Redbook on Marriage: 8 Things No One Told You

“Let’s face it, marriage is not for the faint of heart,” warns Redbook, in an article titled 8 Things No One Tells You About Marriage. “You want to believe your pure love for each other will pull you through. And it does. But it ain’t always pretty.” However, the article continues, “Sometimes it’s the least romantic parts of marriage that have the most to teach you about yourself, your partner, and the nature of love.” If you are about to walk down the isle, or are newly married, this is an unusually wise article about the nature of True Love.

Many people assume that when they marry The Right One, a fairy-tale marriage of perfect bliss will follow. But Redbook warns: You will look at the person lying next to you and wonder, Is this it? Forever?  When the disappointment creeps in, maybe even a frightning sense of loneliness and grief, recognize that this is just an awakening, “letting go of that sugarcoated fantasy of marriage that danced in your eyes” and learning that “marriage isn’t a destination; it’s a journey filled with equal parts excitement and tedium.”

And guess what? Although you may not feel like it at the time, this is a reason to celebrate! “Because once you let go of all the hokey stories of eternal bliss, you find that the reality of marriage is far richer and more rewarding than you ever could have guessed. Hard, yes. Frustrating, yes. But full of its own powerful, quiet enchantments just the same, and that’s better than any fairy tale.”

Another well-stated pearl of wisdom: You will sometimes go to bed mad (and maybe even wake up madder). This is OK. Sometimes, when you are tired after a stressful day at work or with the kids, bedtime is NOT the time to kiss and make up. You need to tune out, get some rest, and re-visit the issue in daylight. You may find that things were blown out of proportion and that the problem is no big deal. But if you are still hurt and angry, you will be able to address the issue in a calmer, more mature fashion after a good night’s sleep.

Another good one: You will go without sex — sometimes for a long time — and that’s okay. “Sexless periods are a natural part of married life.” Sometimes you are not in the mood, sometimes he is not in the mood. Sometimes your lust for sleep is just so much more urgent that anything else! “And don’t kid yourself; no one in America is doing it as often as popular culture would have you believe.” 

As you face your fears and insecurities, you will find out what you’re really made of. No one is perfect; that means we are all a work in progress. Marriage entails soul-searching, analyzing yourself, your past, what makes you act the way you do. Confronting yourself. “But if you let it, this bumpy journey toward self-awareness can be one of the more fulfilling rewards of a committed, long-term relationship — you’ll learn to love your quirks and be compassionate toward yourself, just as you’re learning to do with him.”