Springtime is upon us, and warm weather has been known to entice new love, flings and romance. It's also the most popular time of the year for engagements and weddings.
I've always believed everyone needs a healthy fear of weddings. It's graceful, yet commanding magnificence leaves much to the imagination, expectation and speculation of the future. But amidst the beauty of this ceremonial act, the overwhelming and all-consuming idea of what a life partner really means causes you to pause and truly understand the gravity of this commitment.
There are very few moments as beautiful, yet not nearly as daunting as the moment you sign that binding verbal contract to dedicate the rest of your life to someone else. Not a lot of "Yes's" in your life will matter as much as the one you say at that moment.
If you're bent on the promise of forever, there are a few things you should know before you make this huge commitment:
1. Sharing Is Caring
First things first, if you don't like to share, then you won't like being married. As humans, we are naturally selfish, and if you are not used to sharing your personal space, bed, sink or toothpaste, marriage will be a hard adjustment.
You have to learn how to share your life. You have to focus now not just on your happiness, but on your partners. And you need to be totally selfless at times for it to really work.
2. No More Pregnancy Scares
We've all had our fair share of panic attacks when a period is late. The experience has the power to singlehandedly draw both parties into absolute turmoil, as well as to exhilarating relief.
As you get older and rack up a few bills and responsibilities, you start to consider the possibility of having a child. You find you either want to get pregnant, or aren't as flustered that you might be anymore. Your once pregnancy scares now become reality checks.
3. YOUR Money Is Now OUR Money
Speaking of checks, joint accounts could be the best, or worst idea for your marriage. A common reason couples divorce stems from mismanagement of finances. Start talking about saving, financial plans, college tuitions, etc. as early as you can.
Bills will rack up like a pile of bricks, and if one (or both) of you are not financially savvy, you could run into a lot of debt, and ultimately a lot of problems.
4. A New Family
In-laws! You've go to love them, and also learn to live with them. Not literally, of course, but they matter more than you think.
When you marry someone, you marry their whole family, so its best you try to get along with them as much as possible. My dad is a big golfer, and I wouldn't say I was out looking for someone who would have that in common with him. But I love that my partner made the effort to learn the game, so he could play with my dad. It's the little things, like making the effort to build and maintain a good relationship with the in-laws, that greatly help in the long run.
5. Life Will Throw You Curveballs
You need to learn to roll with the punches. My husband once told me, if anything ever happened to him, he was sure our family would be in good hands because I could provide for them. Life is funny, and plans don't always work.
Maybe you planned to have four kids within four years of your marriage. But you get married, and four years later, you are having trouble getting pregnant. You could go into marriage hoping for the best, but a year down the line, you're caring for a sick spouse, paying medical bills you didn't budget for or housing a homeless mother-in-law. You have to be prepared for all the things marriage will throw at you on your journey. Because doubting that the challenges will come is a mistake.
It's the most wonderful experience you can ever have the privilege of having. Before I got married, most of what I heard about it was negative. Marriage is hard. A lot of it ends in divorce, and out of the married friends I had, they acted like they had been let out of some sort of prison whenever they got away from their spouses.
I can only speak from my experience. I can honestly say that finding someone who loves you, and wants to walk through life with you can be such an amazing privilege. Equally, there is nothing wrong with walking through life alone. Your friends will be all the support you need, but if your husband or wife is your best friend, then you already have it all.
Marriage is hard work. Some days will be better than others, but if you can roll with the punches, handle conflicts with grace, and a willingness to learn and listen, it can be the best ride of your life.