We have celebrated nine years of marriage so far. I would be lying if I told you that it was all rainbows and bonfires. Our friends would joke and say that we have the “perfect” marriage. It’s not. Really, it’s not. Sure, we put on smiles if we are fighting or disagreeing over something, but we have our challenges too. We argue, we get upset, we disagree, but you know what? We always work it out. Through our nine years of marriage, I have put together a short list of eight things no one told me about marriage. Hang on to your seats.
#8 It’s easy moving in with you future spouse
Now, here me out before you react to this one. I only ever lived with my parents and then one year with my awesome female roommate in college. Sure, I went to camp and overnight church events where I shared a room with other junior high and high school girls. I never lived with someone else of the opposite gender, besides my Dad. I’m an only child, so I never had to share my room or personal space until I went to college. Thankfully, I had a great experience with my roommate and I felt it did help me some in the transition to living with someone else.
Did you know when you get married, you can accumulate a lot of “stuff”. Mechanic and I both had furniture that we had scavenged for and bought for our future residences before we even met. We both also had a lot of “stuff” from childhood and things that our parents gave us to help furnish our first apartment together. We basically had two households worth of “stuff”. This created issues with finding space for everything and organization was a must. Downsizing or purging was not an option at the time because this experience was new to both of us.
Solution: It’s hard moving in with your future spouse, there is no way around it. Some adjust better and faster than others. If you are having a hard time, it’s OK. It will get easier. BE FLEXIBLE.
#7 Your schedule won’t change
This may or may not happen. If you work a full time job, you may keep the same schedule. If you’re going to college, your schedule may or may not change. Our biggest hurdle was bedtime. I am one of those people who need ten or more hours of sleep a night, otherwise I am a total crab and unpleasant to be around the next day. Mechanic, on the other hand, can survive on six hours or less of sleep. This created some tension between us and I pushed to have a mutual bedtime. It worked some nights, but when Mechanic got a full time job on third shift, my sleep suffered. I didn’t like sleeping alone (newlywed, hello!). To make matters worse, when Mechanic would come home from his third shift, I would want him to be awake to spend time with me (I know, selfish, right?).
Solution: Scheduling is always a tedious task. Our schedule won’t be the same as yours and that’s fine. Communiate with one another and flexibility never hurt either.
#6 You won’t have to worry about money anymore
I did not have a job my first year of college, Mechanic did. We got married the summer before my second year of college. This hurt our finances big time. I had car insurance to pay and we added rent to that as well as utilities. Mechanic had his truck insurance and our cell phone bill to pay. Thankfully, Mechanic had a full time job and I was able to get a part time job to work around my school schedule.
Guess what? Some weeks, it still was not enough. We were not living within our means. We were trying to live like we had money to spend on whatever we wanted. In reality, we did not. Mechanic was working to put me through college since he had a degree already, but there were weeks when we didn’t know where our grocery money was coming from.
Solution: Take a good, long look at your total household income and the total household outgoing costs. If the outgoing costs are greater than your income, you need to make some changes. It is possible, but it is not easy.
#5 You won’t argue anymore
Mechanic and I never argued while we were dating and engaged. We never had reason to. Our first argument after we were married was the worst. I ended up in tears, he was upset because I was in tears. We discovered it was a communication problem. Arguments are going to happen, no matter how much you try to avoid them.
Solution: Communicate. Always keep the lines of communication open. If you aren’t happy or if something is bothering you, TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE. Don’t let it fester and get into a yelling contest. This is especially important if you have children. Yelling at your spouse in front of your children is going to show your children that it’s normal to yell at their spouse. Don’t argue and yell in front of your children, plain and simple. Wait until you cool off and talk calmy and don’t forget to LISTEN. Your spouse has feelings too AND you are most certainly NOT right all the time.
#4 It’s not OK to go out separately with friends
We are still working on this. I don’t like to be left out, but we also have friends that are married now and like to go out on double dates. Don’t forget about your other friends. Closing yourself off and not having any friends outside of your spouse could be harmful to you in the long run. I still don’t really get out of the house to spend time with my friends, except once a month, if I’m lucky. Mechanic may get out once a month as well, if he’s lucky. We are working on being better friends to our friends and it’s really hard.
Solution: Get out with the girls or guys! Set a day or night and go have fun! Your friends will appreciate it and you will appreciate the contact with your friends!
#3 Sex will be easy the first time
Yes, I went there! (Sorry, not sorry!) If you saved your virginity for your future husband, kudos to you! It will be akward, but so worth it!
Solution: Have fun and let loose! Communicate with your spouse, afterall, you saved yourself for him!
#2 The “honeymoon phase” will wear off
It doesn’t have to! You are creating a new life with your spouse! God designed marriage and he wants us to enjoy each other always! I love this passage from Gensis 2:
“18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animalsand all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature,that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Solution: Establish traditions, go out and travel, make memories, enjoy each other! Shut your phones and electronics off so you can enjoy one another! Make time for each other!
#1 The first year is the hardest
True to a certain extent, but the first TEN years of marriage is actually the hardest.The first year is when you are establishing your household routine and enjoying each other. As the years pass by: children join your household, pets join your household, you move houses a few times, you suffer losses, you learn a lot of life lessons.
Solution: No marriage is perfect, no matter what anyone pretends. If you’re struggling right now, REMEMBER: you are not alone in this journey!