Five Things No One Ever Tells You About Your Wedding

What over-the-moon brides-to-be (and their families) need to know for lasting happiness, for real

by Laura Doyle | Updated 07 Jul 2017 at 11:18 AM

In my favorite wedding picture, I’m wearing my fluffy white dress and trying unsuccessfully to pick up my tuxedoed husband as if to carry him across the threshold.

Clearly, I was no relationship expert.

Just a few years later, I had driven our marriage into a ditch. Lonely and hopeless, I nearly divorced my husband thinking I had married the wrong man.

But I was too embarrassed to divorce because everyone had been to our California wedding just a few years earlier — so in desperation I talked to women who had long, happy marriages. I found out the things that no one ever tells you but that every bride-to-be needs to know. I didn’t realize there were intimacy skills any woman could learn to make sure the relationship remained happy and longlasting.

Nor did I realize that our wedding day was and is a metaphor for the rest of the relationship — a microcosm of what is to come. Here are five things most brides don't know about their big day and should:

1.) Family and friends are truly generous. From cards with checks to pricey food processors to big contributions to the honeymoon registry — you’ll be blown away by how much everyone gives you. It might even be uncomfortable to see a fat check from the aunt who you know doesn’t have much herself, or the gift from the cousins you didn’t even invite to the wedding.

There’s nothing to do but receive their gifts graciously, of course, and that’s a great way to start your marriage. Good receivers have the best marriages.

Think of it as practice for smiling and saying only “thank you” when your husband buys you a handbag that’s way over budget — or takes you to the best restaurant in town on a regular Tuesday. You deserve all that great stuff, and people who love you want you to have the world. Being willing to receive from them happily makes them feel good and is also a gift.

2.) Your fiancé will not do things the way you would. Your spouse has a completely different point of view than you. That’s part of what makes marriage interesting.

It’s also something that can grate on your nerves when he doesn’t do things the right way — meaning your way.

You might be tempted to make helpful comments like, “Don’t forget to tell the guys to give their tuxes to your uncle to return.” But before you do, consider that “helpful” in wife language is “critical” in husband language.

I learned this the painful way by being so “helpful” my husband started avoiding me just a few years after our wedding. It wasn’t until I stopped “helping” him and started treating him as the competent, smart man I married that we got back to the important business of holding hands and laughing together.

Related: Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart Share the Secrets of a Happy Marriage

3.) Your guests are standing for your greatness. Everyone who loves the two of you will be witnessing and celebrating your sacred event. They’re not just bearing witness to your marriage — they’re on your side.

There’s nothing quite like experiencing all of them rooting for you. It feels amazing.

Related: Millennials Need More Examples of Strong Marriages

It took me a long time to realize that those guests were also crucial to the success of my marriage. When I tried to make my husband my sole source of emotional support, he felt smothered and overwhelmed, and I felt unsupported and miserable. (go to page 2 to continue reading)

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