5 Things Nobody EVER Tells Newlyweds — But Really Should

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what nobody tells newlyweds about marriage

A lot of advice is well-meaning... but awful.

As a newlywed (or newly-engaged), there’s a lot of advice well-meaning friends and family will give you, usually without you asking for it. While enduring such platitudes like “Don’t go to bed angry,” “Remember you’re a team now,” and “Love is an action word!” is part of the tradition of marriage, there’s a lot of truths about marriage that nobody really talks about.

I’m sure our society’s refusal to bring up the negative aspects of marriage are intended as a courtesy, but why wouldn’t we want to prepare people for what they’re about to get into? Wouldn’t giving people real insights allow them to feel empowered when they face adversity? You can’t pack an umbrella if you don’t acknowledge the potential for bad weather.

In hopes to encourage and prepare those of you making the nuptial leap, I’m gently sharing with you what nobody tells newlyweds about marriage; these are some very hard truths I’ve discovered in my own 9 years of wedded bli-... uh... balance of good and bad.

1. Sometimes, the “hard times” are one of YOU.

People like to talk about the “hard times” couples will face as though they are all external conflicts that will bomb your house in the dead of night, but the truth is that, very often, one of you will become the difficulty in the marriage, even if you don’t mean to. I don’t mean that one of you will start cheating or being otherwise abusive, but all of us go through hardships, and in a live-together relationship, that means the burden of carrying the household will fall on one-half of the partnership. 

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It’s not always “Us Against the World”; sometimes it’s “Us Against Your Demons” or “Us Against An Illness that Renders One of Us Immobile.” In those dark times, you won’t be together but will be fighting opposite sides of the same mountain alone. Specifically, one of you will find him or herself shouldering the brunt of the emotional/financial/spiritual weight where the other person can’t, and that’s a hard road that will seem insurmountable.

2. You’re both going to change a lot.

It’s true that you can’t change someone, and you should never ever marry anyone in hopes that they’ll “come around” to your personal way of thinking. However, it’s also ridiculous to believe that the person you’re marrying will stay the same forever.

As you encounter new and different experiences, not only will your spouse change over time than, but so will you, and, ultimately, so will your relationship to each other. What you have now won’t be the same in 10, 20, or 50 years, and instead of letting that scare or frustrate you, learning to accept that each of you will have different incarnations will make the transitions so much easier, so you can grow together instead of apart. 

3. The things that bother you in good times might destroy you in the bad ones. 

It may not be as severe as that one gal in Chicago who shot her lover because he kept poppin’ his gum, but something that irritates us about our loved one has the potential to drive us over the edge if we let it. For example, the harmless flirtation your partner engages in that irks you a little might not seem like a big deal now, but when times are already rough and he or she is still doing it, it's going to be much harder to stomach.

Now is the time to look at these things objectively and either work to fix them or learn to accept them and love the person anyway, so they don't act as rocks to sink you in times when you're struggling to keep your heads above water. 

4. Some things can't be "talked out."

This is where that whole “Don’t go to bed angry” thing fails hard. There are going to be things that you will never ever agree on. There will be things you don’t like about each other that no amount of passionate discussion will ever remedy. You will go to bed angry (and frustrated and maybe a little demoralized) about it unless YOU figure out a way to deal with your anger and heal so you both can move on and not sit and fester in a space of resentment.

The best way to do this is to sit down with your partner, discuss why it bothers you, understand why this person disagrees, and either agree to disagree or learn to accept that this aspect of your relationship will never change. If accepting this conflict is something you can honestly never do to be happy, your relationship isn’t going to get any better as a whole.

5. Adding a new responsibility to your life won't fix your problems.

It’s a foregone conclusion by now that having a baby won’t magically heal any relationships, right? However, what many couples don’t realize is that, much like throwing a baby into the mix, taking on a new challenge isn’t the answer to fixing your fundamental issues. In fact, more often than not, it’s outright counterproductive and only drives the wedge deeper between the two of you.

This means that instead of building a new house, adopting a puppy, moving to a new city, or finding any other way to “make things right again” by diverting attention from your issues, you’re going to need to face them head on like adults. For God’s sake, don’t make a troubled problem worse by adding an extra element of stress. 

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Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer and activist based in North Carolina, where she overshares her bizarre journey through mental illness, recovery, parenting, and surviving Southern suburbia on her blog or anywhere she can get published. Her words have appeared in Huffington Post, Time.com, XOJane, Ravishly, ThoughtCatalog, and one time in the Letters to the Editor section of Playboy.