Getting married is among life’s major turning points, right up there with having a kid or accepting that you’re not straight after all. And like every other turning point, it has a lot of marriage lessons for life that it brings along. It is a University of Lifelong Learning in itself, even if you eventually get divorced. Like individuals, each marriage is different and comes with a unique set of learnings and epiphanies.
16 Marriage Lessons We have Learned
With its failures and triumphs, know that marriage is not perfect. The day you say ‘I do’ can indeed be the best and biggest day of your life but remember that life after the wedding is not always what you expect and may indeed surprise you.
But even on the not-so-rosy days, there are marriage lessons that you can learn which will only help you grow and evolve as a person. I know that I am a much better and more self-aware person today because of what life has taught me. Here are some marriage lessons that I gathered along the way, not just from my own, but all marriages around me – successful or otherwise.
1. It’s not a fairy tale
One of the foremost lessons learned in marriage for me is that it is not what you see in the movies and is definitely not some fairytale you read as a child. Hell, it’s not even a tale with fairies in it. Hanging on to the myth of the perfect marriage is a sure-shot recipe for disappointment. But the good news is that the larger part of the script is in your control.
2. You don’t need a soulmate
You need someone you can be yourself with and not mind having them in close proximity for extended periods of time, even in confined spaces. You do know what it means to share a bed with another human, right? For the rest of your life?
3. You are a team
Literally. Not the ‘we complete each other’s sentences and read each other’s minds’ kind of team, but the ‘you chop the vegetables while I do the dishes’ kind of team. Life teaches you that marriage is where the shit gets real, but at least, you have someone on your side always.
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4. Love is not enough
Love may seem like the foundation stone but it takes a lot more than love to keep it going – trust, respect, dependability, understanding and a deeper connection. This is one of the marriage lessons that one takes a long time to realize. But at the same time, marriages can survive on a lot less than love too – friendship for example. And sometimes, friendship and companionship are enough. Confused? Me too.
5. There will be minor conflicts
Larger compatibility issues can be mostly worked out but there is no logical way around your relationship arguments over air-conditioner settings, TV channel preferences or your inexplicable disdain for some of your partner’s friends.
6. Sex is important
This might sound a little primitive or raunchy but good sex can keep the worst marriages alive. When you think about it, marriage is just an elaborate mating ritual with a lot of unnecessary social/cultural paraphernalia attached. How convenient!
7. It can get ugly
Sometimes you will want to give up, especially when you have no energy left in you. There will be days you will not even want to talk to them or see their face. But braving those days is what will make your marriage stronger. What life has taught me is that other days will make you want to fight for the sake of the togetherness you both signed up for.
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8. Marriage is not for everyone
It’s not for everyone, and I mean it in the most non-condescending way possible. Marriage starts where freedom ends and even if you find yourself the most accommodating spouse, you still can’t have everything your way. So if you feel like you see signs you will never get married, you’re not abnormal. Marriage lessons also include understanding that it is not something you can force upon your life.
9. Changing yourself isn’t necessary
You will not change for each other. If you have to change the fundamental aspects of yourself, perhaps that’s not a very strong marriage. Don’t go into marriage assuming that it will make you a completely new person. If anything, you will become more yourself with time. And that can be equal parts liberating and devastating.
10. You will regret it on some days
One of the lessons on marriage is that it can feel like a blessing or a curse depending on how the day has been or what happened an hour ago. You are more likely to advise your happily single friends to ‘never get married’ if you’ve just fished out a stash of dirty socks from under the bed.
11.The scales will always be tilted
What life has taught me is that one of the two will always give more to the relationship than the other, and it always helps to not keep tabs if the relationship means enough to you.
Related Reading: 7 tips to make marriages work
12. It’s not your whole life
Marriage is a part of life, not your whole life. You’ll be paving a path for long-term resentment if you compromise on your passions, dreams, ambitions, preferences, social life, beliefs or identity. Belong to yourself before you belong to anyone else.
13. There can be invisible cracks
Just because nothing’s wrong, doesn’t mean everything’s right. The absence of sadness does not equal happiness. Just because you love each other, doesn’t mean you like each other. Do you see where I am going with this?
14. It’s not a bubble
There’s family, extended family and their cousins. You just can’t wish them away, even if you desperately want to. They’ll always be a part of your life, and possibly, even your relationship. So if you have a toxic mother-in-law, know that you’ll never be able to just shun her out!
15. It’s okay to hate them sometimes
It’s ok to want to kill your spouse sometimes and you’ll know your marriage is working if true love prevents you from actually doing so. You’re not evil and you did not make the biggest mistake of your life by marrying them. One of the lessons on marriage is that you’re just human and you can allow yourself that much on some days.
16. They are your lifelong partner
Despite the crests and troughs, it is some solace to know that there’s at least one person in the world who has seen you at your absolute worst and still chooses to be with you. The greatest of the marriage lessons learned by me is that no matter how rough it gets, you’ll never actually be alone.
If you’ve been married for long enough, you’ll know that it is a mixed bag of emotions and experiences that can barely be covered entirely in a listicle like this one. What would you add about marriage lessons that you have personally learned?
Sometimes people begin to grow in different directions and are unable to catch up with each other. These inconsistencies can lead to distance and a lack of love. Marriages also fail because of miscommunication, lack of understanding and lack of showing affection.
Trust, robust communication, spending quality time together and honesty are some signs of a good marriage. Marriage lessons will teach you that there will be highs and lows but as long as you practice the right conflict resolution, your marriage will make it.
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