We want to think we are realistic, but we base our expectations on our past experiences, including our experience in our own families. When marriage does not meet our expectations, we begin to realize there are things we wish we knew prior to the honeymoon. Here are three things you may have wished somebody would have warned you about before you got married.
1. You are at the end of all your problems… but which end?
We want to believe marriage will solve our problems. Granted, it does solve or end some of your problems. However, it brings new ones into your life. Instead of thinking of marriage as an end, think of it as a new beginning.
Even after you are married, the two of you will continue to grow and change both individually and as a couple. As you grow together, you will have more responsibility. Work together to overcome difficulties in your marriage. Realize that love alone is not strong enough to build a solid foundation. A solid foundation takes work and effort as you work through difficulties that bring you closer together.
There are some common problems people often think marriage will solve. For instance, marriage will not erase your insecurities. If you are insecure before you get married, you will continue to be insecure unless you work through your difficulties.
2. Great sex does not happen naturally
We start our marriage with “great expectations”, often about sex. What needs to be remembered, is that men and women view and desire sex differently. In addition, we receive and express love differently. Love is the willingness to be there for another person and share in each other’s life. It’s a combination of emotional, spiritual, and physical feelings. To make your marriage the best it can be, learn to understand yourself and how you like affection shown.
Take time to learn about sex from your partner’s perspective. Take time to understand each other’s likes and dislikes. Sex is better once you know what you and your partner like. Be adventurous and try something new once in a while, you might find that you enjoy something you did know you would like.
Keep your life together physical. Research consistently shows that touching more creates a stronger bond by releasing oxytocin. Hold hands, rub shoulders, hug and kiss. Make a conscience effort to hug and kiss for 30 seconds at least once a day. There will be a noticeable difference in the way you feel and interact.
3. Conflict is not a sign of dysfunction
Conflict is part of every relationship. One of the top reasons for divorce is irreconcilable differences. I have worked with couples who think if they do not agree on everything, their marriage is a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. Couples who get divorced have about 8-10 irreconcilable differences, whereas happily married couples have about 8-10 irreconcilable differences. So what is the difference? The difference is how you communicate about these differences. Learn proper communication skills.
Part of effective conflict resolution is the ability and willingness to forgive. When you forgive, you are expressing a desire to make your marriage work. Communicationis absolutely vital and is more effective than silence.
Issues will arise in your marriage. Having the ability and willingness to talk about and resolve issues is important. Remember that the two of you were raised in different environments with different ways of solving conflict. Both ways may be positive and work, but they may also be very different. How you work through the conflict is more important than the conflict itself. As you learn to work together, you will learn the art of compromise and forgiveness.
Communication is more than talking. It is a balance of talking, listening and understanding. It involves paying attention to what your fiancé is thinking and feeling. Good communication builds both parties up, increases self-esteem and is uplifting. Religious leader, Theodore M. Burton said: “Couples interested only in themselves don’t communicate. Lack of communication then becomes a major stumbling block in developing true love.”
Love is the very foundation of a good marriage. As long as you choose to fortify your love in marriage, you will be happy. Marriage is what you make it and can be wonderful. Enjoy every moment, and do not let the small things get in the way of making it a happy marriage. Remember, love is a choice… make the choice to love your spouse.