The Top Three Pieces Of Advice I’ve Received From Other Married Women
I was 19 years old when one of my closest friends married. When she jumped the broom, she and her husband already had an infant to tend to. Within their first year of marriage, she was balancing motherhood while finishing her college degree and working a full-time job.
We talked a few times a week to catch up and when we discussed the happenings in our lives, she never vented to me about anything. As a junior in college, I would stress over finals, internships, future job prospects and more, stress that I would share with her. However, her life seemed like it was filled with roses as she never alluded to anything undesirable happening within her marriage. I at least expected her to vent about her husband, but she made married life seem almost effortless. For a time there, I believed that it must be.
It wasn’t until my best friend married many years later that I would begin to see what really goes on within a marriage. Since I wasn’t married, she never sought my counsel. Still, she would never shy away from being transparent when discussing any major disagreements, their life as parents or sharing examples of compromises made for her family as a married woman.
I got a chance to get more than a glimpse into what a marriage could entail, the good, the bad and the seriously ugly, and it stuck with me. Fortunately, over the next few years, I was able to briefly talk to a few women in my circle about their marriages and gain insightful perspectives.
When it was my time to jump into this amazing journey for myself, I wanted a deeper perspective when it came to how to handle in-laws, what arguments are healthy and which ones aren’t, finances and more. I decided to host a dinner for all of my married girlfriends the day before my wedding rehearsal. The intimate dinner included my mother (married for 11 years), one of her best friends (married for four years), my cousin (married for 18 years) and a close college friend (married for seven years).
These women received invitations because they had been straightforward and unabashed about the journey they had been on with their husbands. The diversity in backgrounds, ages and personalities made for a very candid dinner that revealed a wealth of varying experiences. Throughout our two-hour conversation, there were a few pieces of advice that stood out and helped out greatly in my own marriage. These are just three of many that I would recommend you take heed of:
You don’t really know your mother-in-law until you live with her
Two of my dinner guests had to live with their mother-in-law at one time or another, and one of them lived under the same roof as her mother-in-law at the time of the dinner. As they shared the reasons they would prefer to live apart from their husbands’ mothers, they did mention that it’s just like having another grown woman in the house. While it’s never easy having two “queen bees” in the home at one time, one of my friends said that discussing expectations and establishing boundaries before her mother-in-law moved in helped in keeping a strong relationship (and the peace) between all three parties.
Prepare for the worst by keeping a file of essential paperwork
All too often, when an elderly person passes away, the widow is left scrambling to find pertinent information that deals with life insurance, bills, 401(k), etc. To streamline this process, my cousin suggested that a file of all necessary paperwork should be created in the event that a death occurs. After creating the file, it was recommended that you talk to your spouse about what’s in it and who to call to make things seamless. Tying up any loose ends is something you don’t want to worry about while mourning.
Know the ins and outs of your partner
Of course, you know the person you married. But some great advice I received is that you should really strive to understand him and allow him to really get to know you even after saying “I do.” Favorable characteristics might really annoy you in certain situations, but they could be of benefit to your relationship. Truly grasping what makes the both of you different, as well as the same, will help you better understand your partner’s response to certain situations, as well as his actions.
If you’re single, talking to married friends can give you a preview of what married life is about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as any information that you receive can decrease the amount of unrealistic expectations and clue you in to what you’re really getting yourself into.
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