What married couples know now but wish they knew when they were single

Some couples are lucky to realize this before they get married.

Some people are even luckier to know this before they start dating.

Most however, don’t discover this until the cosmic dust settles after the honeymoon. 

AT THE BEGINNING of a relationship, we live our lives facing each other, observing each other, engrossed in each other, enjoying what we see in each other, feel about each other and experience with each other. Nothing else really matters.

The noise of life is muffled and everything other than each other is blurred out. We seem to have no time to look around us and see what is happening in the world around us. We just don’t care “that much”. Work, school, society, taxes, finances, church and all these other things fade into the background as time stops.
You have no problem shutting off your phone and the other people in your life complain that they can’t reach you.

We affirm our reason for being with each other based on how we are making each other feel and how we anticipate we will continue to make each other feel in the future. We picture that future together and we share what seems to be millions of what I call “Me Too!” moments. Moments where we desperately seek to find common ground in our values. We then spend time trying to lock in a verbal and emotional agreement on that future. At this stage,

You do life Face to Face.

At this stage, what makes a person right is what you feel for that person, how they make you feel, how you make them feel, what you experience with each other and the galactic alignment of the stars.

WHEN WE GET MARRIED though, things change a bit. We now have to face the world together…we have to take our gaze off each other more or at least accommodate the rest of life in our cocoon. More things matter. You have to engage with the world around you. Kids, work, society, school, finances, bills, taxes and a host of other things. It’s like life comes to your marriage door, rings the door bell, and leaves these “life babies” at the door without even leaving an instruction manual.

It’s like going to the circus of relationships and you both are called on stage by the circus master to volunteer for a few tricks which you both happily get up for, but find out you can’t go back to your seats…they announce that you’re part of the traveling circus now!

All those things that were in the background before, now rush into plain view. Time is no longer stopped. Oh no. it is ticking and ticking fast. You are now pulled in so many different directions.

At this stage,

You do life Side by Side.

Just ask Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the movie “Rush Hour 1” (My wife loooves that movie). Here is a clip of a scene. Pay close attention (from 1.20) at how they have to now manage and do life side by side:

Now, at this stage of marriage, what makes a person right is not just what you feel, how they make you feel, how you make them feel or what you experience with each other. No. Now it’s also about HOW you are able to DO life together and tackle these monsters, aliens, lions, tigers, and bears.  What makes it right is the galactic alignment of work schedule, finances, resources, scheduled sex, scheduled dates, budgets, in-laws, and the efficient use of a shared bathroom.

Dating couples do life Face to Face. Married couples do life Side by Side Tweet: Dating couples do life Face to Face. Married couples do life Side by Side. Tobi Atte @ijustmetme - Retweet!

Many newly married couples quickly find out that partnership is a critical part of what makes marriage work.  Our satisfaction starts to depend more and more on questions such as:

HOW WELL DO WE WORK TOGETHER TO MANAGE OUR LIVES AND REACH OUR GOALS?

At this point, those “non-romantic” traits like dependability, tenacity, drive, organizational skills, energy, follow through, motivation, delayed gratification, hard work, and planning come into place.

When we start doing life side by side, we realize that each person has to be able to manage their piece of the action effectively for the team. Who sends the bills in and who manages the family calendar? Who is in charge of financial planning and who will schedule babysitting? Who is in charge or grocery shopping and who will pick up the kids at school today?

Even romantic notions start to take on new additional meaning. For example, communication no longer only means “letting each other know how you are feeling”. It is now also the difference between wasting resources and saving resources. Love may evolve from butterflies and start to also mean dependability, and the definition of “a great sex life” may evolve from absolute spontaneity to sometimes having to schedule sex on the shared google calendar right when the 4 kids are watching their favorite show downstairs.

That’s not to say that those “Face to Face” moments wouldn’t and shouldn’t be there in marriage…it’s just that more things matter now, and the couple may have to make a more conscious effort to have those moments where the world shuts down and all they see is each other. Now in marriage, you can barely turn off your cell phone at dinner… you know, in case your boss, your kid’s teacher, the baby sitter, the tax attorney or the landlord calls.

So when you are considering someone, yes, consider all the feelings. Enjoy yourself, blur out everything else in life, talk all night and then go to work drowsy. Send each other 7 million text messages a day and dream of the future together.

HOWEVER…also consider HOW this person is DOING life right now. Consider HOW the operation of their life is managed.

How do you execute plans for the future with someone who isn’t good at following through on their own plans? How do you save money with someone who is an impulsive shopper?

A lazy person, with no organizational skills, who lacks motivation and on top of that doesn’t understand the concept of delayed gratification, may frustrate you in marriage even if right now they make your heart palpitate and cause blood to rush to certain parts of your body as soon as you hear their voice.

Why? Again because:

HOW WELL YOU WORK TOGETHER AS A COUPLE TO MANAGE YOUR LIVES AND REACH YOUR GOALS WILL PLAY A PART IN HOW FULFILLED YOU EVENTUALLY BECOME IN MARRIAGE- Tobi Atte

**Image on page courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

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  • Kehinde Durowade

    What I find so hilarious about this article is the fact that you keep mentioning taxes, and tax attorney, and taxes lol. I’m guessing that’s a big issue in marriage? But for real though, this was incredibly deep and insightful. I love the face to face and side by side analogy, thank you again for sharing your amazing talent with us.

    • Haha! You know I wanted to cover all those major areas that married couples really try to get a grasp so while i covered kids, bosses, work, etc, I certainly needed to properly cover finances. I am thrilled that you got a lot out of the article!

  • frances

    Thank you for this..
    Glad I am getting this info now in singlehood.i am priviledged!

    • Great Frances! As always…its a pleasure to have you in these discussions

  • rita

    wow, every article i read leaves me wanting more. great job as always.

  • Nnamdi Orah

    I stumbled across your website today and I’m glad I did. Lots of sober reflection needed. We tend to excuse obvious faults we see in our dates cos the hormones are running wild. God help me.