5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
When two people are in love or think they are in love they can decide to get married. They plan a wedding and a future together hoping to be in perfect harmony forever. However, there's a thin line between love and hate and sometimes when the love fizzles divorce becomes the only option. So before you decide on eternal bliss and walk down the aisle here are 5 things I wish I knew before I got married.
1. It's Easy to get Married but Hard to Get Unmarried
I wish someone had told me this before getting married (well I am actually pretty sure someone did, I just chose not to listen). First off, if you need a lawyer (and most do) it will cost you and cost you big! According to an article in the U.S. News and World Report, a divorce attorney can cost anywhere from $75 to $450 per hour. So depending on how complicated your divorce is this could quickly add up. There are however options available for persons with limited finances and many states have programs to help persons file divorce on their own with the help of a legal aid society or volunteer lawyers program.
A divorce can be extremely complicated especially if you and your soon-to-be ex husband own a home together, have children and share debt, bank accounts, businesses etc. Most courts require that those assets be fairly divided and also includes division of any debt incurred during the marriage. The bread-winning spouse may be responsible for alimony and depending on income and finances can get pretty costly for the payer. When children are involved the courts are usually extremely particular and deciding on who gets custody and who should pay child support can get tense and drawn out, especially if the parties involved can't come to an agreement.
In states like New York, the basic requirement for a divorce is proving that you have been apart for a minimum of six months. That's half a year of your life remaiming married when you really just want a divorce. If your spouse is no where to be found that can further complicate and delay things since nothing can proceed without having your spouse be physically served divorce papers. Though there are ways around this, those alternatives are also very time consuming.
2. My Ovaries Wouldn't Have Dried Up at 35 After All
For years experts and health professionals have said that having children after the age of 35 was a "no-no". It was just too risky, and so, women had to devise a life-plan around their ovaries. So let's see. It would therefore make sense to be married by at least 30 so that you could have children by or before you made it to the threshold age of 35. I know I am not the only one who thought about life like this. I got married at 31 on the dot! (Yup! Got married on my 31st birthday) and told myself it was "time". This "old wives' tale" however has been debunked. What we did not know is that much of this information came from outdated statistics dating as far back as the late 1600's to 1800's where healthcare and nutrition was at a minimum at best. Although it is true that risk does increase and fertility does decrease as a woman gets older, there is no real threshold for when a woman can bear children today. In fact, statistics have shown that more and more women are choosing to delay child bearing , some as late as their 50's. Look at Janet Jackson for example.
According to University of Texas sociologist Dr. John Morowski, the late teens to early twenties is the optimal biological age for child bearing. However, the "best age" for child bearing varies and is determined by varying socio-economic factors. Women aged 35 to 45 years of age are still in a good child-bearing window.
David Dunsen of Duke University, who examined women in Europe found that there was only a 4% difference in women ages 35 to 39 and women ages 27 to 34 and their ability to get pregnant. The study also showed that women ages 35 to 40 who have sex within their fertile period got pregnant within a year.
So what do these studies tell us? Basically, to relax. There is no need to rush into marriage because you feel the need to have a family by a certain age. Modern scientific breakthroughs give women of any age many options for child bearing. Today, women can choose to to be mothers with or without a man.
3. Being Single is Not A Bad Thing
Society over the years has done a really good job at making a woman feel inferior if she is unmarried at a certain age. It's almost as though something must be wrong with her. So it is no wonder that women begin to feel anxious about their relationship status as they get into their 30's. Sadly, although we may be on the path to success and our careers are booming, we have loving friends and family we still judge our life success on our relationship status.
But studies have shown that being single is not a bad thing. In fact being single into your 30's and even 40's today is no longer an anomaly. Between 2000 and 2009 the percentage of persons who have never been married increased from 34% to 46% . So take your time and get to know and love you before merging your life with someone else. In fact, being single has its own benefits. According to an article by lifehack.com being single comes with some great surprising benefits like being able to travel on a whim, flirting without fear, having the freedom to do as you please and spending time with family and friends. If that wasn't enough to convince you then remember this, it is better to be single and happy than married and miserable.
4. You Never Actually Know Someone Until...
People fall in and out of love all the time for many reasons. Life is unpredictable after all and things can change at anytime. That is why it is so important to know who you are marrying before you get married. This way you can end the relationship before it is too late. But how do you know if you truly know someone? Truth be told is you will probably never fully truly know someone but you can have a strong idea of who someone is over time by spending time with them, getting to know their friends and family and most importantly asking lots of questions.
Marriage means the merging of lives and tons of things come into play so it is important to know details about your partner . According to Bustle you should know things like your partner's spending habits, past relationships, how they respond to stress, how much money they make, how they were raised, intrinsic beliefs, values, short-term and long-term goals, their stance on religion and politics, hobbies, worst habits, general likes and dislikes, and living habits.
An article by Teresa E. DiDonato in Psychology Today, found that couples who dated under one year had a 20% increase in chances for divorce as compared to couples who dated one to two years. When it comes to choosing a life partner it is important to not love blindly, but to be very cautious and mindful. This is why taking your time and allowing the relationship to evolve naturally is so important. If you feel forced then it's not right. Time usually exposes the true colors of a person. A great judge of a person's character lies in his values but also in whether he is consistent and whether he is a man of his word. If words are not matched with action then that is a serious red flag and someone you should probably think twice about marrying.
5. Marry Up Not Down
Some of you may disagree with me on this, and don't be fooled by the statement either and jump to any conclusions before reading on. If you want to live in a castle but your man is perfectly fine living in a village you got problems. If you want to soar with eagles, but your man enjoys the company of chickens, you got problems. If you believe in God and prayer and your man doesn't you got BIG problems. What I am trying to say is, you can't marry someone who does not share the same drive, ethics, values, goals and dreams as you do. What usually ends up happening is two very different people fighting to survive and constantly being pulled apart by their differences, outlook and expectations about life. This can lead to one partner sacrificing for the other (usually the woman) just because they desperately want the marriage to work. Sacrificing on this level tends to lead to resentment and anger and only serves to create even more tension in the relationship.
Marriage however should be a partnership and in order for partnerships to thrive there must be synergy. That means everyone has to be on the same page heading towards different things maybe but one main larger overarching goal. In other words, everything you do individually or jointly must lead to a cohesive goal or set of goals or else what is all this for?
Love is great but love coupled with a strong partnership is even better. After all love can't pay the bills and although it is not the root of all happinness, this world requires it. So if your man has never been financially stable, has had difficulty holding down a job or worse never had a job and is living at home with his mama, then the marriage won't work. You will find yourself taking care of a lazy and unambitious man and seriously stressed out because of it.
I am saying all this to say, a man either has it or he doesn't. If he doesn't have his life together then he is not the one and if you are in doubt for whatever reason, don't settle. The right man is out there waiting for you. When it comes to marriage look for someone who is on your level and above or you may find yourself going backwards instead of forward and being in the wrong marriage with the wrong man can be debilitating not only to your career but your personal growth as well. The point I am trying to make here is don't settle to settle down.