Wise People Share What You Should Know About Marriage Before Proposing
Proposing to your significant other is one of the biggest commitments that you can make in your life.
With marriage comes arguments, in-laws, plenty of identity crises, and much more. Staying aware of what exactly the commitment brings is necessary to a healthy, long-term marriage. Luckily, those with experience are speaking out on their secrets to success!
These Reddit users are here to share their wisdom on everything you should consider before walking down the aisle!
#25 Make A “Deal Breaker” List
When my grandfather asked my grandmother to marry him her father made them both sit down and write a list of 10 deal breakers. They then had to discuss them all to decide if they could both live with them before he would give his blessing. In over 50 years of marriage, neither one crossed the deal breaker line and they had a head start on open communication channels from the experience. The other thing they did was to ensure that each of them got at least one hour of me time every day from Monday to Friday (the other would watch the kids and there would be no chores done during that time) and weekends were family time.
#24 The Non-Compromisable Topics
That you agree on the important topics:
Children (and how to raise them)
These are the likeliest topics to have little to no compromise on so if you disagree drastically it will eventually cause a rift.
#23 Be Prepared To Adapt
That people often change throughout their lives, but not just because they got married. Many people get married with either the expectation that marriage will change their significant other or that the person will stay the same forever. Neither are correct. People will change, but not always in the ways that you expect and you have to be willing to adapt to them.
#22 The Impacts Of In-Laws
How they relate to their family and if you can handle it.
If, say, your partner’s family is nauseatingly close and loves to spend time together, are you down with that? Is your partner good at setting boundaries?
In-laws can destroy relationships.
#21 Remember, You’re On The Same Team
When you fight, remember that you two are on the same side.
Sometimes it’ll feel like it’s you versus her… whenever it feels like that stop. Back up. Figure out how it’s you both versus the world (or you both versus the fear they’re feeling, or you both versus the problems you’re having or whatever…) and not the two of you against each other.
Heck, try to remember that when you’re not fighting too.
#20 Loving Your Best And Worst Sides
Your significant other most likely fell in love with the best and strongest version of you. When you get married, make sure that yoursignificant other will still love you when you’re down. It’s a lifetime. Hard times will come. This goes both ways.
Also, marriage is work. If you don’t put effort into it, it becomes boring.
#19 Hold Onto Your Individualism
Don’t lose your individualism. My best friend recently got divorced and discovered that he didn’t even know what he liked to do anymore. The person you’re going to marry fell in love with YOU. Don’t lose that. It’s okay to have different hobbies/interests.
#18 Marriage Won’t Fix Your Problems
That if your relationship is on the rocks getting married won’t fix it.
A big expensive wedding that puts you far into debt isn’t worth it when you need a new boiler/roof/car or some other necessary life expense pops up 6 months after the wedding.
You should have the “big” discussions before you get married and have kids, eg. if you do have kids, are you both on the same page regarding potential issues that may occur during the pregnancy, are you both willing to parent a very ill child? What about if one of your parents becomes ill or dies what do you expect to do then, will the surviving parent come and live with you etc. What about the big holidays how will you spend them and whose family will you spend them with.
If you don’t agree on these things now, you won’t after you get married and then you are stuck in a more difficult position.
#17 Marriage Won’t Cure Loneliness
If you’re prone to loneliness, make sure you’re not just trying to seal the deal to end feeling lonely. You can still be lonely in a bad relationship. Make sure you emphasize each other’s happiness, not need it to function.
#16 Figuring Out Family-Time Splits
Where you’re going to spend holidays.
How much time you’re going to spend with each family.
Most people don’t realize how much stress each other’s families bring to the table. Always be a united front.
#15 Don’t Compare And Stay Creative
Go into marriage with an open and creative mind. There are a lot of ways to have a good marriage, one kind of marriage that works well for one couple can be a very different experience for another. Many of your friends who have marriages they describe as happy are probably arrangements that would not make you happy – and vice versa. Also, even in the cases of your closest friends, you don’t really know what’s going on under the hood, so to speak. And keep in mind that almost every marriage that ended up splitting up, say, ten years later, was a very happy relationship for a while. What you see now may not last forever.
This is all to say, be careful comparing your relationship to those of others, and take advice with a grain of salt for all these reasons. However, I don’t completely subscribe to the idea that you should never compare your relationship to another. I actually think it’s important to have role models, think of couples who have the type of relationship that you do want, and see how they did it. You can also ask them questions along the way and know you can trust their judgment.
#14 Stay Dedicated To Growth
It’s work, and it’s everyday work. If you want a healthy relationship you need to tend to that relationship.
#13 An Extravagant Wedding Isn’t Necessary
You can still have a “traditional” reception without going overboard, and that money is best saved for other things.
I was in New Jersey when I got married. The average wedding cost is over $40K. I spent about $10K. Even $10K is ridiculous, but I feel like spending less than 1/4 of the average price was good, especially because we didn’t go crazy trying to find the least expensive way to do it. Everything was taken care of by the venue, and we still had a served dinner, open bar, DJ, etc. Nothing was “missing”.
#12 Live Together Before Getting Hitched
This might not be a popular opinion but I honestly feel like you need to be with someone for at the very least a year. And I’m talking, living together for a year. When you live together for a full 365 days you see these people in all different kind of ways. It’s way different than date nights here and there, and “oh but aim over there all the time so it’s the same thing” It is NOT the same thing. Sharing a bedroom, and entangling your lives is a whole new ball game. Trust me, the people that say things changed after they got married, say that because that’s when they finally moved in together. I feel like you need to know a lot of things before you commit to someone for the rest of your life. You need to know cleanliness habits, their table manners, their relationships with family in depth, how they handle big life-changing events, like a death in the family, how they handle their finances, what their work ethic is like, and you need to know what’s important to them sexually above all else. After we got married absolutely nothing changed at all because we figured all this stuff out long before he even asked me to marry him. Oh, also make sure they’re cool with you having a life outside of them. That is probably the most important thing.
#11 Keep Dating After Marriage
Don’t forget to continue going on dates after you’re married.
#10 Focus On The Long-Term
I’ve only been married for about eight months, but it’s already been quite a journey. Honestly I think what people need to know (women especially) is to not obsess so much about the wedding ceremony itself and the “idea” of being married, but what marriage actually is. Your wedding is one day. Marriage is a lifetime.
I’ve seen my husband mourn, I’ve seen him sick as a dog vomiting, we’ve fought and made up. We’ve both hurt each other and apologized for it. And that’s just in eight months. Marriage is a team effort. You both work hard, you listen to each other, you support each other. Just because you’re a bride doesn’t mean you’re a “princess” or that your husband has to wait on you hand and foot. It’s gross how common of an expectation that is now (If I see that “his hands look like this so mine can look like this” pic one more time, I’m gonna scream). Once you get married, it isn’t all about you. Sometimes he’s your rock, and sometimes you have to be his.
#9 Don’t Isolate Yourself With Your S.O.
You can be prudent. You can try to beat the odds and marry someone as statistically similar to you as possible. You can wait until you’ve been together for twelve years to have a child, married for seven, and that still won’t stop yourself from waking up in intensive care, shut off from everyone you know, penniless, with none of your possessions.
I guess my advice is make sure you don’t become isolated. Keep contact with friends and family, even if they kind of suck. Don’t build your dreams around one person. Always have a backup fund, and save enough that you don’t have to dip into retirement.
Don’t end up like me, penniless and alone past my best years, because I loved a boy so much I took the part about “forsaking all others” literally.
#8 Tie The Knot For The Right Reasons
Make sure you’re both getting married for the right reasons. Not to save a relationship or because it is what they want or to keep family happy.
#7 A Set Time To Talk About Issues
At the beginning of our marriage, during one of the most sensitive times, my wife and I created what we call “safe time“. This is a time when both parties can talk to each other about very sensitive subjects without the other party losing control or speaking out of emotion. It is a neutral environment where the husband or wife can discuss issues that may come up without their spouse blowing up. Listening and analytically discussing the topic without an argument. It has saved our marriage from extremely explosive arguments and possibly worse. It’s not perfect (nothing is), and it can be abused, but it does work.
#6 Politics, Pets, And Children
Do both parties feel the same about children? How many? How will you raise them? Strict or friendly? Private or public school? Are you religious and will you raise them as such? Pets?
Finances. Is one party richer than the other? Pre-nup? Know their family background very thoroughly.
Politics. Get that out of the way.
#5 Invest In Pre-Marriage Counseling
Go to pre-marriage counseling. It was the best thing that my wife and I did. Some religions (Catholicism) have this as part of getting in married in the church. We didn’t do that, but we did have a friend who was a counselor that was very good. Normally you’d never go to a friend as a counselor as there’s a conflict, but it really worked well for us. We went over everything from how we each like to budget, how we view household chores, what the priorities are, and how to argue productively (which is the hardest to do). It’s definitely not going to be all roses, but the good should definitely outweigh the bad. Things will pop up that you don’t agree with, or you do something that the other person finds irritating. You deal with it and move on, because at the end you realize that’s small stuff.
#4 Love Yourself First
That YOU are the person that can make you happy and that YOU are the person you’ve been looking for. Happiness, peace, love, and fulfillment come from within.
If you love yourself, then you have yourself to give. If you don’t, and you are counting on someone else filling that hole in your heart, you will not find what you’re looking for.
Love yourself first.
#3 Allow Yourself To Argue
Fight. No seriously, everything in today’s society is against the sanctity of marriage and if you love your spouse, love them enough to fight with each other. Don’t let stuff that is bothering you fester because it becomes a cancer that can easily lead to divorce.
#2 Don’t Expect 50/50 Effort At All Times
People view it wrongly as a business deal. They give me something I want and in return I will give them something. Marriage is not about a 50/50 arrangement. It is not about a 60/40 or so on. Marriage is a 0/100. You give that person EVERYTHING… and you expect nothing in return. You love them. You take care of them. You are with them at their best and worst. Until death. It is a life long union, not based on fairness or survival, but commitment to each other. The marriage is a public announcement as much as it is a celebration of this selfless union.
If you base a marriage of the idea of fairness or 50/50, eventually someone’s selfishness will destroy it. If you base your marriage on selflessness (and the knowledge people are human and will make mistakes) there will always be room to grow, understand, move past arguments, and continue to love each other till death.
#1 Treasure Your Years Together
As a recent widower I can only say this: Nothing is forever. Cherish every moment you have together. Good, bad, or mundane.