By Emma Barker published
1. You don't have to start your marriage in debt because of your wedding.
Weddings are super fun. They are also insanely expensive. I remember thinking "expensive" meant, like, $10,000, so that's how much I saved over the years. HA HA! No. The average American wedding is over $25,000 at this point. Do you really want to start your new life together deeply in debt? If you can break free from the societal shackles of the wedding industry, it's pretty easy to spend very little on your wedding. Have a city hall wedding and then rent out a bar afterward. Get married in someone's backyard.
2. But you probably will.
Let's be straight here, you're probably going to have a big white dress and a reception hall and 3-foot-tall floral arrangements. It's what your mom wants, and why the hell not? Maybe your parents will chip in, but even if they do you'll probably be in some level of debt for a while. Girl, you're just going to have to live with that choice and bond over how poor you are together in your studio apartment over Cup-a-Soups. Everyone else is doing it.
3. Couples therapy isn't just for doomed couples.
I'm sure couples therapy is awful if you have really serious issues to work through, which plenty of people do, but here's my argument for why you should give it a try even if your marriage is great: It's fun. It's basically like going to a slumber party with your best friend and having a neutral party initiate a game of Truth or Dare. Or Never Have I Ever. There are certain things you'd love to know about each other, but it's just awkward to bring them up. Having a third party to be like, "Hey, what do you guys think about trying this weird fantasy or spending a huge amount of money on this luxury item? Discuss," gives you an in to non-awkwardly learn more about each other.
4. Getting married changes nothing. Having kids changes everything.
I don't have kids, but every set of parents I know (and all of the parents in our The Secret Life of Marrieds column) reiterates that getting married is, like, "meh." If you had problems before you got married, you still have the same problems when you get back from the honeymoon. Your daily lives are likely the same. If you lived together before marriage, they're extra the same. But having kids really does change everything. Your number one priority person is now your kid, not your spouse. Both of you are too tired to have sex, and even when your kid is older you don't have enough privacy to do it. Considering studies show that the happiest couples have sex two to three times a week, parenting is going to be tough.
5. If you can afford it, hire someone to clean your apartment occasionally.
This is not viable for everyone. But if it is, it is the best investment in your relationship you will ever make. Think about how often you argue over who cleaned what and when, not to mention how much happier you both are when you have a clean home. Hiring a cleaning person automatically removes a huge chunk of stress from your relationship and gives you guys a bunch of extra time to spend doing not-shitty stuff.
6. Hanging out with your family will always feel like more fun than hanging out with his.
You might love your husband's family. Maybe you have little jokes with them and text them in the middle of the day. But you still like your family better, and this will come up at holidays. Do your best to be fair. You'll get to go to The Barker's Wacky Minnesota Christmas next year.
7. You will have to do a lot of stuff you won't want to do, but so will he.
When I was working from home for a brief period, I got so upset over how late my fiancé was getting home from work. Being alone all day made every 30 minutes he worked late feel like forever. But then I got a demanding office job and he cut back on his hours and now the tables have fucking turned, my friends. It's disturbingly easy to fall into a pit of self-pity when you're feeling shafted, but in the long run all the injustices of marriage even out.
8. If you're really similar, the same things that bug you about yourself probably bug him about himself too.
The greatest moment in a relationship is when you're arguing about something that seems like huge deal and then the argument goes around and around and pretty soon you realize you are both arguing the same thing and it's just like, "OK, well, I guess we agree." Sometimes he can seem so far from you, but just remember how similar you two actually are deep down.
9. You won't necessarily "just know" when the "time is right" to have kids.
So if you're waiting to feel that, um, stop. If you want kids, just have them (or adopt them). If you don't, don't. And if you didn't think you did but now you do, it's not too late. Most of my married friends who have kids got pregnant by accident anyway. (And no, you're not necessarily infertile just because you skipped your birth control pills a few times and didn't get pregnant.)
10. Your insecurities don't automatically go away just because you know your partner thinks you're beautiful.
There is this nice whoosh of security that comes with getting engaged and married, when you're suddenly like, This person will date me even if I stop dying my roots and totally let myself go! But your deep-seated insecurities don't just go away forever when he compliments you. You have to deal with that yourself. At therapy! I love therapy.
11. You will still need alone time.
You know who hates destination bachelorette parties? Single women. You know who loves them? Married/engaged women. Girls' weekends become infinitely more fun when you spend all your time with the love of your life. For one thing, you can fart around your girlfriends and not be embarrassed about it. For another thing, no one likes having just one friend, no matter how awesome that friend is.
12. You are going to be annoying on Facebook.
Every single person gripes about married people who post all their wedding photos and honeymoon photos and baby photos on social media. Every married person posts all their wedding photos and honeymoon photos and baby photos on social media. You will become this person, and there is nothing wrong with that. Embrace it. But don't post too many pictures of your baby's naked butt or they'll hate you when they're older.
13. Sometimes if you're really mad at your husband or wife, you'll go to extremes and wonder if you made a big mistake by marrying him or her and imagine divorcing him or her in your head.
It's just a coping tactic and a way to express your outrage. But the thoughts might cross your mind sometimes, even if you really love him or her.
14. And you will feel stuck for a while if/when you have kids.
When you're married, you always have the out of divorce, even if you really don't want to have to use it. But once you have a kid with someone, the thought will occur to you that now there is no escape. This person will be in your life no matter what forever and ever. It's scary at first, but you'll find it comforting the more you think about it.
15. But chances are, you chose the right person, you'll love being married, and all the hard times will be so worth it.
Marriage is like a jar of pickles; it's insanely hard to get to the good part, but once you crack it open it's worth the struggle and it only gets better with age. But love doesn't just happen. You chose who you love, and if you wake up every morning and choose to be with him again, and he chooses to be with you, then you are right for each other. *hugs*
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Emma Baker is an Editorial Intern and graduate student in NYU's Cultural Reporting and Criticism program. She thinks/writes/obsesses about market feminism, consumer culture, and self image.
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