A Letter to My 25-Year-Old Self About Marriage
As a 39 year old woman, when I think about who I was at 25 years old (the tender age at which I got married) I wonder, having had the experience and knowledge I have now, would I change anything? The answer, I'm afraid, is not so black and white. 13 years into this marriage I realize that it is nothing like the Hollywood style version I’d envisioned; it’s far more than roses, holding hands and having a permanent Saturday night date. It’s about compromising, sometimes swallowing your feelings and accepting and appreciating your spouse for who he is.
And just when I feel like maybe having to work so hard at something just isn’t what I signed up for, I see my kids and this little family unit that my husband and I worked so hard to bring to fruition. My husband is such a hands-on dad, fully entrenched in all aspects of our kid’s lives giving them every bit of his heart on an intensely visceral level.
So if I could give my 25 year old self advice about the next 13 years of life and marriage here are just a few things I would say:
Check out the relationship your husband has with his parents… because that will be CRUCIAL in terms of the way he interacts with you. To be honest I didn’t take this into account at all- and while it’s true that we all have dysfunctional relationships with our parents- a guy who is solicitous of his mother (although not to the point of being a mama’s boy- there is a FINE line) will most likely be a really devoted and sensitive husband. Or in my case– you’ll spend the next 12 years teaching him how to be sensitive and caring.
If you are a night person and your husband to be is a day person– no matter what the circumstances of life– this fact is not likely to change. And oh this one is so true. 12 years later- I am up till 1 am- while the husband is ready for bed at 6pm. He was like this at 40 when we got married and is THE same at 53.
Religion- if one of you was raised in a religious household and the other one wasn’t, it will become an issue so BE PREPARED. My husband is pretty much an atheist, and yes- my residual guilt over not being as religious as I was raised rears its head an awful lot- however my husband- well he is guilt-free.
Marriage is not the panacea for all that cures you. I think I thought that once I got married- all my other problems would evaporate- and unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Once you bring this other person into your world, your problems have become his problems. So if you can manage to work through your sh*t prior to getting married–well you are one step ahead of the game.
People change and you need to be open to that fluidity in your marriage. At 25 years old I married a man who was a practicing physician; 12 years later my husband has decided he no longer wants to be a doctor. Ultimately I want my husband to be happy and so of course I am supporting him–but that sugar daddy I thought I married– well he’s gone.
What about you, what advice would you give your younger, about to be married self?