Teri Vance: Real talk about marriage

It was almost three years ago exactly that I was having my own bridal shower. Now it’s my baby sister’s turn. I thought I knew exactly what marriage would bring. I was wrong.

I’m sure there will be some surprises for my sister Lynsey as well, who’s getting married Saturday.

I reached out to my social media circle, asking for advice for the newlyweds — things you may not be expecting.

Like Renee Plain said, “Marriage was nothing like what I thought it would be. I thought the first year would be sunshine and rainbows … it was so hard!”

I thought that as an older bride, I would avoid those pitfalls early on in marriage. After all, I was more mature and bringing so much more life experience. Nope. I think it’s always going to be hard to adjust to living with another person and letting them into your space — both physical and emotional.

Plain’s advice was as true for us as for any couple, “Always communicate. Always talk, and share how you feel. Don’t bottle it up.”

Heidi Brandow, who will celebrate 33 years next month with her husband, Bill, said it’s best not to take things too seriously.

“‘Don’t sweat the small stuff... and it’s all small stuff.’ My hubby told me this, and he was right because what really truly matters is the commitment to each other no matter what happens in life,” she said.

I think sometimes we try to find a formula for success, especially in the realm of religion where getting married young and having many children is seen as the standard of happiness. It can be harmful.

Jennifer Waldo-Speth has seen it first-hand.

“The propaganda about how great families are can really brainwash us into thinking we have to have a dozen kids and love it, and if we don’t we’re evil. Seriously life is so much harder with the little turkeys, and I don’t think all the sweet, tender moments really out weigh all the sleep deprivation and hormonal and mental changes it wreaks on your health,” she said. “So wish I would have just been happy with one. There just needs to be so much more self care for both women and men or marriages become so unhealthy and awful.”

Listening to your own intuition and forging your path as a couple regardless of outside influences can be hard.

Chas Broderick said failing to do so brought about the demise of her marriage.

“My ex-husband and I put friends and family first and we lost our way,” she said. “Everything else became more important. And then when we tried to put it back together, it was too late. We didn’t know how to act when it was only he and I. Friends and family should always be important, but never more important.”

I received even more advice than this (look for a part II next week), and I was so moved by everyone’s honesty and vulnerability.

When we don’t talk about relationships in a real and authentic way, we get caught in that trap romance is a fairy tale and the wedding is the end of the story. Really, it’s just the beginning.

My friend Jo Slater also got married in her early 40s, but her advice is universal, “Never take each other for granted. Especially when it took so long to find each other. Laugh often and make out in public.”

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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