All you need is love… and a letter full of marriage advice.
I have a niece who’s getting married, and that made me think about what advice I would give her (or any bride) about to embark on the road to marriage. I’m a huge advocate of marriage, I’m a wedding celebrant for petes sake. I adore seeing a couple flush with love, ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives as husband and wife, so I support marriage whole-heartedly, but I also know that it’s not always plain sailing. With that in mind I thought I would share some of my own thoughts on marriage (of course it’s not a ‘how-to’ guide to being married, because I have made my fair share of mistakes, just ask my patient husband) I’ve been married myself for 17 years, so while I haven’t made it to the 46 years of my in-laws, I think I have a reasonable grasp on the whole being married thing, and thought I’d share my musings.
It’s bloody hard work
and anyone who tells you it’s easy and they never fight, is lying! And anyone who has been married to the same person for any length of time will probably agree with me.
- You will love them, but may not like them all of the time. Yes of course you love them, but there will be times when they will annoy the crap out of you. Times when you need to leave the house because you fear you may ‘accidentally’ stab them in the face with a fork. And that’s OK. The leaving the house, not the stabbing them.
- You will not agree with them all the time, but it is how you deal with a disagreement that matters.
- You will need to compromise, a lot. And that’s OK, as long as you’re both getting some of the good stuff.
- You will argue, a lot. But once again it is how you deal with the argument, and talk it through, and resolve it that matters. And ‘better living’ tip: you need to resolve the argument, otherwise it will continue to rear it’s ugly head sporadically. Of course not all arguments can be resolved over a cup of coffee, but you need to realise when you need a second opinion, or professional help.
- You will both change. Of course you will, you are not the same person you were 5/10 years ago, and neither is your husband, and you won’t be the same person in 5/10 years from now.
- Communication, communication, communication. It is key, you need to keep talking.
- There will be times when one of you is strong, and will need to take the lead, and the other is weak, and needs to be cared for, and then it will change. Being married, in my opinion, means that you know the other person always has your back.
- Kids will change everything. Of course they will, how can they not. They come into your nice, settled, comfortable, disposable income filled life and turn it upside down. Don’t get me wrong I love our kid, but it can be very stressful and taxing on a relationship to have this other little person, who takes up so much of your time, money and attention.
- Pick your battles. You’ll get sick of the sound of your own voice if you nag about everything that the other person does that drives you crazy. Just focus on the things that you can’t overlook. See the section on compromise.
- You need to maintain your own life outside of the marriage. It’s important to maintain friendships, hobbies, interests etc that are separate to your partner. It helps keep your own identity, and gives you something to talk about at the end of the day.
- Everyone brings baggage to the marriage. Everyone has a life before they get married, and depending on your past relationships and family dynamics, everyone has ‘stuff’ and it can be challenging to sort out how your new family is going to work. Marriage is essentially asking two different people from different backgrounds to come together and live their lives together. Of course it’s not going to be seamless.
- Your marriage needs to be a priority in your life. It is so easy to get complacent, and busy and not put the effort in. But if you don’t tend to your marriage it will not work.
- Marriage is not the same for everyone. It is not a one size fits all. You do not have to have a marriage like the Jones’s. You need to negotiate what works for you both, your happiness and your family. Marriage is not a noun, it is a verb, it is constant work, and change and discussion and negotiation.
- There will be times when you think ‘what the hell have I done?’ but you work through it and come out the other side.
Marriage is awesome If you pick the right person, you will have a friend that you can laugh with, love with, have adventures with. Someone who will challenge you, help you to grow, and help make you a better version of yourself.
I’m keen to hear what your advice to a bride on her wedding day would be. Is there anything I missed?