OCO No. 01 // love & marriage
Photo Credit: Above photo by India Earl Photography.
As I type this blog, I can hear the theme song to Married with Children playing over and over again in my head.
"Love and marriage. Love and marriage. Go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, you can't have one without the other."
Ahh yes, love and marriage. Some people just 'get it'. Some people have mastered it. Some people fight for it. Some people just avoid it. And some people will just never get it. EVER. (Sorry, but this goes out to some ex-boyfriends I will forever be scratching my head at going, "why"???)
But I digress and am thankful that that is my past and THIS is my future - with a person who is just perfect for me and definitely marriage material.
I recently reached out to my married (or divorced) friends, family and social community, asking them this simple question: What is the one thing you wish you knew about marriage before you got hitched? There isn't just one thing that inspired me to ask the question, but I'm sure a huge part of it had to do with my own upcoming nuptials (although a wedding date is yet to be set until baby is born, we will make it happen....eventually. I have found out through this process that I do not possess the bride gene, so unbeknownst to me, I'm not as gung-ho about planning a wedding and dumping $25K+ for one day.)
Another inspiration came from this website: Beating 50 Percent. I will admit it, I'm a bit of a reality show junkie and one show I've followed for years is TLC's Little People Big World. I just find it fascinating for some reason. One of the oldest sons on the show and his new wife started Beating 50 Percent, an online community about building better than average marriages and giving more than 50% to your spouse. After all, the divorce rate in the USA is around 50%, which is astounding and likely getting worse. However some media has reported that its actually dropping, but 50% gives you general idea of where I'm going with this. This begs the other question: do people even value marriage anymore? Are they entering it for all the wrong reasons and lastly, are they even putting forth the effort to make a marriage work?
So here we have it. This topic and my personal experience, has encouraged me to build an OCO which stands for an Online Community Outreach. I'm always intrigued and curious as to people's thoughts, opinions and experiences because I value them but also, I love to learn, listen & engage. Currently, I'm intrigued with marriage, divorce and all the in stuff in between that make a relationship tick.
The simple question again: What's the one thing you wish you knew about marriage before getting hitched?
What you wish you had known, looking back. Whether its 5 months or 40 years. We all learn something every day from the person we've committed ourselves to for life and there is growth and change that happens constantly. Regardless of how strong your marriage or relationship is, you both change, grow and evolve. And don't worry, that's a good thing!
Here are some words of wisdom, advice and lessons learned. Enjoy!
"You are not only marrying the man (or woman) but you are also marrying his/her family. It may not seem like a big thing for many at first but as the years go by and especially when you have children, if there are big divides in values, culture, beliefs and lifestyle, this can really become a challenge down the road. When you're young, it's hard to picture how this will affect us in the future which is hard to do because we change so much over the years and develop new priorities and values of our own. You gotta love the man, but definitely need to at least like and respect the family."
- Christina E.
I wish I knew how hard marriage was going to be! You will need lots of love and especially patience. Remember, you cannot change a person. The main thing is a lot of give and take and before you speak, think if what you are about to say is kind, necessary and true or is it better to keep silent. Ask yourself will it matter in 5 years. Remember its all worth it"
- Jo H.
All I can say is that communication is key and if there are breaks in communication before marriage then they are only exaggerated in marriage. Assumptions kill!"
- Morgan T.
"Marriage is not a mystery, but your spouse might be. Beforehand, you learn a lot by observing and other married couples and you are cautioned about it being an institution, "not to be entered into lightly". Many will advise about the need to adapt and be flexible. So what else would you have benefited in knowing that you didn't know beforehand? The one thing that sticks in my mind as a surprise that maybe I could have handled better, was the speed to which my children grew up and in my son's case, left home. As a young parent you are so busy working hard, raising kids, visiting family in far away places, changing jobs, moving and so on, that time just flies by. At the end of all this is another surprise. Not only do you miss your kids being kids, but suddenly your marriage has lots its linchpin. What you both focused on for 20+ years is suddenly gone. You have to re-focus your relationship. It's not easy and , for me at least, I didn't see it coming. Would I have done things differently had I understood what was coming? It's difficult to say, but at least I would have been better prepared for the adjustments that were needed"
- John B.
"I wish I knew my husband snored no much! It seems odd to say but I never noticed this before we married THEN moved in with each other. Let's just say it's caused a bit of a shift in our sleeping habits, patterns and locations since. I'm hoping this will eventually iron out."
- Alice D.
"Assumptions will kill a relationship hands down. You can't go into a marriage, even a relationship, assuming what the other person is thinking. Communication is key and its imperative to keep that open, honest and do it frequently."
- Brad H.
"Carving out time for each other, no matter what your schedule or commitments are outside of that. After children this becomes far more important because you get so consumed in the every day, shuffling kids around, making them a priority. The more you commit to having at leas one date night a week or month or a trip away JUST THE TWO OF YOU, you will reap the rewards big time as time goes by."
- Elizabeth M.
"The amount of compromising and flexibility needed for things and situations to work out in a positive way. You certainly can't have a one way relationship expecting things to always go your way. Always be open to the possibilities and listen with intent."
- Debbie B.