The First Year of Marriage: It Doesn’t Have to Suck.

 

Sarah,

I’ll be getting married soon.  Some people have warned me that the first year of marriage is the rockiest, and I don’t want mine to be the same.  I can’t imagine any reason why that would happen.  By the time we get married we will have lived together for eight months.  (It’s been five months now, and everything is fine.)  Should we have lived together longer before deciding to get married?  I just don’t want to experience what these other people have.   

Oh, that ol’ Debbie Downer line:  The first year of marriage is difficult.  Uh, no, it’s not.  People make it difficult because they assume it should be that way and because they don’t follow my rules.  Yes, I was recently given the official “Relationship Rules Maker” title.  It’s an early Christmas gift from Santa.  Don’t ask how.  Pay attention.

One of my rules is that vocalizing to anyone that the idea of it being difficult is punishable by having to give me money.  Don’t just take some stranger’s words to heart.  That’s asinine.  (And that’s incredibly contradictory for me to say.  Whatever.)  Who cares what these other people have experienced?  You and your fiancé have a relationship that is specific only to you guys.  You and he know better than anyone if your relationship will have any problems.  I can tell you that those rings you’ll be slipping on each other’s fingers are not magically going to make things suck.

I know some people will disagree with this, but I think it’s great that you live together before getting married.  I truly believe that it’s important to know how a person lives their day-to-day life before you promise your day-to-day life to them.  Wow, I didn’t know you leave your dirty underwear hanging around the house.  Oh, there’s more you say? You can only fall asleep by listening to the Best of Michael Bolton?

Financial situations should absolutely be laid out on the table before you get married.  If one of you hasn’t been financially responsible and needs to catch up, keep things separate for a while to maintain at least one of your good names.  It wouldn’t be fair to all of a sudden take on someone’s financial burden immediately upon marrying them.  (This is probably where the bulk of those scary stories you’ve heard come from.)

You should also know whether or not there are any crazy psycho hose beasts that are going to try to get back in your fiancé’s life once they hear he’s married.  And, he’ll need to know if you have had or have any insane stalkers that keep strands of your hair under their pillow.  Neither of you would want to flip the pages in your life only to have one of your exes show up like the scary clown in a circus pop-up book.  (I’ve actually seen a book like that before, and I could barely fall asleep.)

There are probably many unique reasons that a relationship might suffer a bit in the beginning, but as long you are informed of everything that you think is important before the marriage, it should be fine.  You will both have to be upfront about the inevitable parts of your life that are going to materialize anyway because of your marriage.  Also, if you want it to succeed the first year, then it will.  Don’t listen to anyone else.

Here’s your new mantra:  The first year of marriage is beautiful and exciting, and each year beyond that will be even better.

Repeat.

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