by Kat Hobza
You want a rewarding and fulfilling marriage? You can have one, but you need a dose of reality first. Here are things you need to say “I do” to before walking down the aisle…
Do you have a sense of humor?
A sense of humor is vital, and the first person you have to laugh at is yourself. Consider this- men and women have to hook up on some level to propagate the species, proving God has a sense of humor. He obviously assumed we would too.
Do you know you’ll have to work? Hard?
I solicited the opinion of dozens of women for this topic, and the feedback was unanimous. You have to be willing to work. Some women think if you’re a perfect match, your marriage shouldn’t be work. Those people are called divorcees. It’s true your marriage shouldn’t be work every hour of every day, but there will be days when your marriage will require extra energy (a term I prefer over “work”). Like Grandpa used to say, anything worth having is worth working for. Welcome to Marriage 101.
Do you realize marriage is not 50/50?
Gotcha! You figure you’ll give half, he’ll give half and you’ll meet somewhere in the middle. You poor, poor dear. The reality is, there will be some days you’ll give 90% and you may or may not get 10% back. There may be weeks or months that pass with the scales out of whack. Remember- you committed your whole life to him, and in your lifetime the scales will shift back in your favor. Interestingly, the scales will align faster if you abandon the scorecard and self-pity.
Do you have a general acceptance of your significant other’s shortcomings?
Does he leave the toilet seat up? Get over it. Are his table manners a fright? Look the other way. Is he a tight-wad? You better be at one with strict budgets. Try seeing your new hubby’s annoying habits as endearing. In addition to his positive traits, his quirks make him who he is. Figure out a way to truly accept the whole package- the good, the bad and the ugly.
Do you have expectations of your marriage or soon-to-be-spouse?
If you said “I do” to this one, start goggling divorce attorneys now. Fundamental expectations like being treated well, being faithful, or being honest are covered by your wedding vows. If you want a long lasting marriage, let go of any romance novel or Lifetime movie expectations you have. The men in Hollywood are actors. Real men, generally speaking, are not geared for romance and eloquent, loving speeches. With this attitude, you’ll better enjoy the thoughtful little things your new husband does. Lowered expectations and happily ever after go hand in hand.
Do you know comparisons are a death sentence for marriages?
Like fingerprints, marriages are unique and specific to the two individuals involved and the one-of-a-kind bond they create. Instead of scowling at your husband when your friend brags about the romantic vacation her husband took her on, just smile. Maybe your friend left out how her husband ogled other women on the beach or said something at dinner that made her cry. You never know what goes on behind closed doors- be secure in what you and your husband share and the knowledge that it works for you.
Do you know your fiancé is bilingual?
Read a couple books about how men communicate or have a sit-down with your aunts and grandma. We think we grasp the Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus concept, but we don’t. He may not say “I love you” 14 times a day, but he might fill your car when it’s out of gas, maybe he’ll cover you with a blanket when you’re cold, he may bring you a glass of wine when you’re in the tub, or he might listen to stories about the kids when he just wants to crawl in a hole and go to sleep. You have to learn to read, understand and appreciate man-speak.
In order for a marriage to be successful, reality can’t be sugar-coated. Long term commitments are not for the faint of heart. A lasting union takes a great deal of love, patience, true grit and guts. The benefits are countless. I’ll leave you to discover those on your own.