7 Little Things People Wish They Knew Before Getting Married, According To Experts
Deciding to spend the rest of your life with your partner is exciting, but even if you have your fantasies about what married life is like, it's hard to know what to expect. When it comes to what to know before getting married, there are a few things most people wish they were aware of before they tied the knot. By avoiding some common misconceptions and hearing about prevalent issues, you can better navigate your relationship more carefully and have a more successful union.
"It’s important to find out the facts about your partner beforehand — and to also understand yourself — because the euphoria of new romance is the reason people say 'Love is blind,'" relationship psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, PhD and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together, tells Bustle. "In the hormonal rush of endorphins and oxytocin, as well as testosterone and estrogen that flood you when you’re first in love, realistic thinking tends to go out the window. During that romantic time of new love, it’s possible to overlook many things that can make a relationship difficult."
To prepare yourself for this lifelong journey, you'll want to seek wisdom from those who have been there, and who better to share this information than the experts who help couples navigate their biggest problems? Here are seven little things most people wish they had known before getting married, according to relationship therapists.
1. How To Navigate Different Love Languages
Not everyone gives love and receives love in a similar way, and it's important to be aware of this before tying the knot. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five love languages — words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch — which affect how people show their affections, and interpret the feelings of others. Although it is possible for two partners to have a successful relationship when love languages are different, it's important to understand your partner's love language, to better understand how they wished to be cared for. "[Differences in love language] can result in both of you feeling neglected in the relationship unless you find a way to learn the other person’s love language and speak that language to them," relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW tells Bustle. The best way to find out is to ask your partner what makes them feel most loved. This will give you further insight into how to navigate this possible difference.
2. How To Cope With Differences In Cleanliness
It's important to know your partner's standards for how they like to keep their living space. "You and your partner may not be on the same page about how clean and organized things should be," says Milrad. "You both have your own tolerances." If you live with your partner before marriage, this may not be as big of a deal. But if you are just discovering that your partner's cleaning habits are different than yours, finding points to compromise on, and splitting up chores can help solve this issue.
3. What Their Partner's Vision Is For Married Life Is
You don't want to wait until marriage to realize that your vision of what married life looks like differs greatly from your partner's. Couples often have different ideas of how much time they want to spend together as a family, how often one partner can spend doing outside hobbies, whether or not each partner wants to have kids, etc. "Although it can feel scary not to be on the same page about such a fundamental thing, it is possible for each of you to shift and adjust your expectations," says Milrad. The best way to find out if your expectations are similar? Ask first, and see if there are things you can both compromise on.
4. How To Deal With Financial Differences
"You and your partner may value money differently, spend it differently and save it differently," says Milard. "You end up having to collaborate to find a balance between your different values and priorities and determine a set of rules for your marriage." Talking about money can be awkward, but it's important to broach the subject before getting married. Since money is often one of the biggest causes for arguments among couples, it's good to be open about finances from the start.
5. How To Prioritize Their Relationship
"People wish they knew that they had to prioritize their marriage over and over again, even when it comes to changing jobs and making less money or doing fewer things," relationship therapist Irina Baechle, LCSW tells Bustle. When partners do not prioritize their relationship, Baechle says they may be left with regret for not having spent enough time with their family. The best way to prevent this is by finding ways to let your partner know you care each day. Even if the gesture is small, showing you're thinking of your significant other can go a long way.
6. Difficult Conversations Are Necessary And OK
Having a hard conversation doesn't necessarily mean marriage or divorce — and sometimes these conversations are necessary. "Marriage can be a very complicated thing, and it has a lot of different moments, some of which are absolutely amazing and some contain lots of sadness and tears," says Irina. "That's OK. Unlike what we are used to see on social media and television these days, marriage contain both good and bad moments, and this combination is necessary."
7. What They Need From Their Partner
It’s important to know what you need in a relationship and to be sure you can get that from your partner. "As a therapist, I frequently see folks whose needs aren’t being met by their partner," Matthew S. Mutchler, Ph.D., LMFT, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Delaware Valley University, tells Bustle. "Sometimes the person has waited the other out, thinking eventually they will give what is needed. Other times the person thinks they can change their partner. If your partner isn’t willing or able to give you what you need in a relationship, that’s a strong sign that this might not be the right relationship for you to be in."
Although marriages consistently need to be worked on, experts say knowing what to expect before getting married can help create a healthy relationship.