Getting Married: What is it Like to be Married?

This young woman plans to eventually marry her boyfriend and “just” wants to know about some of the reasons for divorce as well as some of the positive things about being married. This is a marvelous question because I think it is something every prospective bride secretly worries about and few risk asking.

Many of the women who answered my question, “What do you wish you had known before you were married?” were quite surprised by what it was like to be married. These are some of the problems they discovered. They thought marriage would be easy and it wasn’t. They thought his behavior would improve once they were married and it didn’t. They thought families didn’t matter much, but they did.

Some of the positive things they reported were discovering strengths and abilities to face challenges they did not suspect about themselves and their husbands. They developed empathy and enjoyed incredible closeness and support. They reported that it wasn’t easy but it was worth the effort involved.

Women Wish they Knew...Your own attitude when you marry also makes a big difference to your experience of being married. When you marry Prince Charming expecting to be treated like a princess forever and then discover he is only human and leaves his dirty socks under the bed and feel betrayed, you may be tempted to search for a better Prince.  When you marry with the idea that you can always divorce if it doesn’t work out you are less likely to hang in even on the days you don’t like your husband at all.

On the other hand, if you marry with the idea that you will be with this man for life, no matter what, you may become helpless and resigned to intolerable conditions. None of these attitudes will help you manage the inevitable challenges you will face.

It helps to have the attitude that marriage is an adventure. As one wise friend put it, “It’s like taking an unknown path through an unknown forest to an unknown destination.” It also helps to have some idea of what you would like to create together. That means taking the time to each clarify your vision of what you want your life together to be like.

A commitment to creating that vision together will give you a good starting point for your adventure and help you make important choices along the way.

See more about what women wish they knew at

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