Anyone who has been married can tell you that marriage can be tough. Even though my husband and I took a pre-marital course and were given advice from family and friends, there were still things that no one told us about.
So now that my husband and I are almost four years in our life journey together, here is an updated list of 10 things they don’t tell you about marriage. Please pass this along to any engaged or newly married couples you may know, and you may save them a few surprises!
#10 – You Have Different Expectations: I went into marriage expecting to be ‘wife of the year’ by doing all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry (you can say I’m a little old fashioned). And I expected my husband to do the dirty work i.e. taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, and killing all insects near the house, (you will not catch me near a spider). You will discover what role you each will take on and you will learn to communicate what you expect of each other. It’s hard to remember your spouse isn’t a mind reader and their expectations may be very different than yours. Can you imagine if my husband was afraid of spiders too? We’d be in trouble.
#9 – You May Become Your Parents: In marriage, you may find yourself executing the same habits your parents had, without even realizing it. One night, I made a ton of noise when I was cleaning the kitchen; the same way my mom used to when we were trying to sleep. And the day I uttered my dad’s famous answer to everything, “I’ll make it work,” was the day I realized I was becoming my parents. We grew up watching their habits and hearing their phrases, so naturally, we will repeat them. But just be mindful of your actions throughout your marriage and remember to take your parents’ good habits and leave the bad ones.
#8 – Communication And Compromise Is Key: Marriage is about becoming one unit, and this mentality can be a little tough to get used to. You will be making sacrifices throughout your marriage, mainly because it’s not just about you anymore; it’s all about the “we”. You are a team now and you need to constantly be on the same page. But if you communicate and compromise with one another, then both of you can be happy with the decisions that are made.
#7 – When You Become One, So Does Your Bank Account: If you and your spouse decide to put all your money into a joint bank account, all of it now belongs to both of you and you have to learn to budget EVERYTHING. This can be tough because budgeting means you have really identify what you need and cut down on buying what you want. What worked for us was filling out a budget sheet every month, and – oddly enough – actually following it. We currently use the Dave Ramsey Every Dollar app. He also has an awesome book and class you can take that may benefit you as well.
#6 – Men And Women Are Wired Differently: This particular point actually became quite clear to us after reading a daily devotional called, “The Love and Respect Experience,” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. We learned that men and women are very different in almost every aspect: emotionally, physically, sexually, etc. So when my husband didn’t ask about my day at dinner, it wasn’t because he didn’t care about me. It was because his brain is wired differently; he didn’t need to process his long day like I did. So we learned we have to communicate (refer to #8) and try to put ourselves in the other’s shoes in order to understand how the other is feeling.
#5 — When You Say ‘I Do’, You Marry The Family Too: When you get married, it’s a package deal, meaning the in-laws come along with the spouse. Therefore, it’s better to put your differences aside and try to be civil with one another. Try to find some way (any way) to keep the peace and don’t let the little things bother you. Also, remember that every family is different, so the way your in-laws act may be very different than the way you grew up. It’s not always wrong, just different; keep that in mind.
#4 – Pick Your Battles: There is a difference between a disagreement and a fight. From my experience, disagreements are more about bickering. While fights are the escalated form of a disagreement that usually includes some form of yelling at each other; perhaps a slammed door or two. My advice is to pick your battles, otherwise you’ll fight about the most ridiculous things. My husband and I’s first fight as a married couple was about boxes. Seriously, we were fighting about whether to keep the boxes or not. Just know that there will be conflicts in your marriage, but just pick your battles and aim for disagreements, not fights.
#3 – Keep Dating Your Spouse: Date nights are so important in a marriage. It’s great to have a set date each week or every other week to be with each other. It’s also important to inquire about your spouse’s interests during date nights. For example, I’ve changed my favorite color twice and my favorite movie three times since I’ve been married to my husband. My husband would’ve never known that if it wasn’t for date nights. Sometimes interests change, and dating your spouse is important so you can continue to learn about each other.
#2 – Learn to Embrace Your Spouse’s Differences: You have to remember that you are two very different people who grew up in very different homes. There are certain habits, flaws, and pet peeves your spouse will have that may be very different from what you are used to. As long as their habits aren’t hurting anyone, life will be much easier if you learn to understand and accept your spouse’s differences – instead of trying to change them. You know how hard it is to change your own behavior, even when you want to. So the pressure increases significantly when someone else wants you to change a behavior that you’d rather not. Refer to #4.
#1 – Your Spouse May Will Not Be The Same Person You Married: This is the #1 thing that they don’t tell you about marriage, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. One of the most common reasons people get divorced is because their spouse is “not the same person they married”. So throughout your marriage, keep in mind that every relationship has phases and each person will grow in a different way. So if you go into the marriage knowing there will be changes, your expectations will be better balanced. My husband and I have been married for 4 years and I still learn new things about him every day, even with dating him for four years prior. He has new dreams, new goals, and new personality traits I’ve never seen before. As do I. And that’s okay, because we are marrying our spouse for who they are and who they are to become. The goal is to grow together and experience life with the person you love.
Marriage is an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yes, it is tough and there is a lot of learning you have to do. But once you get it down, it’s so wonderful to have someone who cares for you, who loves you, who supports you, and is there by your side through all of life’s adventures.