What Marriage Is Really Like

by Joelle Wisler
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

To be married, partnered, or in any long-term relationship, you must forget every romantic movie you have ever seen and accept the fact that you are binding yourself to someone who will know all of your flaws and who will sometimes point them out to you.

My husband is not one to show his love with flowers, or chocolates, or fancy jewelry. But every Sunday night he cooks the most amazing meal, whether it’s big pots of chili verde, smoked ribs, French onion soup, roasted vegetables, or homemade apple crisp. He usually starts with marinating things in the morning, and the process lasts all day long. By dinnertime, with every bite, I know how much he loves me.

Here are few other things that I have realized about marriage over the years:

Marriage is sitting reluctantly through a documentary about gold-mining, but not impaling yourself with the remote control.

Marriage is someone reminding you that you’ll feel better if you go out and exercise, even when you’re pretty sure you’ll feel better if you eat a donut.

Marriage is sometimes flipping someone off after they turn around.

Marriage is anticipating the exact Monty Python quote that is appropriate for any situation, even if you’ve never seen Monty Python.

Marriage is trying not to talk about the kids when you are out on a date, but failing.

Marriage is remembering the story of how you got there and telling the story badly at dinner parties.

Marriage is jumping out and scaring the crap out of someone for fun.

Marriage is being in a social situation and having someone who can perfectly time the eye-roll that you are feeling.

Marriage is getting really hot while cuddling, but lying there for a little bit longer anyway.

Marriage is stopping yourself from saying, “I told you so,” when you really, really want to.

Marriage is making chicken soup happen.

Marriage is walking together down a street you’ve never been on before, when it’s raining, and you finally find a pub, and you realize that there is no other person you’d rather be with.

Marriage is being wrong—a lot—and having someone tell you about it.

Marriage is forgetting about all of the times you had to get up and find the butter.

Marriage is arguing about taxes.

Marriage is being up together in the middle of the night a lot—kids puking, loud sounds, stolen covers, bad dreams, snoring.

Marriage is that one night when the kids are staying at their grandparents’ house, and you can do anything you wanted. And you end up ordering burritos, watching Netflix, and passing out on the couch.

Marriage is saying mean things and immediately hoping that they can forgive you.

Marriage is being able to anticipate a future—gray hair, wrinkly butts, velour tracksuits, shocking your grandchildren with dirty jokes, and side-by-side Barcaloungers.

And finally, marriage is believing in this other person—really believing in them—even though you’ve seen them dance naked.

Marriage is letting go of all the expectations of what you think marriage should be. Marriage is imperfect, stinky, and prone to bouts of silence. But it’s also knowing that someone is legally required to laugh at your jokes and scratch that spot you can’t reach on your back.

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