, but when it comes to your marriage, you can’t do this. Marriages break all the time and it’s only the ones who focusing on fixing the breakages that end up successful in their commitments to each other. If you have a problem, then don’t shut your husband out because that will only make the problem fester and get worse. If you want your marriage to work, then you have to be truthful about the things that are bothering you, so that you can work through the issues together instead, of just harbouring resentment.
9. Forgiveness is a choice, but forgetting isn’t.
I once heard that you should be careful with your words because once they are said, they can only be forgiven and not forgotten. It’s something that I wish I had applied to my marriage from the very start, instead of letting my temper run away with me. It’s okay to get angry at your partner sometimes, but make sure you stick what has angered you, instead of calling them names or verbally degrading them.
10. Sometimes the grass looks greener
Marriage is something that can last a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that your eyes won’t wonder occasionally. It’s perfectly normal to feel attraction to people when in a marriage, but that doesn’t mean that you should act on that attraction. Remember that although the grass might look greener, you made a promise to your partner and you need to keep it.
11. You should always have a ladder handy for when you fall into a rut.
I’ve said that forever is a really long time right? Well, sometimes you end up falling into a rut. It’s easy when you’re both working all week and all you want to do is sleep over the weekend, but marriage isn’t easy and sometimes you need to force yourself to climb a ladder and get out, before your marriage starts to suffer from the symptoms of a boring life.
12. You should listen instead of waiting to talk
If you’re talking to your partner about something you disagree on, then it can be easy to just push them into the wrong zone, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right. If your partner feels strongly about something then you should listen to them, instead of just waiting to tell them why they are wrong, you might be surprised by what you actually hear if you do!
13. Your partner is a lifetime friend
If you really want your marriage to work, then you can’t just think of your partner, as your partner. They need to become everything to you. They should be your family, your partner and your best friend. You will be spending a good portion of every single day with them, so you need to make sure that you enjoy their company, as though they’re your best friend.
14. Your partner has every potential to become your worst enemy
In the early days of your relationship you will have spent those nights where you tell your partner everything about yourself. You tell them the good stuff and all the bad stuff, so that they can decide whether or not they truly want to be with you. Chances are they did and that’s why they have asked you to marry them, but that doesn’t mean that all your bad stuff has been forgotten. If your marriage hits the rocks then remember your partner knows everything about you and there is every potential that they might use that against you.
15. You will always have support
If you treat your partner right then you should always feel supported in your marriage. Having a husband or wife, is like knowing that you always have someone on your side, even if you aren’t in the right. It’s important though, that you offer the same level of support back to your partner, so that your relationship remains balanced.
16. You should love them hard every single day
You got married for a reason and that reason was love. It can be easy after a few years of waking up to the same face to take it for granted, but that’s when you have to remind yourself to love them harder. A marriage is constant part and part of that work is showing your partner that you still love them as much, as you’ve always done and always will do.
17. You should never stop trying
Sometimes life can take its toll on you and you just want to give up and climb back under your duvet. We’ve all wished that at some point we could go to sleep for a hundred years and wake up when everything is better and the hard times are over, but that doesn’t mean that we can. If your marriage feels, as though it’s taking its toll on you, then you have to try harder than ever to get it back onto the right tracks, or you’ll end up losing sleep instead of getting it.
18. Hills are hard, but the view can be great
In every marriage you will find a point where both partners feel as though, they’ve been walking up hill for as long, as they can remember. Marriages can be long and they don’t always run smoothly. It can leave you wondering whether you should just give up and walk away from it, but that’s the time to remember that although walking up the hill might be hard as long, as you do it together, then the view from the top will be spectacular.
19. When things get broken you fix them
We currently have more divorces happening every year than we ever had before, but that doesn’t mean that you have to join the statistics. We live in a disposable world now where everything can be replaced and nothing is forever, but marriage shouldn’t be like that. If you know you have problems then work to fix them. Remind yourself every day that your marriage was born out of love and don’t stop trying to recapture that.
20. Marriage can do something that love can’t
Before you get married you have a choice with every big argument you share. You can stay and fight for your relationship, or you can walk away and never see them again. This choice however is removed when you are married. If you choose to walk away, then you will have months or years of divorce hearings and settlement meetings to attend, you can’t just walk away and cut your ties like you could have done before.
This is a great thing though because sometimes in a marriage you feel like you do want to walk away. Sometimes your partner can do something so selfish or infuriating that you can wonder whether you even love them anymore, but your marriage is an invisible bond that holds you both together, even when love can’t. It’s a reminder that you both made a promise to each other to work things out and that you’ve got a lifetime that you can both do that in.
My marriage is messy and it always has been. I’m not perfect and neither is my partner, but that’s something that we have learnt to accept. When we got married we promised each other that we would share our lives together, but I don’t think you can ever truly understand the magnitude of that promise, until you are living it every day of your life.
That being said, if I’d of listened to the advice being offered, before we got married and I’d of known these 20 things, then perhaps we wouldn’t have spent so long arguing, as we walked up the hill. The thing is though, however you go through life together it’s important to remember that your marriage is a promise born from love and that promise can hold you together, even when you feel as though, all you want to do is fall apart.