Wifeys & Gentlemen,
How was the first week of May? This is one of my favorite months of the year and I started it off with an exciting (and slightly overwhelming) bang! Your girl got herself a shiny new J.O.B , so I apologize for the slight delay on getting this post up and running.
As promised, I wanted to be sure to make a list that contrasts our last conversation! Here, I will highlight some of the ‘less-than-awesome’ parts of being married (or together for the long-term). Please keep in mind that this list does NOT reflect how I feel about my own marriage and I am not talking about any specific couple or situation. The information was sourced from personal experience, friends, family (my husband) and what I’ve learned are the most typical causes of divorce in the United States. I know you all are so sick of hearing this, but also remember that every relationship is different. Something that might be miserable in your marriage (or long-term partnership) might be a truly joyful part of mine, and I think that might become clearer when you see my entries.
Being only a few days shy of my *6 months of marriage milestone*, I can’t express enough how awesome this new chapter has been. Without further ado, let’s begin:
1. Everything is A Negotiation: If you care about having a healthy, “give and take” relationship, then you’ll soon realize (even before marriage) that you have to compromise and negotiate constantly. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always about “bad” things and it isn’t about always giving up parts of your life or yourself for your partner.. For some, making these types of changes and adjustments are difficult and inconvenient. It can be hard to adjust to having a person in your life 24/7. You need to consider them as your partner, your roommate, your family, AND your friend and sometimes, it can be really really tough to “do the right thing”, when your used to only having to think about yourself.
2. Money: Cited as one of the biggest causes of divorce in the U.S, money and finances can be one of the toughest challenges to navigate for newlyweds and marriage-veterans alike. No matter what kind of couple you are (one that shares all of their money, one that opts to keep their assets separated, or somewhere in between) you will have to come up with a budget and a way to manage your expenses together. When engaging in premarital counseling, our therapist was of the firm belief that couples should combine all of their assets into the same shared account and aim to eliminate having any separate financial accounts (aside from a personal credit card or two, but she wasn’t super on board with that either). We understood and appreciated her advice, and decided to find a solution for merging our finances in a way that made us both comfortable. Coming from (presumably) independent backgrounds it might be hard for you and your partner to understand how to share money and account for major purchases and general spending (I’ll be going into depth on this in another post). This might lead to a few arguments and headaches, especially if one of both of you is used to splurging or spending without having to answer to anyone but yourself. Don’t worry, these things get better with time…but it can be one of the biggest bummers about marriage that no one likes to talk about.
3. Sharing A Bed: I will be the first to admit that this was a HUGE concern for me when my (now) husband first moved in. It was one thing when he would come over on the weekends;. sharing a bed was a novelty and I didn’t mind it so much because it was temporary. That all changed when his presence became permanent. I didn’t know how I would get used to having an assigned “side” of the bed. I didn’t know if I could deal with his heavy breathing or light snoring fits. I can report that after a few weeks, I got used to his sleeping patterns and having him in bed was normal and welcomed. Now, after a few years, I find I have a hard time sleeping without him around. Some couples never get used to this and some even opt to sleep separately to avoid arguments or discomfort.
4. Arguments & Fights: Speaking of, all couples fight and argue, period. I don’t care how happy you are. I don’t care how close. I don’t care if you are the best of friends forever and ever. You will fight about something eventually. Being married or involved in a long-term commitment increases these odds exponentially. While I have only been married for a short time, almost every healthy couple I know has told me to prepare for highs and lows in my marriage. This means that there will be times when we never disagree and feel totally in sync and on the same page and times where we just won’t be able to find our rhythm.
The trick is to not let the arguments and fights turn into terrible dragons that can’t be slayed. Never go to bed angry is one of the best pieces of marriage advice we could have received. Fighting with someone you love (no matter how often) is one of the worst things about being in love, but it can help to make you stronger.
5. Couple Roles & Responsibilities: Every Sunday my husband cleans the apartment and bathes/grooms the dog. I go to the grocery store/run errands, meal prep for the week, and tackle the laundry. I do the dishes on the weekdays, he does them on the weekends. I feed the dog, he walks the dog. I cook on Sundays and Wednesdays, he cooks on Fridays. He always takes out the trash, I always make the lunches and (most mornings) I make the bed.
Have I made my point? 😉
Naturally, you and your partner will begin to take on different roles in the relationship (which have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with personality and comfort level). If you’re like us, you will eventually fall into a rhythm and learn how to function efficiently together. Contrary to popular belief, my husband and I didn’t sit down and plan out our respective roles. Before we had each other, we did everything ourselves and we have gravitated to playing to our strengths.
As glamorous as this sounds (haha), there are times when we both hate this arrangement. Some Sundays, I just don’t want to leave the house. Some Wednesdays, I just don’t feel like cooking. I know that he feels the same way! There are moments where you might start to get bored in your role. One or both of you might feel taken for granted or resentful of the other. Keep calm, you’re human and it’s okay to feel that way. It’s what you do when these feelings come up that makes the difference. It can be an annoying part of marriage, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. If you are beginning to feel unhappy with your routine or want to change the way you do things, say so! Negotiation, remember? 😉
6. Monotony & Boredom: Piggybacking off of point #5, another common reason for divorce in the U.S is the feeling that your relationship has become boring or lacks passion. This scenario will look very different for different people, but it unfortunately accounts for a large percentage of marriages that end in infidelity or irreconcilable differences. As explained by another one of my blogging friends (who wants to remain anonymous since I share my blogs on social media):
I got to a point where I couldn’t stand to look at her without wanting to scream. When she seemed happy, I wanted to see her sad…. & she was great. She never did anything wrong. She was the same beautiful woman I married. I realized it was me. I hated paying our bills and buying things for the kids. I hated having to go to work (even though I loved my job) and I deeply resented her for taking all of my paycheck to spend on our needs. We never did anything fun and exciting anymore. We hardly traveled anywhere that wasn’t “kid friendly” or near family. I felt like she didn’t deserve all of my hard work, despite how hard she worked at home. I guess I just started to hate how boring we’d both become. We did the same things every single day and I wanted to do more exciting things with MY time and MY money.
While it might seem like the speaker in this paragraph is cold or shallow, the reality is that we all experience feelings of boredom, resentment, and regret about the lives we’ve built with our partners. Couples that have been together for decades have described wondering what their lives would be like if they hadn’t gotten married or decided to have kids. A few even wonder what could have happened if they ended up with someone else. These thoughts don’t make you a bad partner, they make you human. Be ready to face this challenge from time to time with the mindset that your lover is in it with you. You know you both will get a little restless here and there, so deal with it together and support each other to overcome.
7. Quirks: When you live with someone in an intimate partner relationship, you can’t hide your crazy. At some point, they are going to see and hear the weirdo things you used to do alone. While this is certainly not a bad thing (it helps make you a closer couple) it kind of stinks to know that you are so vulnerable and exposed to someone else. What if you never wanted anyone to know you wax your back hair? These kind of quirks are nearly impossible to hide from someone you are sharing your life with, but don’t worry, your partner will understand (and likely have some things he/she wishes you didn’t have to see also).
8. Inherited Pasts/Families: I’m sure we’ve all heard in-law horror stories. There are books and movies that draw inspiration from the difficulties new couples can encounter when trying to deal with each other’s families and personal baggage. I’d argue that this is one of the “luck of the draw” items on this list. Some of us are really lucky and get friendly in-laws and partners with relatively “normal” pasts. Don’t get me wrong, every family has their crazies, but if you are fortunate to have a relationship where your partner’s family has a general respect of your boundaries, you wouldn’t be able to relate to these types of woes. The best advice I can give if you are having a hard time with a part of your partner’s personal history that you can’t control, is to be open and talk to them about it. If you’re honest early on, you can avoid A LOT of issues down the road. At the very least, your partner knows where you stand and they won’t be surprised if you share any additional concerns in the future.
9. T.V Shows & Hobbies: I’m not going to explain this one. All I will say is this: you wouldn’t want to be my husband if he watched an episode of “This is Us” without me. You also wouldn’t want to be him when he’s try to enjoy baseball (I’m annoying AF about certain sports).
10. Divorce: Of course, the very worst thing about marriage is the possibility of getting divorced. My anxiety causes me to worry about this once every few months or so (& reading those case studies in my psychology classes aren’t doing me any favors)! Of course, it does not help anyone to waste time dwelling on fears that we can’t control or change, but instead of letting it consume me, I will always strive to be a conscious and considerate partner who does my best to keep my marriage alive. Still, the fact remains:
“If you never get married, you can’t get divorced.” Am I right? 😉
So, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Would you add anything to the list or take anything off? Be sure to let me know in the comments and share your own stories.
Only 7 more days until Mrs. Renai turns 30! In honor of this important moment in my adulthood, next week I will unveil my very first video post! Ahhh! I’m so excited!
Until Next Time,
Carry on Wifey’s!