What did you think marriage would be like?

J and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary on Tuesday. It got me thinking about what it means to be married. When you stop and think about it, it really is a funny thing. Our culture focuses so intently on the wedding that it seems like the wedding is the end rather than the beginning. In the majority of movies and stories, we follow the courtship and then the story ends with two people coming together. Rarely do we ever see what comes after the exchanging of vows. What does 'happily ever after' even look like anyway?

When J and I tied the knot and moved into our first apartment together in Northwest Portland, I found adjusting to married life very difficult. I won't lie; it was a total shock! I remember looking at him one day in those early months of marriage and wondering, "When is he going to go home?" Of course, within a split second, I realized, "Oh my god. He is home." There he was, just sitting on the couch reading a book.

I didn't really have much of an idea of what I thought marriage would be like before getting into it. Not consciously anyway. But when I look back, there is one thing I consciously thought marriage would include and that was reading together before bed at night - in the bed. I imagined we would get ready for bed, teeth brushed, faces washed, night cream applied, and read magazines or books until we were tired. Then we'd lay down our reading material on our nightstands, switch out our lamps and snuggle up and go to sleep.

Marriage has failed me on this one. Despite the fact that I have set up every bedroom we've had with nightstands and lamps to make it all possible, that's just not what we do. And it's not something I'm missing either! For whatever reason, in my mind, that was a big part of marriage and in reality, it's not part of our marriage at all. I guess that idea must have come from watching shows like Bewitched or The Brady Bunch as a kid. In any case, how funny is that? Marriage is so abstract until you're in it.

If you're newlywed or engaged, congratulations! And here are some realistic and inspiring resources to help make the most out of it:

The first act of this podcast is great.

And here is the accompanying article. Also great.

The Five Love Languages (know yours, know your spouse's!)

Basically the marriage bible.

And if you don't already, you've got to love yourself (like really love yourself) to be successful in a marriage.

If you're married, what did you think marriage would be like? How did it live up to - or fail to meet - your expectations?

(Photo via Beige Renegade)


  1. Funny I JUST ran to that episode of TAL and found that part so refreshing. In what ways are you crazy? Also LOL at When is he going to go home?

    I feel like a more appropriate question (for me) would be what did you expect married life with kids to be. Ha!

    1. That is a great question, married life with kids. The stress on my marriage post-kids is completely different from the ups and downs before kids.

    2. DEFINITELY. Someone told me that kids complicate and make everything harder. True words. Very true, indeed!

  2. I agree, it felt very abstract going into it! I don't know if I really had any expectations…well I'm sure I did, but I can't articulate them. It's our 4 year anniversary this August and one of the things that I didn't predict was just how hard it could be/how low our feelings could get during certain challenges and how committed we each were/are to walking through that with one another. Yes, we said it all in our vows but until you actually walk through the 'for worse' part, its hard to comprehend. Marriage has truly been such a gift for me, and I was someone that was initially against it and thought it was just a 'piece of paper'! It has really shown me the true meaning of love, commitment and the depth of human relationships. ~K

    1. It's way more than a piece of paper. I love what you say about walking through the 'for worse' times. It really gives meaning to it all once you've experienced it. xo

  3. Happy anniversary! We celebrated 8 years this year, too! I didn't have any concrete expectations, but one thing that did surprise me was how complicated things could get with extended families. Since we spent our first 2 years of marriage in Switzerland, no one meddled in our business. Then we moved back to the US and we were shocked by everyone's ... input!


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