1. The second you get engaged it seems the people around you become a neverending spring of opinions and it doesn’t stop with the wedding. Their advice comes from a place of love but there are some pieces of “advice” about your marriage that you need to immediately discard. Marriages are not one size fits all. What works for someone else’s marriage may not work for your own.
2. Marriage throws you into adulthood, but you can fake it until you make it. I got married when I was 23 so I went from graduating college to planning a wedding to buying a house and living with my husband and making dinner every night — in a year. Living in a suburban home and having a human you refer to as “husband” makes you feel like you’re playing house sometimes. That’s normal. Just keep going and eventually you’ll feel just as grown-up as you look from the outside.
3. You will discover new things about your partner and yes, some of them will be unpleasant or annoying. It comes with the sinking realization that you’re stuck with this annoying habit forever. Here’s a hint: sex is a great tension reliever.
4. Date night is so, so, SO important. Don’t let it fall by the wayside! Once a week make plans that involve leaving the house. Get dressed up. Wear your fancy underwear (and whatever the male equivalent of that is).
5. You might mourn the loss of your engagement. Weddings are a so much work and near the end of my engagement I couldn’t wait to get the whole thing over with it. But after a few weeks of being officially married, I kind of missed having something exciting that took up all my time. This doesn’t mean that you’re not happily married, it just means you need a new hobby. My husband and I took a month long cooking class that was held once a week and had “homework” we needed to do in between. We found a new passion we can enjoy together forever and we got to spend a lot of time together cooking some yummy (and some not so yummy) food.
6. If you make your husband feel like a king, he will make you feel like a queen (and vice versa). Some people say “happy wife, happy life” but that’s not true — the happiest marriages are where both people feel spoiled by their partner. You’ve got each other’s backs and you look out for their happiness because, that’s what makes you happy.
7. The first year of marriage is a whole bunch of “firsts” that make every normal thing exciting. Your first breakfast as a married couple, first birthday, first Christmas — there’s an aura of excitement around everything because you’ve found your person. You hope you never forget what it feels like.
8. No one will EVER shut up about “when you’re going to have a baby.” It’s none of their business but it does no good to get angry every time this happens. The best response is a simple, “as soon as the time is right” with a smile that lets them know you don’t wish to discuss the issue further.
9. Sometimes people say they’re afraid of becoming “that couple” that goes out to eat and has nothing to talk about. Silence is nice, actually. It’s a sign of health. The times you’re scrambling to fill silences with your partner — that’s when you know you’re in trouble.
10. It’s okay to need your own space. Take it before you boil over. Go to the gym and blow off steam or to a cafe and just read alone. It doesn’t mean you’re sick of your spouse or that you two have any problems. Everyone needs a little recharge once in awhile.
11. You will have the biggest fights you’ve had so far. The freshness of marriage and being in love wears off, you get put in tough situations with moving and money and everything else that always happens in life. What you learn is that fighting can be good, it gets everything out in the open and creates a surface to build something on together.
12. You learn to really listen to your partner. You thought you already did this but marriage cements this feeling of “I’m going to be with this person for the rest of their life and their happiness is my happiness so I may as well do my best to make them ecstatic.”
13. If there was any mystery left in your relationship, you can kiss it goodbye! It’s one of those things I swore I would never do, I was determined to be one of those women who had some mystery left in her relationship. But then I got food poisoning and I gladly paid the price of mystery to have my loving husband bringing me Gatorade and rubbing my back.
14. Not for one day did you imagine some of the best days of your life would involve laying in bed until 11am and then hitting Home Depot. And yet here you are.
15. My husband and I used to fight about who did more cleaning. He wanted to hire a cleaning lady but I thought cleaning was cathartic and I enjoyed it — I just didn’t enjoy when he left extra messes for me to clean. We talked about it and compromised — the money he wanted to spend on a cleaning lady would go to my weekly mani/pedi. My weekly spa trip and flawless nails make me too happy to care about a few extra messes. The lesson? Figure out what specifically makes you mad and then discuss it openly. There’s a solution.
16. The one piece of advice that everyone should actually listen to: never go to bed angry.
17. Your friends will consider you old and boring, even if you aren’t. Wear it like a badge of honor. Pajamas and Netflix might seem lame to your single friends, but curling up together is the best feeling in the world.
18. Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s. This is toxic as you’re bound to feel inferior to someone’s “perfect” marriage. But you can only see other people’s lives from the outside and no one is as perfect as they seem. There’s no point to comparing yourself to others when you don’t even know what’s going on underneath the surface.
19. In the end, you will go to sleep each night knowing your life is a little more full than it was last year.