The Top 7 Truths You Need to Know About Marriage
Tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate seven years of marriage.
In many ways, I know it is quite a feat because let's face it: Those people who say that marriage is hard, well, they're right. It is hard. So damn hard.
Don't get me wrong. It's also beautiful. Having a best friend, a partner, a cheerleader to walk through life with is a magical thing. I'm truly thankful that I got to marry the man I did and that he is the best partner I could ask for.
Still, marriage isn't always a dance down the aisle or a romantic stroll on a perfect-temperature day. It's exhausting. It's boring sometimes. It's aggravating. And the struggles go well beyond dirty socks on the floor or who is taking out the trash. Life is hard. Love is hard. Staying committed is hard sometimes.
Over the years, we've learned a lot about life as we've grown up together. We've learned about mortgage rates and taxes. We've learned about taking care of furnaces and that water heaters are freaking expensive.
And most of all, we've learned that marriage isn't always what it seems like in the movies.
Here are seven things we've learned in the past seven years of marriage.
1. Chores can ruin a relationship.
When we first got married, we thought money would be the external force to come between us. So many women's magazines, experts, and married couple warn about how money fights can get fierce.
For us, though, we learned very quickly that there was another danger lurking: chores. With us both working full-time jobs, dividing and conquering the mundane drudgery of adult life threatened to overpower our connection so many times. We argued, fought, cried, and swore over what we both deemed an unfair splitting of the household duties. We were in uncharted territory, having both lived at home before moving in together. We didn't have a system or a plan.
It took a few years for us to come up with a system we were both happy with. I think for couples getting ready to move in together or get married, my best advice is: Talk now about how you will divide regular chores. Don't assume you will both merrily do your part without having to discuss it because this can lead to resentment and really wicked fights.
2. Celebrate the small gestures.
Movies, books, and even social media can make us feel like romance is about the big gestures. Diamonds, roses, romantic getaways--these things are all wonderful.
But they also cost a lot of money and especially early on in our marriage, that just wasn't a luxury we could afford.
I've learned in seven years of marriage, though, that romance isn't always about Instagram-worthy gestures. Sometimes it's about the really small gestures. My husband stopping to get me some Starbucks after work as a surprise, and remembering exactly how I like my iced coffee. A simple dinner in the air fryer and some time across from each other at our dinner table after a long, hard week. A random kiss in the middle of a cut scene in his video game, or pausing my Netflix show just to tell him I love him. These are the real romantic moments of married life. And these are the moments that are free but also mean so much.
3. Everyone is annoying to live with if you give them long enough.
I don't care who you are--you have annoying habits. And so does your spouse.
Chad and I are super close, and we knew each other for a long time before we got married. Still, living with someone, you really to get to know each other, good and bad.
I think all married couples go through stages of annoyance. There are things I wish I could change about my husband, and vice versa. Not big things, just little annoying habits. But I've come to learn that marriage isn't about loving the other person for the good things. It's about loving them for the bad things, too. It's about accepting each other for who you are and realizing that neither of you are perfect.
4. It can't always be 50/50.
Chad and I try to run our marriage on the 50/50 principle. However, we've come to realize that the 50/50 model doesn't always work because life isn't always fair. There are times when he's struggling, and I need to give more. There are times when I'm struggling, and he needs to give more.
Marriage is sometimes about picking up the slack for your partner so the team can keep moving forward. It's about doing dishes for him when he's working a ton of overtime, and it's about helping with the laundry for me when I'm having a stressful week.
5. You have to find the energy to spend time to together.
One of the biggest struggles of married life (and adult life) is being tired. Truly.
Working, taking care of a household, and managing our various roles is tiring. It's easy to slack on spending time with each other, on putting in effort to make sure our connection stays strong.
We've learned over the years, though, that you have to push through. When he was working an odd shift last year, that meant getting less sleep so we could see each other. It means that when we come home and are so tired, we just want to go our separate ways and rest, we put in the effort to find energy to hang out.
Marriage is work. Building a connection is work. You have to be able to put in the time.
6. Support each others' hobbies.
Maintaining separate identities is important in a marriage. Chad and I don't share any mutual hobbies, but we've learned that's okay. Having time to work on our own hobbies is healthy and has helped us stay happy together. Most of all, we've learned that supporting each other in our separate endeavors has helped us appreciate who we are together.
Married life doesn't have to be about doing everything together. We've found happiness as a couple by appreciating our differences and supporting each other's interests.
7. Laughter really does improve a relationship.
I've written this in so many articles because it's the biggest truth I've come to learn. The key to a happy, successful marriage, in my opinion, is being able to laugh together. It's about not taking marriage too seriously or taking each other too seriously. It's about being able to joke, to laugh, to play, to be goofy together. It's about cracking a smile when life starts to get hard. It's about making each other truly laugh when life makes you want to cry.
Having someone beside you who can make you smile through even the hardest times is when connections are strengthened.
I want to know what you've learned from marriage. Tell me in the comments below!
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