There are some important truths everyone needs to know about marriage before putting on that wedding ring for the rest of your life. So many parts about marriage are unexpectedly amazing, but it's not always rainbows and butterflies. Transitioning from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife is a huge life change, and it's important to know what to expect before you seal the deal.
1. Your future spouse is not a work in progress
You cannot go into marriage thinking, "I don't like this aspect about my spouse, but that's OK, I'll change that about them after we get married." While the both of you will change as the years go by, you can't go in wanting to change your sweetheart to fit your ideal. That's just not how marriage works.
Instead, choose to accept them as they are, flaws and all. If you really want a specific attribute in a spouse, find a partner who already has those qualities instead of marrying someone who you want to change.
2. The silent treatment is not the way to go
You might have gotten away with acting passive-aggressive to your roommates or siblings, but when it comes to a spouse, the silent treatment has got to go. It's imperative you both are open about issues within your relationship.
Have a let's-tackle-the-issue-head-on mindset rather than an I'm-going-to-punish-him-with-silence-until-he-apologizes mindset. Of course, some people need a little bit of time to cool down between disagreements or fights, but never resort to giving your spouse the silent treatment - it'll only drive you two further apart. Addressing the issue sooner rather than later will help you grow stronger together.
3. There's not just "one person" you're meant to be with
Everyone has opinions on soul mates, but I believe soul mates are made, not found. In other words, there's not only one out of the 7+ billion people on this planet who can make you happy; you choose to fall in love with someone who you're compatible with and then you work together to become each other's soul mates.
Many people fall in love with someone not good for them but get married anyways because they think they've found their soul mate - before you decide to get married, make sure you're not just getting married because "it feels right".
4. The first year is pretty darn hard
There's so much excitement building up to your wedding day, but saying "I do" isn't the end game. In fact, it's just the beginning. If you thought wedding planning was hard, wait until the first year of marriage. No married couple will deny that the first first 12 months is rough - maybe rougher than they expected. Year one of marriage for me was full of not-so-great surprises and trials, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because my hubby and I went through all those bumps and tumbles together, we reached our one year anniversary so much stronger.
5. Getting married to a great person doesn't make your other issues go away
It would be nice if marriage was a magical miracle that made all your problems go away with a kiss over the altar. It seems silly, but it's actually a pretty easy mindset to have.
I myself went into marriage with some bad body image issues and I thought once I had a loving husband who adored me, those would go away. But even though my husband told me I was beautiful every day, I still struggled. I had to realize that he couldn't just make those ingrained insecurities go away - only I held that power.
You can't expect your husband or wife to "complete you," because the only person that can make you feel complete is yourself.
6. Marriage is not about you
In the age of extravagant weddings and social media posts saturated with #relationshipgoals, it's easy to have the mindset that your marriage will center around you. After the wedding bells have stopped ringing, reality hits pretty hard. To make a marriage work, you have to step outside of yourself and put your spouse (and kids) before yourself. Marriage is all about doing that chore you hate so that your spouse (who's had a long day) doesn't have to.
Reading about the reality of married life might sound discouraging, but living it out in real life is actually beyond wonderful. If you realize these truths before you tie the knot, both you and your spouse will share a much happier marriage.