So the wedding band is finally on your finger! You can’t wait to dive into a new chapter with your hubby – and then – the little gritty, real facts of being married start popping up. The good, the bad, and sometimes, just the plain ugly.
Never mind the most obvious one, as one girlfriend puts it, “Well you can’t date other men anymore, just take your mind off,” when asked what it’s like to be married. Point taken – and here, more pointers to share.
Photo: Ben Rosett on Unsplash
#1 Getting married isn’t the same as being married
“Your wedding’s just a day; being married is for keeps. While it’s fine to get excited about wedding preparations, it’s equally good to understand how marriage preparation courses can help.
It has done wonders for us, and helped us learn how to manage potential areas of conflict, for example.” – Ng Soo Hong, 37, married nine years
#2 Husbands can’t read minds, still
“Even when they’ve shared your life and your bed for 10 years, and you’ve given them kids – husbands stay as clueless as when they were your boyfriends.
I still need to tell my husband what I want or don’t want – men just aren’t as good at picking up signals.” – Selina Lau, 45, married 12 years
#3 Someone to share your life with
It may sound mushy, but having someone to share their life with, ranks high on most people’s lift list. “For a start, there’s someone now to help with achieving certain goals like buying and building a new home together.
I have somebody who’s my sparring partner, who helps me see things from a different perspective, and yet, who accepts me for who I am, and vice versa.
Above all, I now have someone to share the good and the bad with. Together, we emerge stronger and thankful for our blessings. I am a better person because I am married.” – Lynn Lau, 46, married 16 years
#4 You don’t “complete” each other – and that’s okay
“Don’t expect your spouse to make you complete, and therefore, happy. We’re both complete, human beings in our own right, responsible for our own happiness, not extensions of each other.” – Joyce Lim, 56, married 30 years
#5 You give up some independence – and that may be good, sometimes
“We married late, so I was used to making decisions and doing stuff without having to think about another person. But when I had a miscarriage, I suddenly found myself ‘emotionally weak’, and unable to handle so many things.
Thank goodness for Tom, my husband! He was always the quiet one, but when this happened, he just took charge: he got me away from my well-intentioned, but noisy, family for a quiet holiday by ourselves. Just to allow our grief to run its natural course.
He showed me that it was okay to be tough – but I shouldn’t expect myself to be a superhero. There wasn’t any need, since he was there to help share the load.” – Natalie Chen, 44, married nine years
#6 You share your strengths
“Marriage isn’t plain sailing all the way. Some days will feel like it’s continual hard work with sacrifices to lifestyles and habits. Like admitting you’re wrong when you are, and saying sorry, and mean it.
When two people care enough to want to do this, that’s when it will work.” May Lai, 43, married 18 years
#7 You work on your weaknesses
“Contrary to common belief – the first two years of marriage aren’t always a honeymoon. Not for me, anyway. There were times that were so bad, I wanted to leave.
But the commitment we’d made to each other kept me going, and I’ve learnt along the way how to affirm my husband with positive words, instead of criticism, when things go wrong.
It’s helped him lead the family better.” – Abigail Han, 37, married eight years
#8 It’s not just “about you”
Marriage is about two people, and each has to consider the other’s feelings as well. “My husband’s career-centred while I am happy staying at home to look after the kids.
In our early years together, I’ve actually used them as an excuse not to attend his company functions. Even when I knew my being there was important to him.
Since then, I’ve learnt to make the effort to attend them because his feelings are important too.” – Angelina Yeo, 53, married 32 years
#9 You learn to not take things for granted
“We assumed, wrongly, as it turns out, that with marriage, we’d have more time together. After marrying, we hardly talked, or if we did, our conversations revolved around mundane housework or bills.
So we got off our butts and made the effort for special dates and to have heart-to-heart talks, and cultivated mutual hobbies.
We’ve actually got to remember to share ourselves with each other – and that’s sometimes hard to do with all the modern-day distractions. – Estella Tan, 31, married seven years
#10 The difference between talking and communicating
One’s an action that you can do by yourself. The other’s an activity, which is done best, when shared.
“A marriage has to be constantly nurtured so it can grow and last. Part of that nurturing includes good communication, and for that to happen, you need to be involved in each other’s lives.
When my husband shows an interest in an activity, I’ll make the effort to join him and vice versa. It gives us a common interest to talk to each other about, work on together and in the process, play and laugh together.” – Esther Kang, 42, married 17 years
#11 Marriage shouldn’t stop you from being, and feeling, sexy
“You can get too comfortable with each other in a marriage, which can also mean you stop trying. So I’ve learnt to be more creative with my wardrobe.
To spice things up, I’d sometimes do housework wearing only my sexiest lingerie. And boy, does it work – my husband and I pretty much end up doing lots of ‘in-house work’ after.
Men tend to be visual creatures, so you have to work on the attraction.” – Clara Chung, 35, married seven and a half years
#12 In-laws aren’t perfect – that includes your parents
Wives can complain about their in-laws. Technically, that means husbands can, too.
“We often forget our husbands have to put up with our own parents and family members too, so while we adjust our expectations towards our in-laws, we should also give our husbands credit for working just as hard.” – Debbie New, 31, married 5 and a half years
#13 In-laws show you the reason you married your husband
Hello – these are the people who’ve brought up the man you’ve fallen in love with and married. The more you know them, the better you might understand your husband.
“My in-laws are very lovable people, who believe in ‘talking things out’ – that’s why I married their son! My husband is exactly like his parents when it comes to communication and that’s important to me.” – Serene Liu, 32, married seven years
#14 There can be fair fights, and it’s okay to disagree – even when it’s with your spouse
“With the right mindset, disagreements and quarrels aren’t necessarily bad for a marriage. They have challenged my husband and I to become better people – either by us learning to become more tolerant, or by coming up with solutions that are fair to both of us.
Only with tolerance, can there be respect, which is vital in a marriage.” – Lena Lee, 44, married 17 years
#15 “For better, for worse” – literally
There’s really no other way to say it – marriage involves complete trust. Entirely. Even when it bothers and frightens you, and goes against every safety net you believe in – still you stay put with your husband.
“One of the biggest milestones in our marriage was when my husband made a major career switch, which I didn’t agree with.
As far as I was concerned then, it felt like he had decided to jump off a cliff, and I had to jump with him too! Which was scary. But once you’ve been through the tough times together, and you’re still surviving together, you can pretty much handle anything, together, after that.
And that, I’d say, is when the real fun begins.” – Valerie Lau, early-40s, married 16 years