These days, you'd think there's very little -- if nothing at all -- about marriage that we don't see coming from miiiiles away. After all, most of us live with our partners for years before we have a ring on it. What could possibly catch us off-guard? In some regards, nothing changes. But the truth is that no matter how long you've lived with your partner before saying "I do," there are aspects of officially being a Mr. and Mrs. that can take you by surprise.
Here, what women who've been married anywhere from a couple of months to over a decade wish they'd known about marriage before they tied the knot ...
- Suddenly, some people think your marital status gives them free rein to bring up babies! One woman admits she had no idea that after getitng married "people would suddenly think it was okay to talk about the goings-on inside my uterus!" Another reports, "Everyone I meet asks when we're having babies. Even a jeweler showed me some necklaces that would make for a nice push present someday -- his words, not mine!"
- Sex may be even BETTER once you're married. Let's kill that persistent myth that married sex is snooze-worthy -- or nonexistent! One woman admits, "I was surprised that the sex is actually just as good if not better than before marriage!
- New expectations come into play. What you were accountable for as a girlfriend may not be what your husband and/or his family think you should be doing as a wife. Could be based on a culture clash or just different family dynamics.
- Communication about money becomes more crucial than ever. It's one thing to be paying bills together as a couple who lives together, but once you're married, there's a whole new layer of accountability -- filing joint taxes and knowing your credit directly affects the other person, etc.
- Even if you do combine assets, it's important to have your own bank account. One woman admits she learned that this was important "for personal spending without feeling guilty."
- You may be surprised how housework ends up getting divided. Even if you lived together before you got married, division of chores can change over time. For some couples, equal division of tasks works best. But that's not true for every couple. As one woman put it, "I think it should be divided however works best for you and your husband. It turns out that I really enjoy cooking every day and find cleaning stress-relieving."
- You may not want to change your last name ... professionally, right away, or ever. Even if you thought you knew what you wanted to do before you got married, faced with the actual reality of doing away with an identity you've known for however many years as a grown adult can be challenging, and it's normal to feel torn about it. It's also okay to take your time making up your mind about it.
- You end up feeling supported in a way you didn't before. Says one woman who lived with her husband for years before getting married, "I never knew about the ense of support you feel. It's different after you're married. I knew my husband always had my back before, but once we tied the knot, it seemed to be stronger."
- You can pretty much kiss autonomous decision-making goodbye. As one woman confesses, "I didn't realize that I would never be able to make an autonomous decision for the rest of my life. Meaning, I have to factor this partner into every decisive thought. It's a nervous negotiation for independent women. When I say this I'm not trying to strip myself of any power or suggest subservience, but rather highlight the notion that once you enter into partnership you lock it in. My actions have direct consequence on my life, and my life is my family, so there it is."
- You're not going to love -- or even be okay -- with everything about your spouse. Some of those annoying quirks you started to notice six months to a year into the relationship can get more intolerable. But hopefully, the good outweighs the bad.
What about marriage have you been most surprised by?
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