*Two individuals with different views, habits, needs, wants, etc. come together and make the decision to spend the rest of their lives in holy matrimony.*
That, my friends, is marriage simplified.
But I’m no fool. I know being married isn’t always about roses, rainbows, and sunshine. Heck, being in a relationship period isn’t always like that. Just like everything else in life, marriage has its ups and downs. Along with love, honesty, trust, friendship, and all that, it takes a lot of freakin’ hard work to keep a marriage going strong.
Having been with Vishnu for over six years now and having experienced our fair share of ups and downs, I know that a solid relationship is a labor of love. However, I hear that the rules of marriage are a bit different than those of dating. Being married to someone means sharing a home, a bed, a bathroom, a kitchen…your lives.
For the past few years, Vishnu and I have led fairly independent lives. Because we haven’t lived together, let alone in the same state, for the past 3.5, we’ve become very accustomed to our ways. And while we talk about how things are going to change after June, I don’t really think either of us knows how much they will change. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been waiting a very long time to marry Vishnu, and I am SO excited to spend the rest of my life with him. However, being the semi-controlling person that I am, I can see why compromise and patience will have to become part of my regular vernacular pretty quickly. And the same goes for him – he’s going to have to meet me in the middle on a lot of things. We both get this and have talked about it numerous times.
I just think that living it is a different ball game altogether.
And that is why I enlisted the help of my married friends and family members to share with me their marital experiences, lessons learned, tips…whatever you want to call them.
I asked them to send me their thoughts with the idea that I would then share all of that wisdom in a blog post.
And here’s what these wise women had to say…
- Never go to bed mad or angry with each other.
- In marriage, both individuals need to compromise depending on the life challenges that come your way. Do NOT be stubborn, as that will make your marriage that much more complicated.
- Marriage is not just a bond between two people, but two families.
- A successful marriage requires compromise, great listening skills, and respect.
- One person shared a quote she read before her wedding – “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences."- Dave Meure
- Having your husband around all the time is an adjustment and vice versa. Each of you is going to like things your way, so compromise is KEY. It’s not easy, especially when you’re so used to doing things your way, but it’s absolutely necessary.
- Date night once a week is a must. Once you’re married, it’s easy to let that go since you see each other all the time. But it’s important to not put your relationship on the back burner – keep the flame going!
- Treat marriage like a job. Your job is to make Vishnu happy and his job is to make you happy! If you are not happy, make sure to vocalize what needs to change. Don’t keep it inside and hope things will change later. You have to put the time and energy into your relationship just like you do in your daily job.
- Remember your husband’s intentions are never to hurt you or make you upset. He really just may not get it, or it may just take him time to understand how you work and process things. Try to be patient.
- Be honest and open with one another. Communicate like two civil human beings by showing respect for one another.
- Never talk poorly about your husband in front of others. Remember, if you don’t respect him, then others won’t either.
- Be patient and don’t jump to crazy conclusions when something goes wrong. Get the facts straight first.
- Be the first to admit when you’ve made a mistake, as there is no shame in being honest.
- Be wise about finances. Try to balance each other as best as possible.
- While this may be old fashioned, remember that everything should be ours, not mine or yours. This is the best way to think about your life after marriage.
- Change the way you communicate – this is especially important after you’re living together. Your husband isn’t a mind reader, and he probably wants to know what you’re thinking/feeling, so just say it. This makes things so much easier.
- Have realistic expectations of one another. If your husband always needs to be reminded of certain things, don’t just think that one day he will wake up and change his ways. He may just need a little help from you, but that’s ok – help him and help your relationship.
- Learning to live together can be a challenge. When something he does bothers you, don’t just complain about it – come up with a solution. Example: I hate having things out on the counter yet he kept EVERYTHING out on the counter. I bought him a basket that easily fit everything he needed neatly under the sink. He didn’t have to think about where to put things or have a system like mine. He could dump it all in one easy place. The solution kept the counters clean and required very little change from him. You can’t always fight the system, sometimes you have to change the system.
It was so fun to read the emails as they came in, and I honestly loved every piece of ‘advice.’ If nothing else, it reminded me that we aren’t alone. And as crazy as it sounds, I’m more excited than ever to face the challenges of marriage with Vishnu. It’s going to be a crazy journey, and I couldn’t have a better person to experience it all with.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received? If you’re not married, what do you think the biggest challenge for you will be?