My sister says I am not qualified to give kissing advice because I have only kissed two guys– and one of them is my husband. So when reading my marriage advice be forewarned: I have only been married once. I still am, in fact. So what I am about to say may not apply to all or any of you, but here it is. Take it or leave it.
What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Tying the Knot:
1. Marriage is not like dating.
While searching for The One, keep in mind that This One is well groomed and racking their brain trying to plan activities that they not only look attractive while doing, but are safe bets that you’ll enjoy. You will not enjoy all aspects of marriage. Sometimes he works late repeatedly, and sometimes she snores loudly. Marriage may cause you both to run out of ideas (or more accurately, money) for fun activities, and you may be bored. Also, that drive you to workout to impress your boyfriend/girlfriend may slowly dissolve after you both come home after working long hours, and take-out is the best thing ever because it doesn’t require cooking or dishes. It happens.
2. Arguing is good, fighting is not.
Yes, there is a difference. Arguing is constructive disagreements that lead to a resolution that is good for both parties. Fighting involves degrading comments, raised voices, and the silent treatment. For the longest time, Sean and I never disagreed. It was weird. Sean thought that meant we were excellent together, and I thought that meant we were completely incompatible because we were too much alike. Soon, however, we started arguing, then fighting, then back to arguing. Sean’s mom wanted us to go to counseling but didn’t dare say anything– and this was before we got married! I worried that we disagreed too much, but I was secretly relieved that we could disagree and still agree that we loved each other. It was a good idea to see how we each handled stressful situations, and we have since learned how to constructively disagree, but it takes time.
3. You don’t turn into Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver as soon as you wed.
I had the idea in my brain that I would be the best homemaker ever, and Sean would be the most fabulous 9-5 worker in history, just as soon as we got married. Only it wasn’t like that. It turns out that a tiny one bedroom/bathroom apartment doesn’t need much cleaning, cooking for two doesn’t take all day, and crafting requires money and talent. Go figure. It also came as a surprise that Sean got injured, limiting the amount of work that he could do, and would fluctuate between working four hour and twelve hour days. So, with me bored and Sean hurting, I found a job I loved, Sean switched careers, and we both took college courses. Not how I expected, but great none-the-less.
4. You’ll still wonder occasionally if you made the right choice.
After a fight or the third move that little voice will still creep into your head and say “Now, wait a second. Are you sure he/she is the one? What if you made a mistake?” I used to find that voice scary, as if it meant that I was doing something bad by even listening to it. Now I find it helpful. I use it to list all the great qualities about Sean, and then flip it to make sure that I am being the right choice for him. I reevaluate all of the things that he finds attractive in me, and make sure that I am still doing them. If I’m not, then I ask him how I can better serve him. Getting married doesn’t take away doubts, but it does give you a chance to prove them wrong.
5. Apologizing is harder when you’re married.
Pride is a funny thing. When we were dating, apologies slipped off the tongue covered in sugar. Now, I feel like someone should be hammering me on the back because the “sorry” becomes stuck in my throat. The disagreeing is over bigger issues than calling your significant other by your ex’s name, and thus requires a larger dose of humility to resolve. Learn how to apologize now, my friends. It’s like playing Super Mario World, the more you do it, the better you become.
6. Don’t Stress
Of course marriage is hard. Sometimes it’s so hard you cry. But it’s also fun and full of adventure. You have the opportunity to spend every day for forever with the person you love– your best friend. It’s like no adventure that I have ever been on, and it’s wonderfully difficult. So dive in with a smile!