Getting married is one of the most important decisions two people can make. While most newlyweds know that life after the wedding won’t always remain in the “honeymoon” phase, it’s sometimes easy to forget that marriage comes with a whole new slew of hardships and reality checks, especially when you’re in the throes of young love. Most people assume that if you love each other enough to get married, then everything will somehow work out. However, learning to live with someone “for better or for worse” can be a bit tricker than at first thought. Here are some truths that every newlywed should know about marriage.
1. Your Sex Life Will Change
This is probably the most common truth that everyone knows (but is probably in denial about). The “hot and heavy” vibe of your young marriage will dissipate, thanks to stressful careers, kids, and the inability to achieve the perfect work-life balance (because no one can do that well). However, while the newness of sex is certainly gone, that doesn’t mean that sex should be a write-off. In fact, ensuring that regular sex is part of your schedule is important to maintain intimacy and connection with your partner. Sex might be different, but with some creativity and communication, it can be different in a good way.
2. Marriage Isn’t Always Fair
Yes, there will be times that your partner won’t load the dishwasher or when you get exasperated that it’s always up to you to send out holiday cards every year. It will feel unfair, and you’ll no doubt want to voice your opinion. But marriages aren’t about keeping score. In fact, the marriages that last are those that value generosity, respect, and communication. Choosing your battles goes a long way, and so does extending kindness. Instead of seeing what your partner isn’t doing, choose to see what your partner is doing. There is always something to appreciate.
3. You Will Fight
Just because you’re compatible and love the same things, as well as love each other, doesn’t mean you won’t fight. It’s actually unhealthy if you don’t. Truthfully, the strongest of marriages involve conflict. But the most important component underlying that is a couple’s ability to fight fairly as well as knowing how to make up with each other in a way that makes both partners feel loved and safe. Learning how to apologize and being able to forgive each other every day is difficult. People hate to lose, and we always want to be right and, yes, it hurts when your partner hurts your feelings. But it’s important to know that you’re not in a battle with each other; you’re working towards a common goal: a loving and healthy marriage. Remembering that notion whenever you fight, and using that knowledge towards reconciling after a disagreement, will make reconnecting easier.
4. You Will Want Space
While you might hang out a lot together one-on-one throughout the first months or years of marriage, sooner or later, you will find yourselves wanting to spend time apart. This is healthy. Co-dependency happens when we think we ought to be spending all of our time with our partners. Space is good. Having different interests and hobbies, as well as making time to spend with friends and family outside of your marriage, is important. It allows both of you to feel independent, and helps connect you to a separate support system. Plus, when you do things apart, you will be able to miss each other more, which then ignites a craving for each other. Funnily enough, by spending time apart from your partner, you’ll want to reconnect with them even more.
5. You Are Different
Yes, you and your partner have a lot in common, but you are two different people with two very different experiences and perspectives on the world—which means how you react and respond to situations and people will be different. This will become more apparent overtime. Oh, and those little differences that you first loved about your partner? Don’t be surprised if they start driving you up the wall. This is when you can choose whether to be annoyed at your partner or you can let it go. For example, paying rent at the last minute may not be what you would do, but it doesn’t make them a bad person—it just means they operate differently than you. It almost goes without saying that acknowledging and appreciating your partner’s differences goes a long way. Try to see that you two balance each other out, and that it’s your contrasts that keep your relationship alive and interesting. Imagine how boring your marriage would be if you were exactly the same?
Marriage will have its ups and downs. But by being realistic about what to expect, as well as understanding that it won’t always be as romantic as it is in the beginning, newlyweds can have a head start on navigating their relationship, ensuring it will last a lifetime.