Top 5 Things I Didn't Know Before I Got Married

The things you do for love.

Top 5 Things I Didn't Know Before I Got Married
This picture of our unity candle says it all. Together, but kind of all over the place.

First off, let me start by saying I am the wife, and I am very happily married. My husband and I have been married for about a year (which I know is not very long); however, everyday feels unique, and I fall in love more and more. That is not to say it hasn't come with its challenges like most wives would say. And I know for a fact I am not the only new wife out there discovering new and unexpected things about their husbands or themselves for that matter in such a committed relationship. I grew up in the South, where getting married is just something people do at a certain point in their life. I also haven't known many healthy relationships and haven't seen many successful marriages around me, but I had heard of them and believed in them and it never discouraged me from longing for that dreamy wedding and the idea of that handsome beau holding flowers in his hands to take me to dinner. I knew one thing and one thing only: anyone whom I have ever seen that is happy and successful are emotionally stable, live for more than just themselves and they eventually get married. I wanted to be this person. So I could tell you the short and dreamy way I met him, but I'll keep it simple. In short, we met at work (wouldn't recommend doing that however it happens), started to hang out and a few months later he proposed. We took a marriage class because, like I said before, I have never really seen a successful marriage in action...only heard of them. It was obviously very insightful with things that you kind of learn as you become an adult like communication is important, be respectful of the other's point of view, how you both are with money, how to deal with merging family, etc. So with my short time of being married to the most wonderful human being who is my husband, here are the top 5 things I didn't know before I got married.


Now, I have heard in a marriage you have to compromise. Even in friendships, it's better to meet in the middle. You know that conversation with your girls...You're like, "I'm thinking Thai" And Queen B. says, "Well, I was thinking Mexican..." And you like, "srsly, do you want explosive diarrhea?!" And she's all, "we always get..." No. Just me. Whatever, don't lie. That same conversation with my husband. Your like, "I'm thinking Thai" And King B. says, "Well, I was thinking Mexican..." And you like, "srsly, do you want explosive diarrhea?!" And he's all, "it's cheaper..." and your like, "but..." No. Just us. Ok, typically (and I'm showing my butt here) I wouldn't care where we eat if I wasn't in the mood for anything particular. But when I just want what I want, I don't always want to discuss it. So I say all this to say, meeting in the middle isn't always something I am in the mood to do. That one is minor. I'll throw a slightly larger one at you. Coffee table verses ottoman? I'll admit there are pros to both, but it comes down to one simple fact...and that is aesthetic. Coffee tables are functional, decorative and practical. Ottoman is functional, clunky and random...I mean you have to live with this piece of furniture and how it interacts with how you use the living room. With the coffee table, I have a place to put my *gasp* coffee, PS4 controller, decorative flowers or vase, and iPhone. With the ottoman, I can sit on that or prop up my feet...By now you can probably already tell which one I would prefer. So how do you meet in the middle...the dreaded...compromise. You got married, get used to doing that because you only have a life time together to practice am I right.


Ok, if you know anything about marriage, you know that this is something you do regularly for the most part. I don't know if I could consider myself to have a "high" sex drive, but it certainly isn't none existent. The day I said I do, I was totally under the impression that there was going to be darn near daily sexual activity to the point were we needed a break every few days. That I would know all the moves the kids in high school would whisper about and we would run out of protection faster than we could count our fingers. And, to be fair, it began that way...on our honeymoon, the fire is still there, but it's all about timing. We both have preferred times to engage. Mine are always AFTER a shower and it doesn't really matter the time of day. After a night date or before we watch the movie...all I'm saying is there's an opportunity for every hour. For him, only on the weekends in the middle of the afternoon when he's not "tired"...which is basically when your weekend is in full swing, so once that window is missed (sigh) this was an interesting reality that we both had to get used to. I am not saying it has always been this way because my husband is very aware of our differences and we always try to give 100% effort to one another to be sure we are both happy collectively more than anything. But yea, totally unexpected.


So, let me quickly catch you up on how we structured our lives when it comes to finances. I am terrible with money. I love to spend it, give it away, waste it etc. mainly because I've always had my needs taken care of as a millennial and it took a long time to really see money as a tool to be used wisely, so my husband manages our finances. And frankly, he's better at managing it, and I am just not that interested. So, I get a certain amount each pay period to just do whatever with, and I am so super happy with it. It's not hurting any bills, and I don't have to think about it because it's there to blow. But what happens when you want to buy that gift for your friend of one month and you have no obligation to buy that for her. Or your best friend's brother's abroad wedding is coming up and you really want to go (by the way these are hypothetical...I'm not rich or anything) and he says, "it would be irresponsible to spend money on extra things we don't need." Let me break this down in my own female point of view. We NEED to buy that gift for my friend because our friendship is important enough that I need to build upon it to make her feel special because my mental health requires someone to talk to and rant about everything girly that you cannot bear to listen to. I need to buy that gift because it shows I am a caring and giving person which will boost my self-esteem, otherwise I am left with asking you "do I look in fat in this?" because I so desperately need to feel better about myself, so I need a few extra compliments this week to be able to deal with the crazy stuff that happens at work, and in the grocery store check out line. So yea, I need to buy this gift and go to this wedding even if it's "irresponsible". Of course, a few days later I realize none of those things would make me feel complete, and I should work on myself, so I don't get this way all the time, and we remain broke. In short, it's been enlightening with our combined incomes because now everything is thought through and planned rather than the latter, and it's a learning curve for me.


I am grateful when I get the chance to plan on doing nothing over the weekend or during a break which happens very rarely. I suppose when I was single I would fill that time right up with going out with friends, window shopping, internet browsing and doing research for my career. Now that my focus is in other areas, finding time has become hit or miss and often it's because "we aren't spending money this weekend." So, when those days hit, it's just us in the apartment staring at one another or watching Netflix in separate rooms. And don't get me wrong. I love it when I just mosey around and decide to do something or nothing or just nap. Even being a people person myself, it's weird when you have nothing to talk about with your spouse. Granted we don't have any kids yet, just a little dog. Sometimes, it's like remembering that another person exists in your living space and waiting around for something to happen. I didn't realize how little I thought about what to do in these situations where nothing is really going on all day, but you two exist in the same space. Either way, I cannot complain because I've been blessed enough that my husband doesn't have too many terrible "pet peevy" things that he does. I have seen my brothers do the same things before, so I've concluded that men in general may do these things to drive us women crazy. They exist, but that's a topic for another time.


I know my husband is man and men show love differently than women do. I know this because I have my father as an example and my mother as an example. I for example, love to give hugs and kisses and shower you with words of affection because that is how I have known someone to show love. My husband on the other hand is all about action. He's expressed to me before "I've paid the bills, I show up to intermediate family events and I clean the dogs poop up without complaining." That is how he has shown love...of course I value and appreciate all those things, but what about "you look beautiful, and let me drive you this time." Kind of love once in a while. So far so good, my husband and I know that we each receive love or acts of love in different ways and have expressed our gratitude in the areas each has attempted to display this love. It's just a new way of thinking when the way you hope to receive love is different from the other's definition of showing love. I suppose when we were dating everything was textbook with a touch of unique characteristic as our dates usually lasted anywhere from 5-7 hours of doing adventurous activities with a perfect meal at the end of it, so showing the love was easier to see because it was every time we hung out. Now, it's a matter of remembering our commitment to one another and the little things we do for one another is a way of showing love. Just have to remind me when I am always picking up the socks on the floor daily.

Sarah Danker-Dake
Sarah Danker-Dake
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Sarah Danker-Dake
See all posts by Sarah Danker-Dake