The Truth About Marriage Is

The other day, my bestie who is engaged showed me an article she came across called “5 ways to secure your happyish ever after.” I found it refreshing and it slapped me in the face a bit. Here’s why. This line: “Invest in your marriage, not your wedding.”

Wow. I mean, it’s common sense, but why on earth did I not apply that thought to my own wedding?! Before we were engaged, we both had debt, but that sure didn’t stop me from overspending on my wedding. I used the logic, ‘It’s the biggest day of my life’ as an excuse to buy every little thing that struck my fancy. I also wanted to have lots of small personal touches that I thought would make my wedding stand apart. But now that that day is gone, did it really matter that I had personalized napkins? No. Even though I bought them on sale, no one would have been upset with me if I didn’t have them. Because napkins aren’t what makes a wedding awesome. It’s the people who are committing their lives to each other.

It’s hard to realize that every little expense adds up really quickly, and impulse purchases did me in. I’m now literally paying the price of my frivolous spending when it came to my wedding. And I HATE myself some days when I realize that the money I’m using to pay off my credit cards with ridiculous interest could have all been going toward a down payment on a house or a new car for my husband who badly needs a more reliable vehicle. It could have started a savings account for our future children. It could have been used wisely. Instead I’m throwing hundreds, more likely thousands, of dollars into paying off my wedding and other purchases that I really didn’t need to make. But there’s no use in dwelling in the past, and the best thing is to move forward and make better decisions from now on. Which I am trying really hard to do. Changing bad habits is really friggin’ tough. If I can curb unnecessary spending, I’m going to be setting better examples for any future children and set up a better foundation for our marriage and lives together. Not to mention cause less stress for both of us!

This article had some other really solid points, like this one: “The truth is that cleaning up socks and trying to get someone to really listen to you IS marriage. It’s less sweep you off your feet and more sweep the kitchen four times a day.”

The point is that marriage is most of the time not glamorous. It’s work. Hard work.

When I got engaged, I thought to myself often, ‘I got this. I’m going to be an awesome wife. It won’t be hard. Nothing’s going to change.’ Wrong. I thought that just because Cal and I had dated for eight years that I knew everything there was to being married because it wouldn’t be different than dating. But it is! It so is!

That’s the one thing that has surprised me the most about being married. It is very different from dating or even being engaged. Because it’s so much more serious now. It’s locked in. I gave my commitment that I am going to be with this person for the rest of my life, and we have to make it work. I mean, if we want to have a happy and healthy relationship anyway. We have to combine two totally separate lives into one. We have to make decisions together. We have to manage money and the household together. Not to mention potentially raise children together! That one is terrifying. But that’s another blog post in itself.

I think that it’s incredibly hard to be a good wife and live up to the expectations I thought I had about marriage. I often compare myself to others. I think that other couples have no issues. I think that I should be more like so-and-so. Or even worse, I put unfair standards on my husband. ‘I wish he were more like so-and-so.’ But that is toxic thinking. He is not anyone else but himself, and I am myself. I married him and I accepted everything about who he is by doing so. Sometimes when I hear stories about husbands who do X for their wife (start their car in the morning, rub their feet every night, buy them unexpected gifts and shower them with kisses 24/7, whatever it is), I get jealous. But it is so unfair to put that kind of unspoken pressure on someone. I need to focus less on what my husband doesn’t do and instead on the things he DOES do. It’s not like he does nothing for me. He does so much! And I need to be more grateful of that.

As humans, we’re naturally selfish. Seeing the big picture is hard. Especially for people like me who tend to overanalyze everything. But we all have self doubt, jealousy and strange emotions that make us human. Reminding yourself of that and taking the time to realize that, then fix bad behaviors, is important. And that’s what makes us good wives and husbands, I think. Remembering to accept each other as is and work together to deal with life, to be a team and have a happy and healthy relationship.

I also read an article that a friend shared on Facebook about how Brad Pitt even considered divorcing Angie when times got tough. But instead of throwing in the towel, he tried. Putting our own needs aside to help our spouse can be hard too, because often we get so wrapped up in our own individual lives that we forget there’s another person we need to consider. That makes me respect their marriage much more, though it’s hard to compare to a Hollywood A-list couple. But the lesson is universal: Be considerate, be there and TRY.

I’m sure that I’m going to learn so much more down the road about marriage, relationships and life, but if our foundation can stay solid, we’ll make it through whatever comes our way. To stay solid though, we have to keep making that effort. I think that’s most important.

What lessons have you learned about love? Any surprises? Advice?

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12 thoughts on “The Truth About Marriage Is

  1. This is great! So many people have the wrong idea about marriage. They think as soon as the first thing goes wrong, all you have to do is divorce. The problem with this is that way of thinking is very selfish and no marriage will stay strong when you are selfish. Marriage is about putting your spouse’s needs before your own.

    Also, you hit the nail on the head with the comparison thing. Comparing yourself or your marriage to others is so toxic. Yet it comes so natural.

    You may have spent a lot of money on your wedding and you regret it now but you are right, it is in the past. And it is great that you are trying to change those habits now!

  2. I feel like in the age of Pinterest there’s even more pressure to have the perfect wedding rather than a solid marriage. We’ve actually talked about eloping when that time comes for us, because neither of us is into planning shit and neither of us wants to spend a lot of money on it – money we definitely do NOT have right now.
    The biggest thing I’ve learned about love is that it doesn’t always have to be 50/50. Sometimes you may only be able to give 40 and your partner will have to give 60. As long as you return the favor when it’s necessary, it’s okay. 🙂

    • So true. Pinterest, while amazingly awesome, does have some downfalls, mostly setting us up for unrealistic expectations. I would definitely encourage eloping if that’s what you both want.
      That is good advice too! There will be times you can’t each give 50/50, and accepting you may need to pull more “weight” now and then should just be part of it. Again, as long as it isn’t an always unfair balance, because then that can lead to resentment! But that’s where being open and honest comes into play too.

  3. I really like this post. You have such great insight. I love the part about the personalized napkins. I personally blame Pinterest for feeling as if everything has to be personalized and over the top!

  4. Oh yes–marriage can be an awesome thing, but like most good things in life, it’s a real investment and takes adjustment and work! But it can sure bring a lot of joy!

  5. Great post! I have been married almost two years (next month). My husband and I have been dating 9 years and living together for 7. It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine. Things definitely seemed much harder once we got married. I had a hard time not comparing him to my friend’s husbands, or our marriage to theirs but that just made it worse! I try my absolute best to be mindful of our marriage and remember why I chose him. It has certainly helped and made us happier than ever 🙂

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