Marriage…What’s Work Got To Do With It?


I get a lot of questions about marriage. It’s hard to imagine a relationship that is supposed to last longer than many of us have been alive at the time we get married.

 Older woman know stuff we can’t know yet. There is most likely a point where you start asking yourself questions. Is this normal? Is this like every relationship? Maybe everybody feels like this. When you start to feel changes you ask yourself, ‘Is it okay to feel like best friends?’ People have no idea what to expect with marriage and no one talks about it. We know it’s work but I don’t have any concept of what that means. No concept of what it will be like 10 years down the road.” – 20-something NYC

If we’ve never married, we have nothing to judge it by personally. So we look at other people’s relationships. Then we start picking apart our own partner based on these superficial comparisons.  This leads to resentment (he’s doing something wrong) or self-doubt (I’m doing something wrong). But we are only looking at the best of the relationship…what people show us. Perhaps if we head more honest stories…we could have a more realistic idea of what to expect. Here a few women share their “what I wish I knew then” stories.

You don’t know it all…

 You can be so close one moment and then realize you are close at any moment to not knowing them at all. You watch these “Harry Met Sally Movies” that say happily ever after with a dose of hard work humor.  But it’s more than that. At any moment you can be really close to not understanding each other at all. You can’t assume the other person knows what you are talking about just because you have known each other for 12 years. 40-something, Stamford, CT

Be worried if you don’t argue…

We have been together for so long but we definitely still argue.  I found someone who has all of these characteristics that I really love minus this one thing that is so irritating. You know what, I’ll put up with that one irritating thing. If we bicker about it, I know he’s not walking out the door. And he knows I’m not walking out the door. It’s the recognition that you can argue with somebody. That’s normal. Nobody always gets them all. Nobody is always happy.” – 40-something, San Diego, CA

No one can read your mind, not even your soul mate…

Say what you want because he will never guess it. Set it out on the table. You need to talk about what you want to avoid divorce.“ – 40-something, Sierra Vista, AZ

Respect boundaries…

We still hold hands. We say I love you. We communicate. Realize there are boundaries you don’t push. Maybe some things you don’t love but you tough it up when you have to for all the things you do.” – 40-something, Manhattan, NY

 If you work on understanding each other…it takes some of the work out of it 

We still truly adore each other. After 17 years, when he walks in the door at the end of the day, I’m happy to see him. Sometimes I want to punch him in the face, but overall, he definitely makes me happy. Our expectations of each other are for the most part always met.

Many women and men are unhappy because they’re constantly disappointed that their expectations aren’t met. If you’re well aware of what your spouse needs and wants — it doesn’t have to be such a difficult task. it makes for a lot more peace and happiness and overall enjoyment.

Staying connected could be as trivial as sitting on the couch after the kids go to bed and having a conversation. So many spouses do their own thing at night. You catch up on email or your projects. I would say 98% of the time, once our kids are in bed, we are together. It’s our time. There’s not a whole lot of other time. By the time dinner is over, home work is done. I’m tired! I have nothing left. I laugh with my friends…”What the hell are you doing on your email at midnight? I can’t even read a sentence past 9:30. I just want to hang out. We’re not always successful — and it’s easy to take it for granted — but you have to make that time.”  – 40-something, Detroit, MI

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