While my husband and I were out today, I was chatting with a young woman for a bit while we were waiting for something. She had asked about our marriage and how long we had been together (25 years this year) and she wanted to ask us for some advice. She is getting married in a couple of months and although she is in love she said she was nervous about the wedding and how things would be when they got married. Several people had told her that her husband to be would change once they got married and that she should be prepared. I told her that things could be rough the first year but that if she and her husband worked at it, they could do alright. But later on, I thought of some more advice I might give to new couples starting out. Since I’m wordy it’s unlikely that I will be passing these on in casual conversation but here they are anyway. 🙂
- Life and weddings aren’t a romantic fairy tale – This probably seems obvious but our culture has so many images and ideals that we see everyday there can easily be a subconscious idea about how romantic and perfect things should be. The idea that having the perfect wedding and honeymoon will lead to the perfect marriage and you will live happily ever after. I’m afraid I’ve found out through experience it doesn’t work that way. There will be days that wives will be disgusted, angry, and/or upset with their husbands. And their will be days that husbands are disgusted, angry and/or upset with their wives. If you’re lucky they won’t happen on the same day but there’s no guarantee of it. Which leads me to the next piece of advice…
- Keep a sense of humor handy – On those bad days, if you can find something to laugh at, it can help ease the challenge you have before you. When your 3 year old has filled the living room with 2 inches of water, again, from the outside hose, if you can find a way to even smile, it can make it a bit easier. Sometimes the laughter may come 2-3 years later but if you can find it, it can ease things a bit. Just make sure your spouse doesn’t think you are laughing at them 🙂 And once you have children I highly recommend buying a wet/dry shop vac, it can make certain challenges easier to deal with. Such as when children play with water or when the sewer backs up. Not that I’ve ever had those happen, mind you. 😉
- Hard and challenging times make for the best stories – When families gather together and talk about things, what are the stories they tell? There might be some mention of that quiet peaceful dinner where all the children sat quietly and behaved and the adults acted adult like. Or there will probably be the stories of the time one of the kids dropped the plate of food on the brand new carpet at Grandma’s or that one Thanksgiving when Uncle Henry had one too many and started dancing in the middle of dinner. At least once you get through the hard times you will probably have some good stories to tell to your family and friends.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember it’s all small stuff – This one is probably the hardest to learn and I think it just requires experience to fully understand it. But once you do get it, it’s a big help in getting through
- Treasure the good times – When you do have those quiet moments where things go perfectly, keep those memories safe. Someday the people you shared the time with may not be there and you will at least have a memory that you can use to bring them back.
- Remember that you love each other – And most of all, no matter the arguments, the disagreements, the bad days with your spouse or your children, remember that you love each other and care about what happens to them. You may not like them very much at the moment, but remember your love and how you would feel if they weren’t there.
Not a short list, but something I wanted to share. I just hope my husband and I have another good 25 years together.