Transitioning to being a wife equates to drastic changes in a woman’s life. Moving from life as a single to married status involves so many changes that most women wouldn’t know about until they are literally thrown to the wolves, so to speak.
When you are still single and dating, there are things that you can choose not to deal with as a couple because you are, for all intents and purposes, separate entities. When you get married, this changes and under the law you are essentially one entity. Whatever you both individually have is now collectively owned by the two of you. You may share a name and everyone recognizes you as representative of each other.
This is not always rainbows and butterflies, as many married women will tell you. Marriage is hard work, and there are certain truths I would want my daughter to know before she gets married.
1. Silent treatment solves nothing.
As a married person, you have to drop phrases like “silent treatment” from your vocabulary. Communicate with your partner and always discuss the things that bother you. Often, we tend to let things fester and become bigger problems than they really are. So, if something bothers you, talk about it before it tears you apart. Silent treatment confuses your partner because they want to make things right but they may not even know what they did wrong. So, talk.
2. Not everyone can be a stepmother.
Going into a marriage, we are often starry-eyed. We think we can handle anything the world throws at us. A word of caution: before you enter into a serious relationship with a person who already has children with a previous partner, truly think about whether you are prepared to be a stepmother and deal with all the complexities that come with the title. The relationship dynamics between a stepmother and child are often difficult. Also, a tense dynamic between your partner and the other parent can put a strain on your relationship.
3. There is no “my” in marriage.
As a single woman, you enjoy your independence and your freedom to use your money as you please. In a marriage, it is not “my money” anymore — it’s now “our money.” Financial issues are the leading cause of fights in a marriage. You have to learn to manage your finances as a couple and be responsible for your financial health as a couple. On the other hand, it’s not unheard of to have an emergency fund that is yours alone. It may sound like a breach of trust, but you never know what the future will bring.
4. Your partner is not a work in progress.
Many women often confuse what needs to be worked on in a marriage. Once you have married someone, you have accepted them fully as your partner. Any projects or plans you had to change them should be thrown out fast. As a married woman, you should focus on making your marriage better. You shouldn’t expect someone to change for you. There are many compromises a woman can live with for the sake of a good marriage. This does not mean that you have to compromise on your values. It just means that you can choose to see the glass as half empty or half full.
5. Marriage is between two people.
I cannot stress this enough. You and your partner make up your marriage, not your family and friends. Many women tend to share things about their marriage with people that they shouldn’t. Once you are married, you need to learn to keep the details of your marriage private. Family and friends always mean well, but they are also biased in their love for you and will often give you advice that could be misleading. If it concerns your marriage, talk it out with your spouse. If it still seems like it’s too much to handle, seek professional help.
6. Children are great, but they should not be the sole focus of your marriage.
The first few years of a marriage are strained. Not only do you have to deal with the newness of the marriage itself, but many couples often have children soon after the wedding. I have met many women who love their children, but they wish they could have waited to share wedded bliss for a bit longer before having children. I would tell my daughter to wait. Just give it a few years to iron out the wrinkles in the new marriage and set a strong foundation. Then, start building your family when you are both content in your roles within the marriage and are ready to add to the fold.
7. Winning all the arguments doesn’t make you right.
You have to learn to pick your battles. I have seen women tear their partners down just to prove a point, without realizing that they have caused irreparable damage to the marriage. Nobody likes to argue all the time and no one wants to constantly be in the wrong. There are arguments that are certainly worth having, but there are others that you should just let go.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it can turn ugly very fast. The one thing a couple has in common is their love for each other. You can fight and disagree on many things while still maintaining your love for each other. Mutual respect and trust are the glue in any marriage. You choose to treat your spouse respectfully for the sake of your marriage, voicing your opinions but also respecting theirs. You also choose to trust each other and the process everyday. I would urge my daughter to remember these truths.
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