I know what you're thinking: Marriage advice from a dentist? Yeah, yeah, I know.
But don't think of it so much as marriage advice per se, but observations from a married man who has gone through the stresses of dental school and is running his own dental practice as a fairly recently married man.
Up until the point where you say "I do," marriage is still a theoretical concept. No matter how much you prepare yourself, you can never anticipate all the ways that your thoughts on things like money and family will change.
Here are some reasons marriage will change the way you think about everything.
1. You're legally committed
Once you sign the papers, you're legally tied to each other. You're now Mr. and Mrs.
No longer are you responsible only for yourself. You have a partner in your life who is going to be a part of every major decision you make. From where you live, to whether you're going to buy an espresso machine, you have to consider someone else in your decisions.
2. Your finances are tied together
Money is an issue most couples discuss before they get married and it's the third leading cause of divorce. In fact, the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis found that 22% of all divorces are because of money issues.
Since your finances are tied together, you're going to view your purchases differently. Expensive purchases that you wouldn't have never given a second thought to before you were married may end up keeping you at night.
3. Their family is your family (and vice versa)
When you marry, you acquire an entirely new family. Regardless of how close your spouse is to their family, you'll need to match their expectations for how they want you to behave around them. It could be as simple as dividing holidays but it may also involve co-parenting or step-children. Be prepared to completely change your perception of family.
From flossing your teeth to hitting the gym, you're going to want to be your healthiest. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to look like you just stepped off a magazine cover, but you do want to be with them for a long time, and that means caring for your health.
Getting regularly tested for medical issues and making sure they're taking care of their body are two things you'll want your spouse to do for you, and you should do these things for them.
5. Sex is all about trying new things
You've been through the awkward sex phase and now that you know each other a lot better, you may be willing to try new and adventurous things. The emotional connection you had before marriage sometimes intensifies once you make a commitment to be together "till death do us part."
Tying the knot means you no longer have to worry about being embarrassed around each other.
Knowing that you've both made a commitment to each other means you're going to be more relaxed around each other. It's ok to laugh. It's ok to let weird noises escape. In short, you can truly be yourself and know that your spouse will still love you.
7. Their success is your success
You share your successes and your failures. No longer is their success just theirs. Prior to marriage, you may have celebrated a bonus together. Post-marriage, that bonus will actually signify a change in both of your lives. Fully supporting each other in your highs and lows will allow you to perceive your successes and failures differently.
8. You'll appreciate alone time more
You'll build a new appreciation for "me time." Seeing each other day and night means that you'll truly appreciate being alone. While you grow as a couple, continue to also grow as an individual. Indulge in yourself once in a while.
Marriage may change everything, but the biggest change will be in how you view your life and surroundings. Embrace it, and learn to truly explore the new avenues it opens up for you.