We’re all into “wedding season” but what about “marriage season?” Many people prepare for the wedding, but not the marriage. Here are a few things you need to know BEFORE you say “I do”…
1. Marriage doesn’t complete you.
Contrary to Jerry Maguire and all the Hollywood stories of statements like “finding the One” or “your other half,” a healthy marriage consists of two whole people who partner to create one, new body of their marriage. Even though you love this person and all that, you two are coming together, bringing all your past failures, fears and triumphs together into one marriage. You are building something great. You might benefit as a person while building with your mate, but you two are doing something new.
2. You won’t always feel attracted to your partner.
He could be as fine as (insert fine man like Idris Elba here) or as sexy as (insert sexy woman like Sanaa Lathan here), but there comes a time that even the most loving of couples aren’t “feeling” each other. We see our partners in many different lights — from elegantly dressed for a special event to retching over the toilet bowl. Even over the course of a day or an hour, attraction can fluctuate, and that’s completely normal. Know this going into a marriage. During the courting phase, preferably.
3. You won’t always like your partner.
His jokes will drive you crazy. That thing she does with her voice can irritate the mess out of you. When you spend that much time with one human being, these things can happen. We allow for this when it comes to friendships and family, but with partners, we absorb a fantasy that we’re supposed to like everything about each other all the time.
4. You don’t have to feel love to give it.
In our culture that says that love is only a feeling, it’s easy to feel confused when the…
…loving feelings fade. Then we balk against advice that says, “Fake it til you make it.” But sometimes, you have to act as-if in a long-term relationship, meaning that even if you don’t feel like giving your partner a good morning kiss, you do it anyway.
5. Sex is a sacred act of giving and receiving.
It’s sad and often detrimental that we’re offered zero guidance about one of the most complicated aspects of being human: our sexuality. We learn from pop culture, peers, and now, increasingly, from pornography, that sex is something you use to gain approval, validation or security. Healthy sex is none of those things. Loving sex is an expression of love, an act of connection where you practice the arts and skill of giving and receiving.
6. Life with young children is stressful.
Everyone says that “children” changes things and they are so right! Don’t get me wrong, children are a blessing, but when they enter a two person partnership they can be stressful, overwhelming, rich, but still beautiful. And it will put a strain on even the best of marriages. I often think it’s a small miracle that any couple survives parenting intact, as there’s such a demand on time and filling needs other than your own that the marriage is sure to suffer.
Knowing this can help you weather these challenging years, while remembering how important it is to find time to nurture both yourself and the marriage, no matter how small.
7. Keeping Score Doesn’t Matter
In many relationships, it’s about keeping score–he did this, so you have to do that. Or I did this so how come my mate didn’t do that? But in a marriage–a true marriage–it’s not about keeping score anymore, it’s about being the best person you can be or not despite what the person does or doesn’t do. Hopefully, you’ve asked enough questions up front so that you will know that no matter good times or bad times, that person is still trying to make you happy.
So you’re thinking about marriage, huh? In all of your wedding planning, don’t forget to make time for marriage.