Getting married is one of the most significant events in a person’s life. While it’s filled with excitement and joy, it also comes with many challenges that can be difficult to navigate.
Looking back, there are several things I wish I knew before taking the plunge that would have helped me be more prepared for married life. Here are the top 18 things I wish I had known before getting married:
1. Marriage Requires Constant Effort
I naively thought that marriage would be easy and natural. However, keeping a marriage strong takes a lot of work. My spouse and I have had to continually make sacrifices, negotiate differences, and choose each other daily.
Building a healthy marriage requires ongoing effort from both partners. Knowing this from the start would have prepared me for the work of married life.
2. Expect Your Relationship Dynamic To Change
My spouse and I went from acting like carefree dating partners to behaving more like business partners. Part of this was positive—we became more mature and responsible. However, we also lost some of the fun and romance that characterized our dating relationship. Expecting this shift would have prepared me for the change.
3. Make Communication A Top Priority
My spouse and I had different communication habits early on, which led to miscommunications and conflict. Learning tools for positive communication before getting married—like mirroring, validating, and communicating needs—would have avoided many problems and brought us closer faster.
4. Discuss Your Conflict Resolution Styles
Like communication, my spouse and I had contrasting ways of resolving conflict that were counterproductive early in our marriage. Discussing our differences—I tend to need space, my spouse wants to talk it out—would have led to fewer arguments. Understanding these distinctions from the start could have saved us time.
5. Don’t Assume You Know Your Partner
I wrongly assumed that I already knew everything important about my spouse since we lived together before marriage. However, I discovered many new things about my partner after we tied the knot. I wish we had more ongoing open conversations early on to deepen our knowledge of each other.
6. Make Time To Connect Outside The Home
The demands of work, family, and home responsibilities left little time after getting married for us to nurture our relationship outside the house. We needed to make a conscious effort to go out on date nights and weekend getaways—especially in our first couple of years when establishing a couple time is essential.
7. Keep Investing In Yourself
After becoming a spouse, I lost myself a bit by focusing entirely on “us.” I stopped nurturing my own friends, hobbies, passions, and space. Keeping my individual identity throughout marriage by continuing to invest in myself would have made me a happier, more fulfilled partner.
8. Don’t Try To Change Your Partner
My spouse and I each had ideas early on about how the other should be different. However, you must love, understand, and compromise with your partner’s existing qualities. Don’t expect to change your spouse; it won’t happen. I wish we had embraced each other’s differences.
9. Share Chores According To Preferences
My spouse and I unnecessarily argued over chores until we figured out who genuinely prefers doing what. Split chores based on each person’s natural proclivities to avoid resentment. I wish we had realized this sooner.
10. Make Intimacy A Priority
After marriage, it’s easy for busy schedules, exhaustion, and distractions to push intimacy down the priority list. However, emotional and physical intimacy is important for a strong marriage. Making intimacy a consistent priority from the start keeps partners connected. I wish this was more apparent to me initially.
11. Marriage is Work
A strong marriage doesn’t just happen naturally—it requires regular effort to nurture fondness, communication, intimacy and growth. Partners must actively invest in the relationship. Approach marriage as a project you collaborate on.
12. You’re Going to Fight
Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable. Don’t try to avoid them entirely. Manage disputes calmly using healthy conflict resolution tactics. Fight fair, take breaks if needed, and forgive quickly. Move past fights instead of holding grudges.
13. You’re Not Going to Agree on Everything
With two unique individuals, differences of opinion will arise. Discuss openly but know when to let small things go. Compromise when possible. If no agreement can be reached, agree to disagree respectfully. Unity doesn’t mean uniformity.
14. Sex Doesn’t Always Have to be Amazing
Don’t expect earth-shattering sex every time. Levels of desire and intimacy fluctuate. The key is mutual openness to pleasure and maintaining physical connection through affection like kissing, touching, and cuddling. Cherish emotional intimacy when sex falls short.
15. It’s Okay to Need Time Apart
Allowing each other regular alone time prevents feeling smothered. Time apart helps maintain your individual identities. Recharge by enjoying hobbies, friends and self-care activities separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
16. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Life’s obligations can overwhelm fun couples time. But laughter, adventure and enjoyment are crucial. Have regular date nights. Be spontaneous and playful. Take a day just to connect through shared activities you both love. Keep the spark alive.
17. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Seeking support is wise when conflicts persist or challenges arise like sexual issues, grief or depression. Consult a therapist or pastor. Read relationship books or take a marriage education class. Investing in guidance strengthens bonds.
18. Marriage is Worth It
Having a life partner provides comfort, joy, and meaning. Studies show married people experience better health, longevity, wealth, sexuality, and happiness. Despite requiring work, marriage’s rewards outweigh its challenges. The effort pays dividends.
Getting married is full of lessons and growing experiences for any couple. While some things in marriage cannot be fully understood until lived, having more wisdom on the front end helps tremendously.
These are the key things I know now that I wish I fully understood before taking the vows. Ultimately, gaining this knowledge equips spouses to build a healthy, lasting marriage from day one. Learn here more about married life and Tips.
Q: How can we keep our marriage strong?
A: Make communication, intimacy, trust, and quality time priorities. Attend to your relationship daily, seek help when needed, and nurture fondness through thoughtful gestures. Share meaningful experiences, embrace fun and laughter, and express appreciation.
Q: How do you fix a broken marriage?
A: Rebuild trust and respect through honest communication. Make amends for hurts, manage conflicts better, and renew your commitment. Seek counseling to facilitate understanding each other’s underlying needs and emotional dynamics. Rekindle intimacy through affection, sex, and sharing feelings.
Q: What are the most common marriage problems?
A: The top marriage problems are communication issues, financial disagreements, lack of intimacy, unequal division of household labor, lack of quality time, trust issues, role confusion, conflicts around child rearing, and substance abuse.
Q: How can I be happier in my marriage?
A: Focus on your partner’s positive qualities and express gratitude. Surprise each other with gestures like flowers or a romantic dinner out. Schedule regular date nights and weekend getaways. Try marriage workshops and books to gain insights. Set aside quality time to talk and have fun together.
Q: What are some fun things couples can do together?
A: Fun things for couples include game nights, cooking classes, hiking, traveling, dancing lessons, volunteering together, going to concerts or sports events, taking language or art classes together, doing DIY projects, and taking day trips to new places.
Q: How do you know when your marriage is really over?
A: Signs marriage is likely over include ongoing contempt or abuse, repeated infidelity including emotional affairs, addiction issues not being addressed, complete lack of intimacy, constant unresolved conflict, and when one or both partners stop putting in effort and no longer wish to work on the relationship.
Q: What are the keys to better communication in marriage?
A: Tips for improving marriage communication include not interrupting, asking thoughtful questions, making “I” statements, mirroring your partner’s words, validating their perspective, taking breaks if emotions escalate, focusing on resolving conflicts not winning arguments, and expressing appreciation.