I was talking to my husband the other day on our drive home from work. During our conversation, he mentioned a conversation he had had that day about marriage and it not being all fairy tales and happy endings. I know I’ve written about that in previous posts, but I’ve really been thinking about that lately and the fact that the lack of realness and I guess, what to expect in marriage is kind of scarce. I mean, we all have our examples of marriage in life and of course our expectation of what it should be; but do we really know what it is in reality?
I thought for this post, I would do a little What to Expect when you don’t Know What to Expect; Marriage Edition.
Now obviously what I know may be completely different to what you may have experienced; but that’s all part of it. We all have our own journeys and experiences and that’s the beauty of marriage. While we all may have similarities, each one is different and unique in their own right.
So in saying that, here’s what I wish I knew.
First of all, marriage isn’t a fairy tale. But, it is better.
We all know of at least one fairy tale where the Princess is in hardship and then finds her Prince Charming and they run away and the birds sing and the kingdom rejoices and everything works out from there. Well, it doesn’t really work that way. I will say, that our love story is MY fairy tale; but it’s not perfect and it only holds the title of fairy tale to me and my husband and our future kids. Marriage is the next step; of everything. You completely open yourself up to someone, and inevitably the whole of you will be uncovered at some stage; your annoying habits, your flaws, your little quirks. All of it. Your spouse will learn what makes you lazy, what makes you angry, what you do when you don’t like something, how you sleep. There are no more secrets. And I think for some people, that’s a hard concept to understand. It’s almost like the rose tinted glasses crack and the imperfections shine through in those cracks and we don’t know how to deal with them. I feel like when we are dating, (and I’ve said it before) we give and receive the best. Whether it’s a conscious thing or not, we try to be on our best behaviour to keep each other happy. Occasionally we slip up, but it’s never a big deal because it hardly happens. But once you’re married, you open up and let those little things you worked so hard to limit, appear. For me, I think my willingness to give energy is definitely something that I have changed drastically. Circumstances have changed, sure, and life is a bit more to deal with than before, but I know I could be more willing in giving energy. My idea of a date night is lying in bed watching a movie (most times), whereas hubby wants to go and do! Dating me was like yes! Let’s go! And married me is like ummmm can we stay home? I think it’s these little changes that can make a spouse feel like the person they married is no longer there. That’s not the case though; we just have to remember that things in life can affect the way we handle situations and our willingness to act. Whether it’s your job, school, kids; while there shouldn’t be any excuse, there is. At the same time though, we do need to work on making sure that we keep in touch with our “dating” selves and bring that excitement and willingness into our marriages. By doing that, I believe that the “fairy tale” can still exist. While we can feel that sometimes these little things can be a burden, they in fact make marriage that much better, because you are the only one who gets to experience the whole of each other.. Just you two. And that’s something special. Knowing someone so well, knowing what’s annoying, what’s cute and sweet; having that privilege, to me, far outweighs the not so fairy tale marriage can turn out to be.
You WILL fight.
It’s inevitable. And it’s really silly sometimes; no scratch that, most times. I can’t even tell you how many times me and Manu have had an argument. Actually, 99% of the time it’s a disagreement. 1% of the time it’s an argument. And it’s so silly! For example, we had a disagreement about what music was being played in the car. See? Silly. But I think most of you will relate when I say that at the time, it’s pretty important! Hindsight though right? Both fortunately and not, you will argue. But those arguments will be important learning curves in your marriage. They will open doors for more effective communication, they will let off some steam, and they will eventually be productive. No marriage should have one person constantly giving and the other receiving. Both have to be shared equally. No one spouse should be constantly compromising while the other is always getting their way. That’s not healthy. That’s where the unhealthy arguments stem from; resentment, stress and pride. I feel like you have to rock the boat sometimes. Maybe I’m just unorthodox. But I really feel like Manu and I have benefited greatly from our little arguments and disagreements. I’ve definitely learnt what I can do better to love him, as a wife and he has learnt how to better love me, as a husband. We have been more willing to learn and listen after saying our bits and (after a while) being humble enough to accept what is being said. Don’t be surprised when your arguments come, they will. Rather than be surprised, see what there is to learn from it; there will be something. Learn to laugh about it as well. In the heat of the moment it will seem like World War 3, but 10 minutes later when you’re hugging it out (which you should be doing to fix it), you’ll be like, “that was so silly”. And remember, you need to fix it properly. However that is for you; it does need to be fixed. Make sure you give each other space or talk; but at the end of it all, hug, kiss, whatever you do. Just don’t go to bed angry or without saying I love you. No argument is worth not doing so. And to be honest, life is too short to risk that argument being the last thing you and your spouse do should something happen to either of you afterwards. Plus, you’ll sleep so much better and you’ll have a better day too. I know that from experience.
Family events will double.
It may seem obvious, but wait until it’s Father’s day, Mother’s day and Christmas and your two families live in different cities! The traditions you are used to will have to be split up. Whether it’s split in a day or split every year, you will have to compromise and be willing to make the effort to engage in your new family’s traditions, while of course, making your own! If your spouse isn’t into spending special days with their family, make an effort to encourage them to do so. Maybe plan something for them and then let them know what’s happening. I know it can be hard to let go of your family traditions; it was for me. We are a family who love to do things together and have a few traditions and things we do and have done since we were kids. But my husband and his family have different things they do as well. For me, having to sometimes miss out on something was a little hard, but it took me a while to realise that I could still do those things but share it around. I got to show my husband the things I did growing up, and he got to show me his. Then eventually when kids come along, we will have our own little family traditions that OUR families will come together to join in with us. A bit of helpful advice: you need a calendar. Go through the year and write down birthdays, special days, events; anything and everything. That way, plans can be made in advance and you can let family members know if you have prior commitments if things unexpectedly come up and also it can help keep you on track as to where you need to be (especially if travel is required). We started using a calendar this year and it has helped a lot! Especially with us knowing where we are on weekends and what we need to plan for.
You will be POOR.
Married life is hard. With all this new independence and sharing and all the new things that come with being married, it’s really only fit to say, the struggle is real. Like, really real. Being married comes with so many new ways to spend money, and so many ways to have no money! But I think half the fun comes in finding ways to budget, save and every so often, splash out. Of course, when there are student loans and rent and car payments and everything else that appears on the list, it can be hard to see the end of the struggle, but it pays to remember that if you can struggle together, you can succeed together. While I would recommend getting your schooling done as soon as you can, it doesn’t make a difference if you start later in life. You can make it work. My hubby just finished his trade school this year; and now he’s working in the job of his dreams! While he was studying, I was the only one working. While it was hard, it was manageable and it needed to be done. Having only one source of income, meant we needed to be smart with our money and be aware of where it was going. As time went on, hubby did get an allowance for being a student and that was an extra bonus that gave us a little bit more freedom. In working out your budgets, I would suggest putting aside a fixed amount every week that no matter what, goes in savings. Let’s call it your just in case account or your rainy day account. Next, pay any bills that are due; that is a definite. If you’re in debt, you definitely want to constantly work to getting out of debt. Next, put aside any money that you will need for everyday things such as petrol, the weekly shop and any unseen little emergencies. And lastly, make sure you put a little bit away so you can treat yourself to a cheap but fun date night. We have found that if we have one of us in charge of getting everything paid and set aside, it works out that we know where everything is going and how much we have. We aren’t the richest in the world, but we know how to work together and live within our means. Being married is something new and you need to be willing to work together and communicate on your finances. It’s no longer just you, it’s shared. At any given time, each of you should be able to know what is where and how much is there. Yes, you may have to sacrifice that new pair of shoes or the latest piece of technology, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. Money isn’t everything and it’s important to struggle now so that when kids start to come, you don’t have to. Learn and plan now so it becomes habit.
You will have to GET OVER IT.
What is it you ask? Well, “it” is a lot things. And for everyone reading, your “it” will be different. It could be the annoying sound one makes while eating, the sleeping positions, the burps, farts and other bodily noises. It could be the annoying words used, the unnecessary arguments.. It could be anything. But whatever “it” is, you will need to get over it. My “it”, is the little moments where I know I’m right, but my hubby won’t acknowledge it. And that’s ok. There’s plenty of times where he’s right and I’m so wrong and I don’t acknowledge it, but to me I just let it work me up and get me hyped. It’s like, “oh heck no, I’m right so you better say it or all hell will break loose”. And to be honest, 99% of the time, I’m unnecessarily hyping myself up over nothing, but it’s my “it” that I struggle with. I also struggle with unfair advantages. Like if my personality and beliefs allow for my hubby to do certain things and act a certain way, then I expect the same for myself. And when it doesn’t happen, I get frustrated because I think, why can’t he be like me? But I shouldn’t. Just because I think a certain way, I can’t really expect my hubby to as well because my reasoning for thinking that way are attributed to different experiences I’ve had or different ways I’ve been brought up. And same with my husband. He can only account for what he knows and believes. But part of being married is working together to find a happy medium. It will take time; we’re still learning. But being able to talk about it together has helped to make those different views, start to mesh together into our own. I’m telling you, there will be a lot of “it’s” in your marriage, but ultimately you will have to decide what is worth making a big deal and what isn’t. I can’t tell you that because mine may be different to yours, and our solutions will be too. But whatever it is, you can get over it.
What you thought you knew, you didn’t actually know.
This is pretty self-explanatory and refers to practically everything that could exist. What you thought you knew about each other, marriage, yourself, your family, your own personal beliefs.. It will all be challenged. You will find that what you thought you knew a lot about or thought you knew quite well, actually turns out to be pretty inaccurate. I say this because, in all things, there is always a learning perspective, whether you see it that way or not. But whenever you experience something, you will learn from it. In an argument, you learn what heats it up and what cools it down, you learn what to say and what not to say. You learn more about how you and your spouse individually handle the argument and what you never thought could make you upset, suddenly makes you upset. In marriage, what you thought it would be, will be different; because your marriage is different than anyone else’s. It’s yours. Yes, you can learn from other people and you can have similar experiences, and get advice from those you respect and love, but ultimately, you will control what happens. You and your spouse will control how you love each other, how you care for each other and things like that. Yes you can have this idea of what it will be like, but life will show up and will change that perspective for the better. In yourself, you will come to realise that the married you is different to the single you. And while it can be hard to accept that, you will learn who you are and will come to love yourself. It’s been a pretty hard and confusing road for me in the self-love department. But as I’ve struggled through it and worked at it, I’ve slowly started to allow myself to love and accept me. By doing that, I’ve been more open and accepting to my husband and the acts of love and words of love he shows to me. Like anything, you’ll learn new things every day. Be open to it, and don’t make the mistake of being so stuck in your ways that change and learning is no longer an option for you.
Sometimes what you want, won’t happen when you want it.
Whether it be a job you were hoping for, a house you were looking at, or even starting a family, sometimes it won’t work out the way you planned or had hoped for. This is something that we kind of experience all throughout life anyway, but I felt like when it didn’t happen for us, it was that little bit more tough. While it can be easy at the start to blow it off, with each disappointment it can get that little bit harder. It can be hard to find the light at the end of the tunnel. But the light that should always be seen, is the fact that you have each other to get through it. Yes, it can be hard to not feel that little bit of jealousy when you see your friends or people you know getting their dream job while you’re still waiting/looking, or seeing someone finally get the house of your dreams, and especially when you’re trying so hard to start a family and it’s that little bit harder for you, but it’s important to always support those little triumphs for others, because while it may seem like they got it easy, they may have been struggling through exactly what you have been and this is their moment. And likewise will you get yours. But don’t dwell on the fact that it hasn’t happened for you yet; it will. Just be happy, keep looking, trying and working together to make all your dreams come true. Don’t let the disappointment take over. Don’t let it make you bitter or lose hope. Everyone has their moment, and yours might be right around the corner.
Nothing is sacred anymore.
At one point I believed that I wouldn’t ever fart in front of a boy, I would never go toilet with someone else there, I would never be naked in front of anyone.. Well let me tell you something, that is completely out the door now! What a wakeup call that was. After getting married, all things I thought I would never do, I DO! I go toilet and my hubby is in the shower. We both got food poisoning one time and were tag teaming for the bathroom. I was in hospital early last year and he was taking me toilet, showering me, cleaning out vomit buckets and stroking my dirty, sweaty head; all things I never imagined doing with anyone let alone a guy! But it goes to show that love really does conquer all and whether you like it or not, marriage lifts the taboo on things and changes your perspective and willingness to do things for sure! He will fart, and so will you. He’ll leave bad smells in the bathroom, but so will you. It’s inevitable. So I say, prepare now, and embrace it! I just had to put that one out there.
And so, to close my list of what to expect when you don’t know what to expect, I thought the perfect thing to end on would be this; there is no telling how great married life is.
It doesn’t matter what I say, all you need to know is that being married is a blessing in itself. Having that constant companion, that always there person, is something that can’t be described perfectly enough. Having that one who is there for anything, who knows you so well.. It’s an amazing feeling. And while there are enough days and trials to make you sad, angry and frustrated more so than you ever have been, the good days and triumphs far outweigh anything that contradicts that.
I know that these are some of the things that I have found, but I’d like to know if you have any that you had come up when you got married. And also how you dealt with it! And if you’re getting married or newly married, I hope this helps, or at least gives you a laugh!
Happy discovering 😉
Mrs Yolo xo