12 Things I Wish that I Knew About Marriage Before I Got Married

I am very happy being married. I have a partner to journey through life with and whether or not things are easy or difficult, JP is there with me. He knows when to back off and let me figure things out for myself, and he also understands when I simply can’t do it anymore and he needs to step in and help me. He “gets” me in a way that no one ever has before and he has undying patience for my quirks and idiosyncrasies.

We have had a lot of ebbs and flows in our relationship and the reason that we’ve made it when others haven’t is because we’ve remained dedicated to the sanctity of our commitment. There is no “plan b” in our marriage – this is it. We are going to make it work even when we don’t like each other very much because we know that what we share together is a gift that we don’t want to be ungrateful for or give up on.

JP and I are a pretty great couple if I do say so myself. I shared our 10 marriage commandments with you, which was a synopsis of what I think makes our marriage successful. Now I would like to share the things I wish that I had known about marriage before I got married because getting to the happy place that we’re at today was not all rainbow and butterflies.

I promised to be real in the marriage section of my blog and I am going to be very candid and genuine in my list below. Please add your thoughts in the comments!

bridal-636018_64012 Things I Wish that I Knew About Marriage Before I Got Married

Marriage is not only about your personal happiness. JP is not around to simply make me happy, although that would be really nice. Marriage is about “we” and not “I,” which can be a big adjustment. Learning to consider someone else in all of your decisions isn’t something that simply comes naturally. Sometimes, you need to put your own wants on the back burner and do what is best for your relationship instead.

Arguments don’t mean that you aren’t compatible. Personally, I am kind of creeped out by couples who say they “never” argue. Either they’ve gotten to a point where they simply don’t care to voice their personal opinions anymore or they are married to clones of themselves. No one is ever going to agree all the time.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be married to a person who thought exactly the same way that I did and never challenged me. There are productive ways to argue (discussing issues civilly and using “I” statements) and unproductive approaches (screaming and playing the blame game), but the fact of the matter is that everyone disagrees sometimes and that doesn’t mean you aren’t a good couple.

Apologizing is a sign of strength, not weakness. No one is always right, even though many people think that they are. Part of being an adult in a healthy relationship is not only knowing when you’re wrong, but admitting it and taking the necessary steps to avoid making the same mistake again. When you mess up, consider it an opportunity to grow rather than a character flaw.

I also think it’s important not to belittle someone’s apology. I have heard men say, “I better record this, she never apologizes or admits that she’s wrong.” Well, guess what? Now she never will again because you’re a jerk. There is a graceful way to apologize and also a graceful way to accept an apology. Learn both.

dog-601216_640 (2)Marriage is a long-term investment. I try to avoid calling marriage “work” because that term has negative connotations. I mean, who really wants to go to work every day when there so many other ways to spend your time? In the same vein, who wants to be in a relationship that feels like a job? I consider marriage to be an investment. You do have to put in effort, but the potential returns are well worth it. Besides, you have full control to inject fun along the way.

Keeping score will get you nowhere. If you are keeping a mental tally (or god forbid, a real one) about who put the dishes away last time, you are being petty and are going to cause needless arguments. You don’t need to keep score when you’re playing for the same team. Picking your battles is so important and so many couples forget to do this.

It’s hard to feel loving feelings towards someone who is always nagging and annoying you. Home is supposed to be somewhere you enjoy being, so don’t suck the joy out of it for your partner. I’m not saying that one person should carry all of the weight, but I am advocating to let the small things go. You will both be happier for it.

Being in love is a choice. Each day, you have a choice whether or not to be in love with your partner. Life isn’t a magic fairy tale or an episode of Sex and the City where everything feels good all the time without any effort. You can either make the choice to love your partner and do everything you can for your relationship, or just complain that “everything is different” than it was when you first met. Of course it’s different! The only constant in life is change, so you either need to adapt and grow, or move on. Hint: it will be “different” with the next person, too.

couple-652978_640 (2)Plans don’t always come to fruition. There are often wrenches thrown into the best laid plans and no amount of foresight can account for things like a sick relative or a job loss. I think it’s important to have goals, but to also understand that time frames often need to be adjusted.

Compromise is an art. It’s not easy to compromise. Who wouldn’t want to get exactly what they want all the time? However, it’s simply not possible and if you choose to make everything about “winning” over your partner, then you will both lose. Sometimes, you need to do things that you don’t want to do in order for your spouse to feel good about accommodating you later.

JP and I often barter so that we can both be happy with the outcome and not feel resentful of each other. A recent example is that both of us wanted to go somewhere that the other didn’t, and we both wanted the other to come with us (a hockey game for JP and an aquarium for me). We agreed to be open to the new experience because each of us “got” something and felt valued (and we also had a kick ass day doing both of those things together!).

You need to make it a point to make each other happy. There are both big and small things that you can do to make your partner happy. Maybe she likes when you cuddle her and he likes when you make his lunch for work. Most things that make a big difference to someone and their well-being are very easy to do. Unfortunately, we often don’t make it a point to do those things for the person we love because we feel that we can get away with not doing it. Remember that I love you doesn’t mean that I will never leave you. If you can do something for your partner at no cost to yourself, why not do it?

You need to continue to “date” your partner even when you’re married and your dating days are long gone. Imagine how you treated your partner 6 months into your relationship. Are you still as sweet, considerate, romantic, passionate, and courteous? If not, you should be, and if it doesn’t come naturally, force yourself to do it until it does feel natural again.

animals-314689_640 (2)Being too comfortable is not a good thing. Couples need to continue to keep the romance alive and not let themselves simply become roommates because there is nothing sexy about that! Having said that…

Sex is not the only measure of a marriage’s success. Sex is one of those things that ebbs and flows. When you first meet, it’s likely happening very frequently, and then that can change repeatedly throughout your relationship’s life cycle.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Other couples might look like they are “perfect” on paper, but trust me, they aren’t. If you are always trying to aspire towards an ideal that likely doesn’t exist then you will always be disappointed. It’s similar to trying to look like an airbrushed model – even the model doesn’t look like that, so how can you?

True story: I recently complained to JP that a couple we know is always going out and doing new (expensive) things. He pointed out that they still live at home, don’t have any bills, and they also don’t own three properties like we do. Priorities are different for everyone and comparing yourself to a couple who is still dating or in the very early phases of their relationship is not a realistic benchmark.

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97 thoughts on “12 Things I Wish that I Knew About Marriage Before I Got Married

  1. Great list! One thing my gf and I try not to do is compare us to other couples (sort of like that couple that goes out all the time) however she has two younger sisters that make us feel very comfortable being in our 30s and not going out all the time. Instead we plan vacations and budget them, because we are adults and a team. Also these girls are 21 and need to learn hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JP and I are actually homebodies and totally happy with our lives as they are…but I guess that I got caught up in the, “then we went to this gala, then they had that party, etc.” even though I wouldn’t even want to do any of those things, lol. Often younger folks make me feel grateful that I’m past that phase in my life., but occasionally I suppose that I get nostalgic…for 5 minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of new couples forget that. They still want the butterflies and excitement when love was easy, but relationships don’t stay that way. There is something great about each phase though, so even though you lose some things, you also gain many more.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome! It will be 6 years Saturday. I think these are key points! You hit it right on the nose. We all know what we think it should be based on what’s modeled on TV. Truth is we have to figure out what works for us instead of them . If one should be lost in searching for balance, your list is a great tool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy early anniversary! I think society and the media put a lot of pressure and expectations on people to have marriages and sex lives that look a certain way, but they are rarely, if ever, realistic. I wanted to debunk some of these ideals, so I’m glad that my list hit home.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Being newlyweds is a great feeling 🙂 JP and I haven’t been married that long either, we’ve just spent A LOT of time discussing these points so that we’re on the same page…in the same book!

      Like

  3. I love how you called marriage a long term investment! That is way better that calling it hard work :). I have been married to the same man for 35 years and yes it has it’s ups and downs. We have learned to take a walk after a disagreement but always make sure to walk right back to each other. You hit it right on with this one. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that I can I’ve been married to JP for 35 years one day. That’s an incredible milestone! JP and I do something similar: we will B for a walk together (even if we don’t talk to each other) or he will go downstairs to edit pictures and I will work on my writing. Getting lost in our own hobbies for awhile generally helps and by the time we’re done, we usually don’t care about whatever it was we were arguing about. If it’s major, then we can talk about it with clear heads.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Like

  4. Love this post. My husband and I have been happily married for 23 years. It’s not always easy but I wouldn’t change a thing. He is my lufe partner and best friend and I consider myself incredibly blessed. Thanks again for a great write.

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  5. Great post. I could never be with someone who agrees with me all the time. I think what makes a relationship a good one, is that two people add something to it. If I want to be with someone who is exactly like me, or if I always wanna be right and do only what I like, why would I wanna be with that person? Then I should better stay single.
    I want him to inspire me to do something new, something I might have never considered doing. And maybe I will like it. And if I love him, I want him to be happy, so why not doing what he loves? I also think that many people might have seen too many Hollywood movies, and wait for the perfect partner and a fairytale like relationship. But wouldn’t it also be boring if everything was perfect all the time? I also think that the biggest mistake a couple can make, is to take the partner for granted. So, I love that you wrote married couples should still date their partner.
    Glad you are so happy. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I once heard that romantic comedies are the equivalent of porn for women – they set unrealistic expectations, but in a different way. People aren’t going to be puppets and just behave how you want them to – and that’s okay! Life is messy and imperfect, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! My favorite one is about love being a choice. After almost 19 years of marriage, I don’t always automatically love my husband. We get on each other’s nerves sometimes. But we choose to love each other – even when we would rather not at times. We stick it out. I think that so many people get divorced because they don’t know this. Loving your partner isn’t always easy or fun. Its a choice and commitment we make each day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loving someone when things are going well is easy, it’s when things are tough that you get a true test. We live in such a disposable, instant gratification, “me me me” culture that it’s hard for some couples to wrap their heads around the fact that things won’t always be easy, enjoyable, or fun. But you work through it and things are even better as a result.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi,

    This list could only come from personal experience.

    Keeping score was a bad one for me. Because my wife seems to not remember when she does the same thing.

    Then I learned being right is not the point.

    Through my experience it’s important to share with your spouse the growth you see in them.

    Marriage is learned as you go. We are quick to point out their shortcomings but not their growth.

    But mostly it comes down to willingness. You must be willing to put your spouse, kids and marriage before yourself just like you said.

    I ran into one of your posts at Mostly Blogging. I will be sharing on social media and following.

    I have to let my wife read this great list also. I

    Thanks,
    Vernon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I agree with everything you said and I think that marriage makes you a better person – you learn to let things go, to avoid being petty, and to become a more selfless individual 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I cannot tell you how GLAD I am to stumble upon your blog! 🙂 (Loving the wordpress recommendation feature). And being in a relationship with a guy for 8 years and married to him for around 2 years, I could not agree MORE with each and every point you have shared.You toootally nailed it ❤ Every single point is so true and if only all of us remembered it more often, the world (of marriage) would be lots better! And I have actually written a complete list of consequences comparison can lead to just yesterday 🙂 I would love you to read it and give your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally relate to most everything. I’m divorced now but my ex often compared us to others, her friends or work friends and I could see so many skeletons in their closets as most of them judged everyone else and they made me think of them as hypocrites.
    It’s not some golden lamp that never fades, marriage that is. I found it was being willing to not give up that meant a lot in tough times. I’m not bitter about our divorce. I’m actually grateful for both our marriage and our divorce as we had many beautiful moments in our marriage and our divorce hurt me in ways I wasn’t use too and I told myself I was going to learn from the hurt and not hide it or push it away. So I learned a lot from it and I look at life the same way. I often learn so much more about myself going through my struggles then I ever could without them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your attitude makes such a big difference in life! We all have hard times and shitty experiences, so we can either let the negative stuff colour the rest of our days or learn from it and move on. It’s great you aren’t bitter about what happened and that you can still appreciate the joy your marriage brought you.

      PS: I agree that comparison is the thief of joy. I only compare my progress against my own benchmarks and not my perception of others’ lives. You never know what’s really going on!

      Liked by 1 person

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