“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” – Rita Rudner
I don’t think anyone is every fully prepared to be married.
Still, we think we’ve got it all figured out, we know what to expect when we dive in. We think we know someone, how it will all be…well, we hope we know.
But a lot of what we think marriage is (or what we thought it was going to be), is fed to us by fantasies and movies and other silly things. In a lot of ways, marriage has exceeded my expectations. In other ways, what I expected just wasn’t realistic. So I’m kicking off Love Month with the top three myths that were shattered for me once I got married.
Myth: Your Wedding Day is the Best Day Ever
Most people look forward to their wedding day. Some people, especially girls fantasize and fetishize their wedding days from the day they turn six years old. Guys just look forward to getting the wedding done. I think the the closest guys get to a girl’s wedding-fantasy-induced-emotional-high is the starry-eyed ecstacy that comes with watching Steve Jobs play with the new iPhone.
That’s why we have shows like Bridezillas. These are pitiful women who act like their lives have been nothing but crap sandwiches until this day, when their crap sandwiches become fairy princess rainbow sandwiches, and the men who are so pitiful, they will marry said women because they have no self esteem.
Fact: Weddings are momentous days. But if the day you wake up in a daze to cram yourself into expensive, uncomfortable clothes you will only wear once, get your photo taken a thousand times, give awkward toasts, and collapse, exhausted after probably not eating for sixteen hours is the best day of your life, your marriage is in trouble.
Myth: Everything is Better Shared
For example, most soon-to-be newlyweds look forward to sleeping in a shared bed, cramming and contorting themselves to spend all night as close together as physically possible, as if they’re posing for a mattress commercial.
Fact: Pillows are great to snuggle with all night because they do not have bones, they do not snore, do not weigh as much as a person, and do not generate a thousand BTUs of body heat an hour. Girls are colder-natured then guys, generally, which only increases their primal “cuddling” instincts, but a lot guys find they need to get as far away from their sweetie as possible and get a fan blowing after about five minutes.
Fact: In talking with other couples, I have found that no one dresses for bed like TV couples. In fact, I have found that most girls, not having their cuddling/body heat needs met by their men, resort to all kinds of utilitarian sleep-wear, with the sole purpose of conserving warmth. Acceptable female sleep fashions include flannel pajamas, wool socks, fingerless gloves, stocking caps, overcoats, scarves, and earmuffs. Guys, be sure the person getting in bed with you is actually your wife, and not a homeless person, though a trash bag full of aluminum cans is not necessarily a dead giveaway.
Myth: Pre-Marital Counseling
My wife and I didn’t make time for pre-marital counseling. But I’ve always been puzzled by why so many people just go for pre-marital counseling. I get that you’re learning about conflict resolution and all that. But how much practice can you really get at conflict resolution, especially if A) you don’t live together, and B) your biggest (or only) source of conflict is planning the wedding?
Fact: Most married couples have much more need for help after the wedding than before. How long does an engagement last? Surely some unforseen problem is going to come up sometime during the rest of your life (i.e. money, kids, jobs, the house.) I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve seen break it off just because they didn’t want to see a counselor.
There is nothing wrong with getting professional help, or a mediator, or just checking up on your relationship, even if everything seems okay. Sometimes you need to have a neutral third party. Nothing wrong with that.
Those are my top three marriage myths. What are yours? How did your relationship defy your expectations?