“So, how’s married life?”
Seriously, I have this exchange almost daily. Someone asks me how married life is. I say amazing, so great, wonderful and other perfectly descriptive words that are honestly true. Instead of getting a “that’s so great” or “so happy for you.” I get the question: “Really?” Why are they so surprised? Why would they ask if they didn’t want to hear the truth? Were they wishing I said something else like “it’s ok?” I hate to think that they were hoping I would say something negative that would help them feel better about their own situation.
When my mother said it I finally asked her why everyone is acting surprised. Now, I don’t mean to imply that every person who says it is doubting. But, the way they say it seems to be a feeling of doubtful surprise.
She said that it’s because there are adjustments getting used to the person, marriage is hard, etc. Of course I never went into marriage thinking it would be easy. Unlike many of my college friends I saw the ups and downs of a marriage. Side note: I went to a Private University and found out that many people never saw their parents fight ever. So, when they got married before 25 they were quite surprised. Back on to my blog, I actually don’t mind too much that I saw the arguing. They also showed the romance and were open and honest about sex and money. Going into marriage I wasn’t thinking it would be a walk in the park.
But, I love being married! Seriously, when I say married life is amazing, it’s because, for my husband and I, it is. Is our life easy? No. We both work multiple projects, we have dogs and some serious college debt. We basically work for ourselves which has its own entrepreneurial stress, we live in a studio apartment with 2 pitbulls. Our life is awesome!
I don’t want to come off like my marriage/life is better than. Actually, I’m hoping I can address something more specific. Marriage or any relationship can be tough. Has its ups and it’s downs. But, it doesn’t have to be anything less than amazing.
I listened to my mom and even a few others explain why they responded in a surprise. They had valid points. As a couple we are not experiencing those points. At least not in a bad way. Sure, it takes getting used to going from living alone to living with someone. Combining schedules, goals and other life pressures are there daily, to challenge happiness. Here’s some of the points people have brought up are tough and how you can avoid them being an issue:
1) Sharing space with someone else: My husband and I moved in together really quickly. Do I think this is why there was no adjusting to sharing space? Nope, but we adjusted prior to engagement so this was pretty status quo. I recommend you live with your significant other (SO) when you feel it’s right. For some people during the dating period is right. Others, post nuptials is a grand idea. Do not move in with you SO anytime before your ready. If anyone makes you feel like you should do it sooner or wait longer say “thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.” Then listen to your own gut.
We live in a studio with 2 dogs. There is not a lot of space for anyone. However, because I love our time together and we communicate we each have space for our things. Also, we don’t believe in buying more than what we need. If you are not used to sharing space with someone else before the big move in I recommend getting organized and getting rid of all things not necessary (both parties). Then, combine the households and donate duplicates or if you can just buy new stuff together and donate both “olds.”
2) Finances: We have always pretty much gone dutch. I know this will shock some people but when we married we didn’t combine incomes. Instead we got a card together. The household stuff goes on the card we pay it off evenly and then we are free to spend our money how we want. So many fights come down to money. Someone spends and the other doesn’t or one person knows where all the money is going and the other doesn’t. We have financial goals together, savings and a vision for our future. But, we also have debts before the relationship. Our way is a great way to have constant communication about what we are buying and why without anyone feeling like they have to ask permission. This may sounds quite unromantic and very business-y but as I mentioned we are both Entrepreneurs so doing business is kind of our thing, and also when it comes to doing business it’s not personal. The finance part of life isn’t personal. So no need to treat it like it is.
3) Time: We have nights that are guaranteed work/meet with other nights and nights we expect to be together. We share a calendar so we can easily put dates and events in our schedules which allows us to avoid double booking because one person forgot to add an event to their calendar. We also don’t assume the other is free. We ask each other what we are up to for the weekend ahead and schedule in at least one date night or more a week. This way it feels like we are still asking the other person out. It’s important to have time together but also to have time with our own friends or doing our own projects.
4) Delegating tasks: Who does what? Why? When? Well, I refuse to nag and I hate to ask more than once. We use Basecamp to assign todo’s, send info and have conversations about projects. This keeps them from getting lost in a slew of text messages. It also frees up our conversations to be about our day, goals and more without constantly going over what needs to be done. Imagine your messages just having emoji’s, I love you’s and have a nice day!
5) Love Languages: There is an easy, simple quiz online and single or in a relationship you must take it. Knowing how you give and receive love makes it easier for someone else to receive your love and give you love in your own language. My love languages are “words of affirmation” and “touch.” My husbands are “acts of service” and “touch.” When I surprise him with a pizza I am speaking his love language. When he leaves me a note on my coffee cup telling me something sweet he is speaking mine. When we speak our own language to each other we are able to translate that. All relationships require communication and vulnerability.
There are probably more points of contention in relationships I could talk about. But, I’ll save those for a different day. If you’re single, keep these in the back of your mind for the next relationship. If you’re in a relationship and struggling with one of these, try it out. Let me know how it goes. No two relationships are the same.
Finally, I ran into two girlfriends this past week. One who has been married 10 years and another 3. Both asked how married life was going. I said “absolutely amazing!” They responded “isn’t it! Don’t you just love being married?” So, nice to hear that I am not the only one. Which means everyone can have amazingness in their relationships whether they are single, dating, married or betrothed.
PS you can check out our wedding at APracticalWedding.com and listen to our Story as we just launched a podcast.