At twenty-something you believe you know everything, and you just might – except all the things no one tells you about marriage. I was 23 when I jumped the broom and 27 when the dust settled after an unexpected divorce. Needless to say, I learned good lessons during married life, many of which I wish I'd known going in. If you're marriage-minded, here are eight things no one tells you about marriage that will help you prepare for the journey.
1. For Better is Real, and for Worse is Real, Too
Once you've tied the knot, there will be days when you can't get enough of Mr. Right. There will also be days when you wish he would forget his way home. One of the things no one tells you about marriage is that this feeling is normal. Relationships ebb and flow and when you spend 24/7 with another human being, you'll inevitably experience a combination of really blissful moments and other times your mate will try your very last frayed nerve. You will want to run away, but ultimately you will remember love is enduring and you will endure.
2. He Snores, Farts and Poops. so do You
Gone are the days of hiding the normal functions of the human body for the sake of being lady-like. He will snore. You will snore. He will fart loudly regardless of who is present. You will silently toot in his presence. He will walk in on you despite your best efforts to poop in private and he will whiff a scent other than your sweet perfume. And it's all good. While humiliating at first, this too shall pass and will become old hat in your marriage.
3. The Drought Cometh
Sex every night is a myth and a farce. Although it sounds good and may start off that way, daily bumping and grinding is unrealistic and unsustainable. There. I said it. Even the most successful marriages pumped up on extra strength Viagra have sexual dry spells. Save yourself some performance anxiety by understanding that kissing and cuddling may be enough some nights.
4. It Ain't All Roses
Traditional romance of the dating variety takes time and effort and sometimes you have nothing left after a long day. This is the moment when two microwaved TV dinners by Yankee Candle light have to be romantic enough. I guess no one told you Cinderella was a billionaire’s daughter whose only job was to be cute and Prince Charming hired a concierge to fake his swag, but alas, it's true. Real people have to work at romance, so don't be discouraged if your partner doesn't bring you roses all the time. Create new romantic gestures like kissing hello and goodbye with every encounter. Take joint showers and send sexy texts to keep the spark ignited.
5. You Can't Outlaw the in-laws
Your partner's family becomes your family once you're married. From his meddlesome mama to his Elvis-impersonating cousin, these are now YOUR peeps regardless of how annoying/embarrassing they are until death do you and hubby part. Embrace the nuances of your new family members and stock up on lots of good red wine for family gatherings.
6. Welcomed Additions
Adding children to a marriage complicates marriage matters. The level of complication can be good or bad depending on your expectation and preparation. A child requires more… of everything. More time. More attention. More money. More. And just when you have no more to give, there will be your partner who needs sex, food and attention. (Insert horror film scream here.) Take a deep breath and communicate with your partner about your frustrations. Help your partner understand all the responsibilities of your new parental role. No one tells you just how critical communication is in a marriage. Good communication will secure your bond and your sanity.
7. You Better Work!
Marriage takes work. Really. It's a common cliché, but absolutely true. Being married is the equivalent of having another 24-hour full time job. You will feel like you need a college degree and a therapist’s license to keep it together for the long haul. Remember what I said about love being enduring? Yeah, remember that.
8. Time out is Necessary and Okay
Dating allows a natural break from the norm and the monotony that comes with a long term relationship. When you need a dating tap out, he can go home and you can go home, too - no questions asked. Married couples also need this space occasionally, but no one tells you it's OK to take it or how to get it without offending your partner or being offended when your partner asks for it. The phrase "me time" was invented for married people and moms. It's a get-out-of-jail-for-a-few-hours free card. Use it for good.
I personally think good marriages are like good aged wines - they're priceless individuals that get better with time and a little air to breath. A little inside information will take you a long way. Got a good marriage tip to add to the list? Chime in!