What if I don’t want to eat vegan food? And other thoughts on doing it a second time.
In just a few months, I’ll be getting married.
For a second time.
Both my fiance and I have been previously married. Although the circumstances of our marriages were very different, they were the same in that they both ended.
Deciding to get married again was not a decision either one of us took lightly.
In fact, for a period of time we both said we’d never marry again and were content to just ‘be together.’ After dating for three years, it became apparent that we both wanted more. We got engaged last October and set a wedding date for a year out. We signed up for premarital counseling and made the decision not to live together before we were married this coming November. We shared our news with family and friends at a casual engagement party. We ordered save the dates, booked the photographer, put a deposit on the location, and secured our pastor.
Fast forward a couple of months and the questions start to come out:
You don’t eat meat. What if I don’t want to eat vegan food everyday?
What if I your cleanliness annoys me?
What if I can’t handle your dog’s hair everywhere?
I don’t wanna watch SportsCenter everyday!
As we prepare to enter into this union a second time, I find we are both asking a lot more questions. Things we maybe didn’t ask the first time. Maybe they seem trivial and insignificant in the larger scheme of a lifetime commitment, but maybe not.
According to MSN Living, lack of preparation (41%) and unrealistic expectations (45%) are two of the top eight reasons couples get divorced.
I can say, truthfully, that the first time around my marriage fell victim to both of those things. My ex and I didn’t have any premarital counseling and just assumed we’d ‘figure it out’ as we went along. I had some pretty big expectations and he had a whole different kind of expectation. It turned out that those were not in line. At. all.
Although that relationship ended abruptly, I learned a lot about who I am and what kind of marriage I want to have.
Some conclusions I’ve come to on this journey to marriage #2:
1. Agree that agreeing on the BIG things is important. Do you want to have children? How do you feel about fertility drugs? Adoption? The ‘are we going to have kids?‘ talk is huge. If one of you is a firm ‘no’ and the other is not, you may have to consider if this marriage is the right one for you. Is religion/faith important to you? If your spouse is an atheist or faith is not important to them, are they okay with it being a priority in your life? These are tough questions to ask and even harder conversations to have, but it’s well worth avoiding potential trouble down the line.
2. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. There will be topics that you won’t want to discuss for fear of hurting your partner’s feelings. An exact question my fiance asked me, “I love your cooking, but there are times I’m not going to want to eat vegan everything. Are you going to be offended if I say no to something you made?” I love to cook and do so regularly. I’ve looked forward to the possibility of cooking for him in our marital home. In short, food is my love language. In my view, the way to man’s heart IS through his stomach. I could get really offended by him saying no. Since we talked through this scenario, I think we both feel better about how to handle a situation that could have ended with hurt feelings.
3. Talk through some ‘what if’ scenarios. Let’s say you had a rough day and planned on coming home, heating up leftovers, and curling up with the latest DVR’d episode of Walking Dead. Turns out your spouse made plans for you and another couple to have dinner and drinks. Each of you made separate plans without telling the other, how do you rectify that? What kind of communication do each of you expect to avoid these kinds of scenarios? It may seem inconsequential, but it is things like these that can build up over time and lead to resentment. Talking through various examples ahead of time helps you feel confident in how you will approach whatever life throws at you.
4. Get over yourself. As two people who live independent lives and like their ‘alone’ time, we will have to make some adjustments. I’m not going to be able to be up and running my Ninja blender at 5 AM for that morning smoothie when my fiance is catching some final shut-eye. Nor will he be allowed to shave the dog when her shedding proves too much. There are just some things we will have to get over. We can manage them to a point that is comfortable for both of us, but not everything can be about what each of us wants. Relationships are about give and take. When you are adjusting to a two-person home, selfishness has to go out the window.
5. Remember why you got together in the first place. Discussing all this minutiae and thinking about the changes to your life can seem overwhelming. It can leave some people running for the hills, wondering why they decided to get married in the first place. Take a deep breath. Remember all the things you love about the person you are deciding to spend your life with and what you’ve overcome to keep your relationship going to the point it is at. Chances are you’ve already faced some adversity and made it out unscathed. I mean, you did make it to this point, right?
My fiance and I have a little over six months until the wedding day.
I’m not sure what my dress will look like or what food we will serve at the reception. I haven’t ordered invites or picked the flowers. We are still picking out songs for our music play list.
However, I do know how we feel about God and having children. I know that my dog will live with us wherever we are. I know that he’ll never be a vegan. He knows I’ll never be a sports fanatic.
I know that no matter what happens we both love each other and are committed to making it work.
For the last time.