Marriage isn’t always as easy as happily ever after. In reality, committing yourself to someone for the rest of your life can come with plenty of surprises, both delightful and less than pleasant. And sometimes, there’s so much pressure to seem blissed-out that it’s hard for people to, as The Real World says, stop being polite and start getting real. Here, 12 women open up about what they really wish they’d known before walking down the aisle.
1. Being married isn’t like being in a long-term relationship, and that’s a good thing.
“It’s different, even if you’ve been living together in a long-term relationship. For me, the minute we got married was a new beginning of life together as a team and a family. Everything we do now is for the benefit of our family, today and in the future. There’s no guessing, no game-playing. Just teamwork, all day, every day. It’s the best.” —Alison F., 30
2. Nighttime routines are no laughing matter.
“This has nothing to do with s e x. If your significant other is the I-need-silence-and-absolutely-no-lights-please kind of bedmate and you’re more into hitting up your iPad to kill time before you doze off, you both need to adapt. Our compromise is to each sleep so the side we like to lie on faces the wall, meaning our backs are to each other. That way, I can use my Kindle without him noticing the brightness. Or he heads upstairs to bed while I get tired with TV or a book, then head to bed when I realize I’ve fallen asleep on the couch.” —Jenna A., 31
3. Honeymoons aren’t perfect 24/7.
“The honeymoon will be fun, but it might not be magical. One night my husband fell asleep before 8:00 P.M. We also stayed in the room another night and watched Project X—not a movie you would think of as a honeymoon choice! But it was fun night, and one of the things we remember well.” —Sarah P., 39
4. At this point, what you see is what you get.
“Accept them how they are now, because you literally can’t change anything about them.” —Mary M., 35
5. Remembering to have fun makes it all so much better.
“Before we got married, every fight started to feel huge—the wedding planning pressure is so real. But now that we’ve said our vows and are spending the rest of our lives intrinsically tied together, things have loosened up a bit. It can be hard when things get tough, but laughter is the best medicine.” —Meredith S., 26
6. Ben Affleck was right: marriage is work.
“After the glitz, fun, and excitement of the wedding die down, and after the honeymoon phase of being newlyweds, relationships take a crapload of work. And in my case, sometimes they don’t work out.” —Amanda M., 35
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