I wanted to a take a break from talking about life as a mom to tackle another subject- marriage (Side note- My husband promised me a guest post, hopefully we’ll see that soon :). Just to provide a little background for anyone who doesn’t know us- my husband and I met during our last year of college and started dating the second semester. We both graduated and started a super angsty long-distance relationship where we skyped all the time and traveled back and forth between Virginia Beach and New York to see each other for about a year. We both moved to the DC area to resume an in-person relationship in 2012. We got married in 2016. Looking back I can’t believe that I’ve been with my husband since I was 22 and he was just 21! We were babies! And since we’re reflecting on the past, here are 3 things I wish I had known before I got married:
You don’t have to have a big wedding– I had 2 wedding ceremonies- a traditional Nigerian wedding and a regular wedding in Virginia Beach. We invited a lot of people and the whole thing was very expensive. We did get some help from our parents (and were gifted a very generous and amazing honeymoon by family) but we took on the majority of the wedding bill ourselves. While I can always cherish the memories I had with family and friends, I also look back with a bit of regret at the amount of time, stress, and money spent. If big weddings are your thing by all means go for it! But you don’t have to give in to the pressure to have a large event if that’s not what you really want. Small weddings can be very chic. And a lot of couples are choosing to forgo weddings altogether. If you’re footing most (or all) of the bill, there’s nothing wrong with putting that money towards your first house, an investment, a business, etc. instead. Just be true to yourselves as a couple and do what’s truly going to make you happy.
If you’re already living together, things may not change much after you get married– Sometimes people have an idyllic view of marriage (or on the flip side a very negative perception) and think that everything changes once you get hitched. If you’re living together for the first time when you get married then there will be some big adjustments. But if you’re already living together like I did with my husband, you may find that not much changes, except maybe other people’s perceptions of your relationship. I think there are some advantages and disadvantages to cohabitation. But we experienced a bigger life shift when we had children than when we tied the knot due to our circumstances.
You may need to adjust your attitudes about money– My husband is very frugal when it comes to most things, and I enjoy shopping and splurging way more often than he does. So naturally finances have been a big topic of conversation in our household. We’re still trying to find a happy medium, but being open and collaborative about your saving and spending habits is vital. I was raised by a strong single mother (who’s now happily married) so the whole concept of discussing my finances with a “partner” was an adjustment for me. It’s more important than ever now that I’m a stay at home mom but I’m sure its all been an adjustment for my husband too. It’s great if both people in a marriage have similar views and spending habits, but if not it probably benefits both people to strengthen communication and planning in this area as early as possible.
Those are three things I wish I had known before marriage. If you’re married, what do you wish you had known beforehand and what tips do you have for others?
Wishing you lots of self-care,