From our childhood days and way into adulthood, a dream of perfect marital bliss is being planted into our minds. Even though we claim to be level-headed, modern individuals, fairytales and movies still make us wish for the one special person with whom we can spend our happily ever after. The problem is, all those romantic stories we hold up our own experiences to make marriage seem like it’s a lot easier than it really is.
Many engaged and newlyweds begin a new life as committed partners with expectations that love will see them through money troubles, character differences, and conflicting career plans. A lot of couples see these troubles through and become better together as a result, but sometimes things just have a way of getting ugly.
Fortunately, husbands and wives can get past any hurdle that comes their way as long as they can manage their expectations. There are a lot of things we never learn about marriage until we’ve finally tied the knot, and the shock of it all is what gets the best of us. Make sure that you and your significant other have your happy endings with these helpful insights from the married side of things:
You will still wonder whether you’ve made the right choice.
The thought that you might be committing a mistake you’ll regret for the rest of your life doesn’t just appear on the day before your wedding. Some months—even years—after getting married, you will still sometimes wonder if your spouse is that soulmate you’ve been waiting for, or whether your life together will last. This is only natural because with each day that passes, you get to know your partner in new ways.
Getting exposed to new situations brings out different sides of your spouse and that neither has seen yet. The great part about these spurts of “doubt,” though, is that through time, you erase idealistic notions about your partner and discover the real person you married—most probably someone even better than what you expected.
It takes more effort than you thought to make a marriage work.
It takes two to tango, but did anyone tell you how hard dancing could be? Your naïve side may think that there won’t be a problem you can’t face, but later on in a relationship, you find out that living under the same roof with an entirely different individual isn’t as easy as it looks. After all, there’s more to living together than planning meals and choosing the right design for your home.
This is easily fixed by keeping another clichéd axiom in mind: practice makes perfect. In the end, getting through these hard times early on in a marriage strengthens the relationship and readies you for tougher challenges in the future.
There will be lots of disappointments.
There will be times that your significant other will let you down – it’s an unavoidable fact of life. After all, people aren’t born mind-readers; we can’t always anticipate what our partners are expecting. If we keep this perspective and remain flexible with our loved ones, we can get through these disappointments just fine. We can even turn them to our advantage as learning experiences on the importance of communication and tolerance.
You need to make sacrifices.
Compromise is a must in any marriage because there are just some differences that you can’t reconcile. Don’t expect to always have your way—be prepared to sacrifice some of your wants and preferences to meet halfway with your spouse. At the end of the day, a gain for everyone is much greater than a gain for one person.
You can’t force your spouse to change.
Some people enter long-term relationships thinking they can change their partners to their liking. A blushing bride may want to stop her hubby from hanging out with his college friends, for example, while a husband might expect his socially adventurous wife to just park herself at home after tying the knot. These relationships hinge on change rather than acceptance, and that’s a deal-breaker.
Nobody is perfect, even you, so instead of trying to instill a change in your partner, focus your energies on how to complement each one’s shortcomings. Learn to love your partner for what he is more than for what he could be, and you’ll find that marital problems come few and far between. Choose the right partner and marry for the right reasons, and you’ll find wedding bliss soon enough.
Space is still important.
You used to dream about spending every minute of your life with your partner but after getting married, being together 24/7 makes you long for some space. Feeling like you’ve lost yourself once you become part of a couple is natural so ask for it. You can stop marriage from becoming stifling by giving each other space to develop your individual selves.
Don’t be misled that money matters won’t affect your marriage; financial stability is one common problem that leads to divorce. Think twice about not having a job or constantly overspending at the mall before saying “I do”. Talking about your financial concerns as two mature individuals and planning how to save up and earn more as a team breeds a happier marriage.
You will still need your friends.
Just as you will need space, there are times that you’ll be looking for the comfort and companionship of your old friends. While your spouse can be your best friend, it’s only natural that there are things that you would still rather talk over with a girlfriend. Having some regular “me” time is a good emotional exercise for both partners.
While some truths may seem like a douse of cold water, some are just simple facts that make life a more interesting journey. One great truth about marriage is that it teaches you to become a better person, making marriage an enriching and challenging path worth taking.
About the Author:
Pasha Lubeck is a mom to two beautiful boys and a part-time designer for Kichler Lighting. Her marriage may have ended, but she still believes in love, relationships, and happy-ever-afters.