The Morning After…

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Nothing really prepares us for marriage. We get prepared for high school by prep school, for college by high school, for work by education …but is there anything that prepares us for marriage? We get perfectly prepared for our wedding, for being the “bride”…but do we get prepared for being the “wife”?

We are raised to the idea that marriage is the salvation, the end of all troubles. Marriage will release us from the control of our parents, it will give us the upper hand, make us the decision-makers…marriage will FREE us. How many times have we heard the phrase: “when you get married, do what you want, but you can’t do that now”? We view the wedding ring as if it is our ticket to heaven. We wait for it, we crave it, we get worried if we don’t wear one soon. We start expecting to get married while we are still at college, not even knowing what marriage means beyond the boundaries of the wedding. The first thing that comes to your mind on the morning after the honeymoon is: What now? That morning when your husband goes to work for the first time as a married man. You wake up with him on that morning, fix him breakfast probably…say goodbye at the door with a kiss. And the door closes, you run to the window to see his car driving away till you lose sight of it. And then there is silence, you are alone. I AM ALONE??!!! The fairytale ended here. What am I supposed to do now? OK get the chores done, work the washing machine, clean up that mess, cook lunch…get groceries first…a long list of chores followed by cleaning YOURSELF up to meet hubby at the door. Great…everything is going so well, I am a better cook than I thought I was. Yes, the house is clean. I look…well, just perfect…that advice about buying “comfortable-yet-sexy home clothes” was good.

Now is this marriage? Do you think this is your responsibility? You think you have covered it all? You think if you cook well and clean up the house…if you are nice and pretty, you have it covered?  Nice chats, a nice bunch of friends, good vacations, cute disciplined kids, a nice house…is this what you think will make your marriage a success on the “inside”? Do you think romantic candle light dinners every week will keep your love life safe and sound? I am sorry to burst your bubble, but no, there is a lot more to it.

It is not about remembering anniversaries, it is about how much closer you have managed to become in the passing year. How well do you know each other? Can you tell what he is thinking just by looking at him?

If you and your husband can reach a higher level of understanding each other, life “can” be what you dreamed of. If you know how that deal ended when he walks through the door after work, if you know he had a fight with his mother without him uttering a word, if you know he is feeling down even though he tries to hide it from you…that is when you can do everything perfectly. Just remember, it takes men a lifetime of trying to understand us as well we understand them. The important thing is that he tries. And before you ask him to try, you need to know a lot about him first. You need to educate yourself about your husband. You need to know when to talk and what to say. This is by no means a form of “submission”, this is a means of making you stronger. It makes you capable of proper communication…we study that to use it at work, why not at home? It is a partnership, it is an exclusive lifetime partnership…it is a Merger!!

This knowledge is to make you stronger in facing the endless ups and downs of marriage. You will be able to support your husband better, to go through difficulties without falling apart on the inside. It will help you know which battles to fight and how to fight them. It will prevent miscommunication, thus avoiding a lot of unneeded trouble. Men don’t express much…in words. Men lie…for no apparent reason sometimes. Men are lousy in showing their affection. It would make you know if your husband’s feelings are the same, if he is cheating. If your mistrust or insecurity are the byproduct of your innate female tendency for it, or of your hormonal situation, or is it reality? You will know if your husband loves you…or not.

And honestly, looking beyond the apparent prevents boredom. Knowing the little things about your lifetime room mate, can be like watching a comedy. Picture this, your mother-in-law is a terrible cook yet your husband and the whole family just hail her food. You don’t understand why…but everyone (including yourself) still compliment her on that lousy béchamel she made the other night. You are frustrated; your husband loves his mother’s food and hates yours. Then as days and incidents go by, you learned how your husband’s cheek seems to swell for a second when he hates the food he is eating yet wants to hide his disgust …you saw it when he tried Sushi at that fancy restaurant, and when he had Tiramisu at his boss’s house. His cheek swells a bit. Now you catch that swelling cheek at his mother’s dinner party today…he hates her food too. He just doesn’t want to hurt her and he would feel very guilty admitting it, even to himself. You are now not frustrated anymore and you discovered something sweet about your hubby. You are also very entertained by the show he tries to put at his mother’s dinner parties.  Ten years down the line, you tell him you knew all along!!

This needs a lot of “paying attention” to the details, a lot of silence on your side. We need to be silent to learn, we need to hear the other person…for a long time. We lend an ear pretending to listen, we must lend our brain. Be prepared for your marriage, it is so much safer to know before you judge. Know yourself, know your partner…Knowledge is Power.

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