I have learned a lot of lessons over the past 12 years. If I could go back and give newlywed me a few tips on surviving marriage, it would look a little something like this.
1. Fairy Tales do not exist: Life happens and the best way to deal with that is by going with the flow. Resisting the current will cause a lot of stress and arguments. We all watch movies like the Notebook and Dirty Dancing, and think, "I want that kind of super sexy passionate relationship." Sure, it looks pretty hot, heavy, and magical, but that is not reality. I bet if Dirty Dancing had a sequel, Johnny would come home without the milk at some point and we would really see how passionate Baby would become. "Johnny, are you serious? What are the kids going to put on their cereal in the morning? I asked for one freaking thing!"
2. Let him go....anywhere he wants: For the first few years of our marriage, I nagged my husband to keep him close. I was always so upset that he would want to go away and be separated from me. I couldn't understand why he didn't want to be with me every second of the day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I truly believe that. Since having children, I am happy to have my husband go out and play golf, or do anything his little heart pleases. The only rule is that he takes at least one kids when he goes. He needs time away from me and I need time away from him. We both need time away from the kids. It is necessary for survival. I recommend some separation if you want to remain married, it makes sense I swear.
3. He is not going to change: I spent years complaining that my husband doesn't clean toilets, or help with the household chores. I would actually ask him, "Why don't you want to help me clean the house?" I can't help but laugh out loud thinking about it. I don't want to clean the house, why would he want to clean the house. We dated for a long time prior to marrying, and he was a slob then, why would he morph into a tidy companion. It was an unrealistic notion that drove me crazy. To this day I have never seen him scrub a toilet. I am positive that the Apocalypse will occur if he were to ever pick up a toilet brush.
4. Romance IS OVERRATED: Wine me, dine me, .....You know the rest. Being romantic is not for everyone. I love to see it on the big screen, but it is not something that comes naturally to my husband. I use to beg him for romantic gestures, but that is like asking a musician to perform surgery. We all have talents and strengths, and it is unfair to demand a talent that someone does not possess. Everyday does not need to be a page out of a romance novel, that is not real life. The nights that he gets up and does the dishes without me prompting him are the sexiest gestures ever. Watch out Mr. Grey, my husband scrubbed a pot!!! SO Freaking HOT!
5. Saying "I love you" is not enough: To show someone you love them, use actions not words. I am not the biggest fan of serious conversations, or talking about my feelings. I like to use actions to speak for how I feel. My husband knows I love him because I cook, clean, iron his dress shirts, pack his lunch, and buy his favorite toilet paper. Nothing says I love you like a clean, freshly wiped backside.
6. Don't argue over where to go for dinner: Don't spend 45 minutes discussing where to go for dinner. Be happy you don't have to cook and if you want something specific, ask. He can not read your mind. I promise. We went out last week and I wanted steak. I said, "Take me for steak." His reply, "Outback it is." It was quick and easy, up until the point where my three kids terrorized the restaurant and one violated the bathroom.
7. Making Love is made up: Sex is a big part of marriage, but making love doesn't look like a Hollywood movie scene . There will not be candles, music, or mood lighting every time the horizontal mambo will occur. Sometime you just need to do it because he asked. Sometime you need to do it because the kids are all asleep for the first time in a week. Sometimes you will just need to lock the bathroom door and do it while the kids knock and ask "why you are both showering at the same time?" I like the excuse about conserving water the best. We all need to do our part to save Mother Earth.
So if I could go back and tell that bright-eyed, young bride these 7 things, the first few years of marriage may have looked a bit different. At least now I know how to pick my battles. Marriage is a marathon, so buy comfortable under-ware that don't get easily bunched and hold on for one wild ride.
Meredith is a work-from-home mother of three who writes about the inappropriate side of marriage and motherhood on her blog at thatsinappropriate.net. She is also a contributor on the parenting team at today.com. Follow her on Medium, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.