If you’re reading this, maybe you’re like me, a hopeless romantic. While single, I was fixated on starting the next phase of my life, marriage. For this reason, I would immediately fall head-over-heels for a guy after one date. In fact, I remember this one guy I use to have the biggest crush on. I bet if he ever realized I existed, and had dated me for a few months, and asked me to marry him I would have said yes. Yeah, I’m that chick. It’s always been easy for me to follow my heart with passion while frequently forgetting my brain.
If we were honest with ourselves, we could probably all recall a time where we let our heart or hormones take the driver seat. If it hasn’t happened yet, chances are it will. Take it from someone who has a track record in getting caught up in the rush of feelings. When you’re caught up in emotions it’s really easy to forget reality. After meeting a person who sparks your thoughts about getting married and living happily ever after you might just find that things don’t always turn out like you dreamed they would. Marriage isn’t just the road to living happily ever after, it’s a lot of hard work. As a former fairytale daydreamer and new wife, I would like to talk about some of the common misconceptions I had about marriage and share some things you should consider before saying “I do.”
You have to be willing to love someone even when they suck!
This seems obvious, but this is exactly the type of thing that isn’t talked about. When there’s a level of safety and security people let the cat out of the bag. There’s a saying that marriage brings to the surface the areas a person needs to grow the most in. I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but for me, it was like a hurricane of ugly came to the surface for both myself and my husband when we got married.
For months we were walking on eggshells and overly sensitive to one another. Anger and pride seemed to be the ruler of our home, not the sweet squishy love you see all over Instagram. At some point, one or both of you have to make the choice to rise above it and love each other wildly anyway.
There is nothing harder than being kind and patient with someone you don’t feel like deserves it.In the depths of an argument, you may just want to dish out harsh words at them, but this will do nothing to resolve the conflict and only create more barriers and hurt. Finding ways to help and serve each other during times of ungratefulness can be extremely challenging. There is a strong temptation to react in an unkind way during tense moments with your spouse. At times it may seem impossible to look for and focus on the positive in the other person. It might even make you wonder if you made a mistake.
“Did I marry the right person?”
I ask myself this all the time. The truth is. You will never marry the “right” person, and you may not be the “right” person for them either! People change and that’s the hope both of you have if your marriage is really hard. In fact, you have the opportunity to influence your spouse and love the ugly out of them. It’s a huge self-sacrifice, but it’s part of your vows “for better or for worse.”
Was major conflict what I expected marriage would look like? Absolutely not. My imagination was filled with lots of date nights, brunch, sharing our hearts, and lots of super hot sex. I’ve had to mourn all of those expectations as I embrace the harsh reality that marriage is a long game. You don’t get to jump into the level of intimacy and friendship that people who have been married 10 and 20 years have. It takes time to get to know someone and that’s why I personally think it’s good to date a year or two before marriage. It also takes time for your marriage to grow. It’s easy to get frustrated and compare your relationship to those around you. If you are considering marriage, just know that like all good things, it will take time to build a flourishing marriage. Every day you have the opportunity to feed it or destroy it.
Walking away from someone starts with your tone, attitude, thoughts, and behavior toward that person. It is a huge sacrifice to choose to walk toward someone every moment. Marriage is where your heart and brain come together to build something beautiful both for you and your marriage.
How to prepare for marriage.
If you’re anxiously awaiting marriage or have someone in mind, put the brakes on your heart a bit before you commit FOR LIFE. Yeah, in case you forgot marriage is supposed to be forever. You can’t break up or run when it gets hard like you can when you’re dating.
Marriage isn’t just hard work, it’s downright heartbreaking sometimes. It’s so messy and imperfect because you’re joining together with another imperfect human.
If you’re planning on getting married, my advice would be to start dealing with as much of your B.S. as possible. It will help you in the long haul if you make that forever decision as two healthy people. One unhealthy person in a relationship makes it an unhealthy relationship. The best thing you can do is work hard to not be that person.
My advice on how to do that? Start serving in your community and get to know yourself better than anyone else. The ability to serve others well and hold a confidence in who you are is essential in marriage. Without them, it will be even harder. They say ‘practice makes perfect’ for a reason.
Join the conversation: What has been the most useful relationship advice or tip you've ever received?