9 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Jumping the Broom

January 11, 2012  |  

"Black couple"

Holiday season was prime time for proposals, so I am sure there are plenty of you preparing to do a rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever” down the aisle sometime this year. Planning a wedding is such an exciting time. But, I challenge you not to let the pomp and circumstance deter you from the greater picture—a lifetime fully committed to your significant other.

Often too much focus is placed on the circuses we call weddings and not enough effort is put into preparing for the marriage. Know that this is not to discourage anyone from marrying, but it never hurts to keep it real. These are just a few things you may experience when the honeymoon ends:

Forever is a really long time.

We get married with the notion of being with our partners for the rest of our lives, not really realizing how long it may be before you (or he) dies. “Until death do us part,” is an important part of marital vows that should not be taken lightly, as it pertains to the level of commitment correlated to marriage. And, there is a lot of time between now and the end for him to annoy, reward, irritate, praise, disappoint, hurt and compliment you—which is why marriage is no cakewalk. It takes work so be ready.

Married men are the horniest.

Most men get married with the idea they are going to have access to an endless amount sex. Women, not so much. We focus more on emotional intimacy and companionship. I found that I was elated to kiss and cuddle every day while he was looking forward to dessert–morning, noon and night.

"black woman tired"

It’s not a good idea to be selfish.

Everyone is. Most of us don’t realize the “my way or the highway” attitudes we have until entering into partnerships. It is easy to be selfless where there is no passion. But, what happens when you really believe in something and your partner does not support it? There have been times when I have wanted something that would have been great for me but not so good for the household and either pouted like a Kindergartner because I didn’t get it or annoyed my husband into submission. Admittedly, I am still a work in progress with the understanding that successful marriages require selflessness.

"black woman worried"

I can’t be obsessive.

I did not think I was compulsively methodical until I got married and my husband wanted to do the laundry his way. In my mind, that was the wrong way even though the clothes came out just the same. Since getting hitched, I have had to learn to let go. I can’t control the way my husband washes dishes or drops his coat in random places when he walks through the door. It’s not that serious and, if I tried, I would likely worry myself to death doing so.

"Cosby Show"

He’s just like his dad.

The prospective father-in-law you love (or hate) is what you can expect your future husband to be like in 30 years—even if he was absent. It is what he knows, what he has seen his entire life. The qualities that make my father-in-law seem overly meticulous and anal-retentive at times are the same traits that have contributed to his success as a small business owner–and the reason my husband is so finicky about fingerprints on car windows.

"Lisa Raye and Daughter"

I’m just like my mom.

It is true: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I love my mom and, all in all, I think she was a very good wife and mother prior to my father’s passing. But she raised her voice more than I’ve ever wanted to and nagged more than I liked. And me? Well, even though I vowed against it, I’m guilty of some of the same things. The same can be said for my husband, the millennial version of my father-in-law—because most of us end of being eerily similar to our parents, some versions more improved than others. With that said, any man reading this should know the things he can’t stand about his wife’s mother are likely the same things that will irritate him later in marriage. Know it. Accept it, and then move on.

"This Christmas cast"

Home Alone is not a fair example of a typical family Christmas.

Upon marriage, I had this grandiose image of large family gatherings featuring parents, aunts and uncles from both sides of the family. Much to my reality, the holidays and special occasions did not work out like that and it only grew worse when we had children. My family lives across the country and my husband’s crew isn’t interested in starting any new traditions. Rather than one beautifully chaotic Christmas extravaganza, we have to put one side of the family on the backburner every year.

"Black couple paying bills"

Money matters—a lot.

Finances, both ample and lack thereof, are a leading cause of divorce—and I totally understand why. People have different ways of managing money and often enjoy splurging on various items. While a woman may feel justified purchasing a $1,600 Chanel handbag, her husband may be outraged and vice versa when it comes to his affinity for expensive sports memorabilia. Being financially like-minded is definitely a key to success and should be taken into consideration before taking the plunge.

"black couple hugging"

Sometimes I am just going to be “the wife.”

For much of my life, I have been the star of my own show. I am the oldest child in my family, first grandchild, All-American athlete, first to graduate from college and so forth. I pride myself on being more than my exterior presents but, in marriage, I have realized it is not always my time to shine. When I attend certain events with my husband, I am simply his wife and that’s alright. Sometimes he’s just “the husband,” too. Still, independent-minded women like me tend to struggle with the idea of not being the main attraction as if it somehow makes us less of a person. However, it doesn’t.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio.  You can visit her blog at lashaunwilliams.com or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.

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  • Howard Latchford

    Your title is in bad grammar.  “I wish I would have known” should be “I wish I had known.”

  • Janellefluker

    #5, I’m in the same boat but confused. My father in law was absent but my husband acts just like him. How could he pick that up if his dad was absent. Because of this, I’m struggling in my marriage. I also have a son and I’m praying that he doesn’t take after his dad 100%

  • The only good thing about marriage is sex. Men really don’t want to get married. I don’t blame them. It’s useless. I’m now 21. My main concerns are 1. College. 2. Financial stability. 3 Career. Men will be okay. I am still human and do like sex, but since I don’t do relationships or marriage, it can be hard to have that constant lay sometimes.

  • mochasister

    You forgot to mention forgiveness.  Forgiveness is an essential ingredient to a marriage.  If you cannot or won’t forgive, then please do yourself and the other person a favor and stay single.  When you forgive, make up your mind to leave things in the past and focus on the present.  Don’t say you forgive someone and then keep making that person “pay” for his or her mistake.  

  • Bjhajwhefwbdfjsdk

    This is all the sh*t you didn’t know until AFTER you got married? Not to be so selfish, let sh*t go, money matters, forever is forever… all that are things you didn’t learn in the X years relationship BEFORE you got married? 

    I foresee… divorce…

    • sweettea

      I had to learn all these things too. I got married very young. It took time but we both believe we are meant to be together so through the ups and downs we work together. Divorce isnt something either of us wants so we learn and grow together. 10 years coming up in march

  • Deamfg

    The last point was an extremely important one. I realized it recently. saving this article

  • Deamfg

    The last point was an extremely important one. I realized it recently. saving this article

  • This was a very good article and you could tell the
    writer wasn’t just talking bullcrap.

  • This was a very good article and you could tell the
    writer wasn’t just talking bullcrap.

  • Kymarcwill007

    What about Pets? I have always grown up with dogs. Not “Yo Cuero Taco Bell” mini dogs either. My girlfriend on the other hand was only allowed to have fish as pets and she flat out calls me stupid when I express to her the reasons why I think having a family dog is important. We are along way from getting married but thats a big red flag for me.

  • Kymarcwill007

    What about Pets? I have always grown up with dogs. Not “Yo Cuero Taco Bell” mini dogs either. My girlfriend on the other hand was only allowed to have fish as pets and she flat out calls me stupid when I express to her the reasons why I think having a family dog is important. We are along way from getting married but thats a big red flag for me.

    • Complimentsofme

      My husband wants a staffordshire bull terrier when we purchase our first home.  Hecccckkkk Noooo! I am the one who does most of the compromosing, but I refuse to compromise on this.  I can go without a dog and I certainly dont want a beast with a strong jaw.  I will win this battle.  lol

      • sweettea

        For the first few years i was totally against getting a staffy too. I said no every way u can say no. Then one day my husband brought hope this adorable 6 month old black and white stafford named bella that his friend was mistreating (wasn’t feeding her, didn’t walk her, hit her) . I fell in love at first sight. She’s so great with kids and other dogs and was so easy to train. Best dog ever

      • Jazz

        We had a staff and he is such a teddy bear! He’s much better behaved than our Yorkie!! 

  • Herman Cain

    Marriage for what no alpha male wants to be trapped with the same broad for life that’s misery and if you step out in some cases she gets to stick her hand in your pockets what’s the benefit for men “love” you can keep it

  • NOSYMPATHYFORFAMOUSPEOPLE

    Really good article!

  • Hateit

    How hard it is.  How trapped you feel when the newest wear off.  How bossy the other person is when you decide you want to do what you want.  How different his style is compared to yours.  Never do it again!!!!

    • Tara

      You can’t just “do what you want”. You are a family now. THEY are your priority -not your own selfish desires. I’m kinda feeling sorry for your significant other right now. You sound very immature. 

  • Msgonzo10

    I would add to this the list of the following things I “knew” but didn’t fully appreciate:
    1) You better believe that you will experience BOTH for better and for WORSE – that’s not marriage so much as it’s life. Period.
    2) You won’t know what “for worse” looks like until it comes and it will be different for every couple (for me it was my mom’s illness and subsequent passing)
    3) I don’t care if you live in a mansion, when you and your spouse aren’t getting along, you might as well be stuck in a jail cell together because there’s no peace in your home (which is supposed to be your sanctuary)
    4) Pick your battles VERY carefully, everything does not require a DEF CON 5 response no matter how right you think you are
    5) Quite frankly, everything doesn’t require your commentary either. Knowing when to bite your tongue until it bleeds is a skill worth mastering (for use when appropriate)
    6) Just because you didn’t intend to hurt feelings doesn’t make the feelings any less hurt – being quick to accept responsibility will go along way to improving ANY relationship

    • Kimd3423d234242332423435

      My friend just met a chocolate man on Blackwhitemeet.COMit’s where for men and women looking for interracial’ship for a fabulous lifestyle
      It’s a nice place for black white sing’les, to interact with each other…no bounds or extremes in front of true love.

  • GP

    Marriage Sucks.. Stay single

    • Dontcry

      Your marriage may suck…mine is great

  • Sugar_Spice

    LaShaun you hit the nail on the head with everything from me being obsessive to married men being the horniest.  I commend you for writing this refreshing article because these are the things people didn’t tell me.  I have seen too many couples divorce over money matters & finances should absolutely be figured out before you take that plunge.

  • Nia

    LOL@ #2 Good to know. LOL

    • L-Boogie

      I laughed at this point.  If I get married my husband would have to keep up with me.  LOL!

      • Nia

        LOL! My sentiments exactly!

      • Nia

        LOL! My sentiments exactly!

  • LIFESDP

    I loved this article and I pray to God in the name of Jesus that I’m blessed with a marriage that God has planned for me.  I’ll remember all of the thousand of articles that has prepared me but most of all I’ll remember to pray.  I’m ready Lord!

  • Pahleeze

    VERY POSITIVE!! Thank the Lord someone wrote something refreshingly optimistic about marriage for us single folks. I am so tired of reading negative articles about marriage…kudos:-)