What Do You Wish You’d Known Before Marriage?

People always say that when you tie the knot, everything changes. But like…how? No matter what your relationship is like, those on the other side of their “I do’s” say that navigating your new roles and routines as spouses can be both tricky and exciting.

knowbeforeyourwedding

We asked eight women—some still married, some divorced—​for the number one thing they wish they’d known before getting married. Study up on these lessons before you get hitched to make married life a little sweeter.

 

Politics matter

“I’m a liberal Democrat and my former husband was a conservative Republican. I don’t know why I didn’t think that was important. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on any of the issues and it really hurt our respect for each other and thus our happiness. In dealing with our infertility, I was worried that his anti-abortion view could become dangerous to my life if we did any high-tech reproductive assistance. Also, I had an abortion decades earlier and felt misunderstood. I hated when the conservative newspaper landed in our driveway and he felt the same about my newspaper.” —​Lisa D.

Your relationship will change

“I wish I had known that our relationship was going to feel different, and that it was going to be really, really, insanely hard. That said, it was still so so worth it.” —​Naomi F.

You have to know yourself

“Before both of my marriages, I wish I had known that I should always be true to myself. Don’t change for anyone unless it’s a good change!” —​Penny T.

You'll still want alone time
4/8 CHRISTINE FRAPECH

“Marriage really binds you to one another, in a great way, but it’s nice to still feel like your own person. Having alone time and separate hobbies is really important. For example, my husband and I each have a few TV shows that we watch separately, and it’s good to factor individuality into your marriage. That’s something that kind of evolved after our first year of marriage.” —​Ashley W.

Family matters

“With my first marriage, I wish I’d known that as long as your partner has a relationship with their family, then it matters how well you get along with them—​especially whoever your intended is closest to. When I was 21, that seemed stupidly old-fashioned. I wasn’t marrying a family, I was marrying a guy. Ooops! Even though he was an atheist to his fundamentalist family, he was still close with them, so there was the inevitable strain on our marriage. Many, if not most, fights came about around them.” —Kelly B.

 
Your spouse isn't a mind reader

“As close as you are now, you will still need to make your needs known. Spelling out what you want may not seem as romantic, but it’s not fair to play guessing games and then get bent out of shape when he is clueless. I read the book The 5 Love Languages later in our marriage, and I wish I’d read it when we werenewlyweds. Once I’d identified his primary ‘love language’ and mine, it helped us take our relationship to a whole new level.” —​Echo G.

 
Your marriage is about more than your wedding

“It’s not about the wedding. The one-day thing consumes everything leading up to it, but that’s not what marriage is about. In 20 years, you will not care one iota that the wedding cake topper was wrong or that the DJ played stupid music (okay, that part still annoys me).” —​Dana M.

You'll need to pick your battles

“I wish I had grasped the concept and power of picking battles earlier. Focus on issues that truly impact your long-term happiness and let small annoyances roll off your shoulder.” —​Jess S.

Read more: 72-year-old woman spent all her savings on a 27-year-old man

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