Hi, it’s me, Mom. Although you’re still a little girl, if you are reading this, you have decided to choose a partner to share your life with. I want to tell you some things about marriage now while I am not wrapped up in your wedded bliss, and standing before me looking so radiant. If I wait until then I am sure to sugar coat, and say things like “Everything is going to be fine” if you reach for me and tell me you are nervous or scared. The truth is, I think more people should go into a marriage with the awareness they will feel nervous or scared.
And while your wedding day should be filled with joy and wonderment and isn’t the time to let negativity and second-guessing swallow you whole, (if this is happening to you, take my hand and we will leave right now) it’s not solely about this day. It is easy to get caught up and swept away in your wedding but soon the confetti will settle and it will be time to build a marriage.
So, it’s not really about this day for very long, it’s about the rest of your days.
14 Things I Want My Daughter to Know on Her Wedding Day
It is going to be really hard sometimes.
You will have days when you need time and distance from your spouse and they will need the same.
You both might feel bored with each other.
But there will be times when they are the only soul you will want in this world. You will crave them. Their smell, their touch, the familiarity.
Today you are two people ready to say your vows to each other, but you will both change again and again; you won’t be the same people throughout your marriage. Hopefully you will love all the different chapters you create together.
You will hurt each other. Sometimes with something really small, and sometimes with something huge. And to get through it you have to have the tough conversations. They can only be pushed aside for so long. The same issues will just keep showing up and become harder to deal with if you keep trying to run away from them. They always seem to catch up and feel bigger than before.
When you are wrong, say it. Learn from it and try to move on. Take it as an opportunity to learn but be gentle with yourself.
Say what you mean. There is no room for hints or mind games in a marriage. (Believe me, I have tried.) Expect the same from your partner, remind them, show them you are capable of talking about how you feel and asking for what you need and they should do the same. It’s not a selfish thing, you do this to keep things open, moving and changing. Every time we downplay an issue by tiptoeing around it we are putting up a road block in our relationship. We do not marry mind readers. We marry human beings.
You get to choose the lessons you have taken from your father and me. I know we are not experts on marriage, but I am aware we are the biggest example you have. We have both made mistakes, we have both been wrong many times. Don’t let those mistakes, or us, define your marriage. It is yours. It is between you two.
Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s. This is tremendously difficult. Remember people show us what they want us to see. We all have struggles, marriage looks a bit messy to all of us at one time or another.
Do not strive for perfection, aim for respect. Try for compassion, but not perfection.
Don’t ask for permission from one another. You are equals. This is a partnership. Have discussions about certain things you would like to purchase, adventures you would like to take, set goals but don’t ask for permission.
You need to know you are going to share different experiences, you are going to enjoy doing things without each other. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your relationship. It means you two are still individuals. So don’t give up the things you love just because they are not interested in them and don’t expect them to either.
The two of you get to make this what you want and today will be your start as a married couple. Decades from now you will look back and have regrets in your marriage, I am sure of it. But hopefully today is one day you would do over again and again.
Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her husband and three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .