Marriage as a contract that needs renewing

Subtleties and nuances begin on day one of your marriage that no one ever tells you about – like suddenly I became a wife, and strange expectations started flooding my mind. Do I fold the fitted sheets properly now? Start darning our socks? (I still do neither of these things.)

I asked other Cafriends and relatives about their own discoveries after they tied the knot. Here are 8 secrets about being married that no one ever tells you:

1. He'll still leave the socks on the floor on your 50th wedding anniversary
"If he leaves his socks on the floor on your honeymoon, chances are he is going to leave his socks on the floor on your 50th wedding anniversary. Some things just aren't worth fighting about – choose your battles carefully. And be respectful when making reference to your husband in the presence of your in-laws. He is a very special person to them as they have seen him from birth through to a married man."
– Shannon, 36, married 10 years

2. Being married and spending time together is easier said than done when you have kids
"I'm a new mom and time is at a premium these days as my son is walking, running and climbing – I need to be with him most of the time. My only advice is to spend quality time together doing something you both enjoy. Unfortunately that is way easier said than done as it isn't happening in our house at the moment. We'll keep working on it!"
– Andrea, 34, married 7 years

3. Being married is like a contract you have to keep renewing
"The one piece of advice I give my girls who have now started dating is 'It doesn't matter what I think of your new beau, my only criteria is that he always treat you with respect.' Whether you have been married for 6 months or 60 years, always put 100 per cent into your relationship and respect each other. If you looked at marriage as if both partners had the opportunity to renew the contract every 5 years, would your spouse want to renew?"
– Judy, 41, married 18 years

4. You can't love each other 100 per cent of the time.
"Remember, you do not love yourself 100 per cent of the time so do not expect to love your spouse 100 per cent of the time either. Seventy-five to 80 per cent will do."
– Helen, 59, married 35 years

5. The better you know yourself, the stronger your marriage will be.
“Having married in my 40s for the first time I had the advantage of kissing a lot of frogs, so I learned to believe in the importance of myself, my own faith in myself, and that I did not need my husband – I wanted my husband. That was a belief that got us through some very difficult moments in our first 10 years together. We were good friends who understood there would be bad days and we believed we could love each other through them.”
– Cathy, 59, married 17 years

6. All you really need is two TVs.
"Have two TVs with two remotes, one for each. Learn the fine art of compromise."
– Dave, 57 (Cathy's husband)

7. People stop questioning your loyalty to each other as a couple.
“People never tell you that you get taken more seriously as a couple when you're married, that your lives are perceived as being much more intertwined. For instance, if your girlfriend or boyfriend moves to another city and you follow him, your family and friends will very likely think you're crazy for living your life 'for' someone else, no matter how long you've been together. But when you're married that's not usually the case – you'll find everyone a lot more supportive.”
– Raquelle, 30, married 2 years, together for 9 years

8. Both of you should know about the other’s money situation.
“We have always worked as a unit together, especially regarding finances. Both partners have to know everything concerning the money flow: it's not 'his money' or 'her money' – it's 'our money.'

"As for in-laws, I had wonderful in-laws, but one has to remember that they are the parents of your loved one and human beings also. Work with what you have – you have many years of in-laws. We change as we age in all areas of our lives, so be prepared for it, acknowledge it and go with the flow.

"As the song says, 'Love The One You’re With.' My husband comes first in my life before my children, family, friends, career or anything else. But if you never think 'I’ve had it with him/her and I’m outta here' during your marriage then I suspect you are just not human.”
– Jane, 60, married 37 years

Similar Threads: