Before I tied the knot, I definitely had misconceptions about marriage. Like most people, I had vague notions about what it takes to make a marriage great: communication, intimacy, lots of love. But I soon learned that my preconceived notions barely scratched the surface of what being married truly entails.
Now that I’m several years into a great marriage, I realise how very little I knew going in. Here are five things I wish I knew before tying the knot:
1. It's incredibly important to communicate how you feel before things blow up.
Before I got married, I thought the general emphasis on communication in a marriage was way overblown. It's such a basic concept, right? But what I didn't realise was the importance of frequent and continual communication with your spouse about things that are both above and below the surface.
For example, I'm definitely guilty of being a life-long passive-aggressive, so I have a nasty habit of not addressing things that bother me in the moment. These things then begin to stew. In any long term relationship, this can be perilous. Minor concerns and annoyances build to become relationship land mines if not addressed.
A lack of communication also leads to the unfair expectation of one spouse being a mind reader. Not communicating with your spouse is counter-productive and leads to many preventable arguments. After some trial and error, I've realised the importance of communicating my needs or concerns with my husband, before they become a larger issue.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff and learn to let things go.
It's very easy to hold onto the most minor hang ups — socks left on the floor, harsh words said in the heat of an argument, an inappropriate joke made at a party. But it isn't so easy to let them go. It's a delicate art, especially in a marriage.
My husband has a habit of leaving his socks on the floor, which is surprisingly irritating. I have the habit of leaving kitchen cabinets open, which I've been told is equally irritating. Yet, neither of these habits are worth stewing over or steam rolling them into larger issues.