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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting Married

Let’s have a real conversation about marriage! As a wife and couples counselor, I’ve debunked myths and gathered insights from various relationships. Here are five crucial lessons for navigating this unpredictable terrain:

 

1. Attraction is Deceptive

Don’t trust your attraction! Attraction is a double-edged sword – a force capable of both nurturing and recreating negative patterns. It’s crucial to recognize that attraction alone is not a guarantee of a healthy relationship and there’s often much more than meets the eye. As a couples counselor, I’ve come to understand that attraction is tricky and it can lead you astray. It often stems from wanting to heal unresolved childhood stuff rather than real compatibility.

Ahhhhh!!!!  I know, it’s so confusing. If you can’t trust attraction, what can you trust? Here’s the good news…if you and your partner know and understand that it’s natural for relationships to bring up past traumas, then, and only then, can you address these wounds together and heal each other’s unmet needs.

If you both have a reasonable amount of awareness and emotional intelligence, you can start to tell the difference between genuine connection and the shadow of unresolved wounds. Lacking emotional intelligence? Run, don’t walk, to a qualified marriage counselor who can help you see how these patterns are showing up in your relationship.

2. The Perfect Partner Doesn’t Exist

Stop your FOMO! In a world that preaches not to settle, we’ve become accustomed to expecting that the picture-perfect person is just one swipe away if we only manifest and have patience. This mindset keeps up swiping, searching, and stuck in loneliness.

While I certainly believe that you deserve the best, I want you to know that it’s ok to settle. I need you to know that great relationships don’t walk through the door, they are grown and when you decide to get married, there WILL be things you will settle on. There WILL be things that are less than ideal. It’s when you take those qualities and work through them, that you start to build the perfect relationship.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no perfect partner or flawless relationship waiting to be discovered. Instead, a successful marriage is a product of continuous growth and intentional effort. Understanding this concept allows you to approach your relationship with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to evolve. Embrace the idea that the challenges you face are opportunities to strengthen your bond.

3. Love is a Verb – An Ongoing Process

Ah, the illusion of effortless love! Behind every seemingly perfect couple lies a truth: great relationships are built on intentional actions and continuous commitment. Behind closed doors, I can guarantee, they’ve put in the work!

It’s easy to look at seemingly perfect couples and assume that they’ve stumbled upon an effortless connection. However, the truth is that love is no fairy tale; it’s a daily task. It takes effort, actions, and unwavering commitment. Don’t fall for the illusion that this came easy or that they’re just lucky.

Love is a verb – it’s an action and it requires you to sail through smooth and rough waters. The perfect couple you admire has faced challenges, endured hardships, and remained dedicated to the ongoing process. They’ve likely gotten creative, compromised, and looked at their own shit…I mean, taken ownership and accountability for their own stuff. Embrace the notion that love is an active choice, and a great relationship is a journey, not a destination.

4. You WILL fall out of love

In the romanticized narrative of love, couples are expected to be madly in love at all times. We’re supposed to always make each other a priority. We’re supposed to want to have make-up sex after we’ve had our feelings hurt. We’re supposed to be best friends. However, the reality is that there are moments when you lose your way and feel disconnected from your partner. There are moments when you want nothing to do with your partner. This is okay! It’s essential to understand that these fluctuations are natural in the ebb and flow of any long-term relationship.

Accepting that you won’t always be in love allows you to approach these phases with grace and understanding. Instead of panicking during moments of emotional distance, view them as opportunities for personal and relational growth. It’s through navigating these challenges that you deepen your connection and rediscover the love that may momentarily seem elusive.

5. It’s Okay to Hurt Your Partner’s Feelings

Let’s be real – conflicts happen. Healthy relationships are built on the constant cycle of connection, disconnection and repair. And it’s okay to hurt each other’s feelings. It’s okay to let them know when something doesn’t feel good for you…but do it with respect. No judging, no criticizing. Argue, but make it a tool for growth, not destruction. It’s how you learn about each other and strengthen your bond.

Arguing, when done respectfully, can be a pathway to understanding and connection. Speak your mind, share your emotions, but do it with the intention of fostering growth and understanding. Learning to navigate disagreements constructively strengthens the foundation of your relationship, paving the way for a deeper connection based on authenticity and mutual respect.

 

The journey of marriage is an ongoing exploration, a dance through the highs and lows of life. Embrace the imperfections, navigate the storms, and remember that the most resilient relationships are those that evolve through intentional effort and continuous growth.

In this journey with bumps, waves, and unexpected storms, if you find yourself in need of a compass or a nudge in the right direction, Knot Counseling is here. Our marriage counselors speak plain language, no fluff – just practical advice to help yo

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