What they didn’t tell me about marriage

We hope that finding eternal love will lead to the path where everything is golden, where life feels full and a purpose found.  We are programmed to believe that life is going to be so much better with another person to share it with, and it is for the most part (from my limited experience so far).

What I wasn’t prepared for is that finding your mate after searching far and wide for many years is only one tenth of the work that lies ahead.

I did not realise that marriage would be my greatest test yet. I thought the hard work would have been over with when I finally met ‘the one’. I had enough break ups, things should be easy from now on… right?

Marriage is awesome and wonderful and amazing and hard.

We are in our mid-thirties and know at least three handfuls of people that are separated or divorced. In the last year or two, it seems to be a frequent occurrence that people are onto their second marriage or long term partnership. Add into the mix the couples I know (me included) that have headed for some outside assistance for a relationship check up.

It’s not that easy, sharing your life with another human.

We attended a beautiful wedding just over a year ago. Tears ran down my cheek as the couple said their vows and I clutched my husband’s hand.

This was true love, for sure!

We found out recently that the couple had split.

This news along with other recent breaks ups shook me to the core.

I know the statistics yet it is still scary that divorce is happening all around us.

No one tells you when you are looking for ‘the one’ how hard it is to share your life successfully (and happily) with another person.

You meet someone and you are full of excitement and plans for what the future together holds. In the beginning there is spark, lust and fireworks. Momentum carries you through to the engagement and the wedding, house purchasing and celebrating.. and then comes the big question; what is next?

If children are a part of your plan, then raising a child can give the relationship new focus, and purpose. Looking down the barrel of life with your partner without kids can be a little daunting – yet at the same time full of opportunity and choice.

This has been our toughest year yet, as we settled into the groove of our married life and were forced to answer some of the following questions:

What kind of life do we want? With kids or without kids? Do we want to live overseas? Do we want a pet? Cat or dog? How do we split up our money? What are our expectations of money? Is Christmas important? Is spirituality important? Do we see your family every week?

Added onto the big questions are the day to day naggings like putting the toilet roll around the wrong way (I nominate myself as guilty over here) and not taking the bins out (guilty over there – sorry husband) and all the other inklings that just seem to piss you off. (Some days more than others.)

The most common advice I hear about marriage from people who have ‘made it’ and managed to stay happy, is to never stop talking about the things that matter to you the most.

Daily issues come and go, but you have to make sure that your ‘deal breakers’, that is, the things that to you, are what you are going to get out of your long term relationship and vice versa.

The person you have chosen to share your life with is slightly messy? Not a deal breaker (for me anyway). Suddenly deciding that you never want kids, or deciding that you are only truly happy living in Europe? A deal breaker.

Think about these questions as early as you can, and talk about expectations, doubts and problems as they arise. Don’t ignore things and nor assume that people are automatically on the same page as you. (Male humans are not mind readers.)

For a shared life to work, it takes two people putting in one hundred percent one hundred percent of the time, (not a half-baked effort of fifty-fifty each). This I am discovering.

As I enter my sixth year with the awesome human I have chosen to spend my life with I am going to keep investing all I have.

Happy Sunday XXXXX

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