Celebs like Solange and Ayesha Curry make marriage look good, but they don't exactly spill on what it takes to secure your own happy union. So we asked real married women to answer one enlightening question: “What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about married life?” Here’s the tea.
Perspective. That’s the most surprising thing I’ve learned about married life and the most gracious gift that my husband, Philemon, has given me. Just when I think I know what his response or next move will be, he offers a new, unconventional lens to consider to every decision. Much of that outlook is attributed to our vastly different backgrounds, but the other part comes from individual maturity, growth within our union and consistent faith in God. Perspective in our marriage has been the biggest surprise and greatest delight.
— Imani Joye Sanders Samuels, Married 5 years
I was surprised by how content I am being at home with my husband — even when we’re not in the same room. I am happy to know that he is safely in the living room or another part of the house doing his own thing. I’m also surprised by how much I miss him when we are apart when I have to travel.
— Sophia Antoine, Married 6 years
You can be in love without being gaga every day of your married life. It’s OK to not be passionate every moment — that’s when the love is deep.
— Gayle Williams, Married 27 years
Your relationship is only as good as it was before marriage. If you’re having problems when you’re dating, it doesn’t get any easier when you marry. If anything, it magnifies your issues and now you’ve made a contract with this person to deal with everything as a couple.
— Ja Tawn Avant, Married 1 year
I have learned that love, commitment and appreciation aren’t shown in grandiose or expensive gestures, but rather in the everyday, mundane things like waking up with the kids on a Saturday morning to let you sleep, having your cup of coffee ready every morning for you as you walk out the door or learning to cook simple meals for your family when you are mourning the loss of a loved one and can’t cook. I’ve also learned that you cannot expect your spouse to read your mind, that you have to spell out what you’re feeling and what you would like or how you have been hurt by something they have done. And that you must always look at your spouse through the lenses of “rose colored glasses” — you can’t be ignorant to their flaws, but you can choose to focus on all of the good they do and are and remember why you fell in love with them.
— Jocelyn Negron-Rios, Married 13 years
The most surprising thing I’ve learned about marriage is the constant need to learn, and re-learn, your spouse. My husband is not the same man I married eight years ago. Over the years — and through the many experiences that have come with the passing of time — we’ve both changed. Our needs, wants and desires are constantly evolving. That’s why communication is so critical, because without it you could very well look up and think you’ve married a stranger!
— Tara Murray, Married 8 years
When marriage is good and we’re in sync, it’s amazing. But when we’re stuck in a rut or have hit a rough patch, it is god-awful. The fact that the rough patches exist surprised the heck out of me!
— Dawn Yancy Elleby, Married 22 years
(Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Up & Down)
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