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

January 11, 2012  |  
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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