I don’t know how it is possible, but March 21st will mark the 10th anniversary of the day I married my favorite person. I can admit that I went into marriage thinking I pretty much had this wife thing in the bag. We had been together for two years before we tied the knot, and we were just as giddy and ridiculous as we were on our first date. We rarely argued, we were very kind to each other, and our communication skills were on point. Despite the hundreds of insecurities I had about myself as a 20-year-old woman, my confidence in the role of a wife was not among them. How cute. As Alanis Morissette says, “Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you…”
I quickly realized I had a lot to learn about what it meant to be someone’s wife. Without further ado, here are 10 little nuggets of simple advice I wish I could have told myself when I was so young, naive, and full of energy:
- You really need to practice cooking a few simple dishes that you enjoy. Not because your husband expects it of you, but because you are either going to spend a fortune going out to eat or starve to death. You will realize your kitchen skills are not up to par when you discover that your version of “home cooking” is eating a microwaved baked potato in a mixing bowl covered with canned chili. When we really wanted to go for the romance factor, we would share out of the same giant bowl. This is literally the only thing we made at home for the first year of our marriage.
- You need to buy some cute, sensible pajamas. You seem to really struggle to find a balance between uncomfortable lacy things and giant stained hobo shirts with granny panties. You will feel better about yourself, especially after you start having babies and feel like you spend days on end in spit-up covered pjs. Don’t completely give up on the lace, though.
- Don’t buy that brand new car. It feels nice to drive off the lot in a brand new car, but it immediately depreciates and you will have negative equity when you need to get a mom mobile sooner than you expect. Buy used. On that note, oil changes aren’t optional. Bless my little heart.
- It is healthy to have your own interests. I know you are totally smitten and want to spend every waking moment together, but you both need time to be individuals. It won’t make you grow apart; in fact it will strengthen your relationship. You are a better wife when you know yourself.
- There are some weird quirks he has, and the sooner you accept them, the happier everyone will be. He is going to leave the shower curtain open when he is done showering. He will become a grouchy grandpa if the sheets get rumpled. He will need to know exactly where the remotes are even when you aren’t using them or he will drop everything to go on an intense search for them. He will almost always wait until the dinner you put a lot of effort into is cold because he doesn’t like hot food. These things will not change.
- Honey, you have some weird quirks too. The sooner you can laugh at yourself, the happier everyone will be. You will find flaws in yourself that you didn’t realize were there before, but it is part of your charm. You will never be able to find two matching shoes. You will perpetually have a messy vehicle. You will lose your hairbrush every day for some reason. You will stay up until 4am investigating true crime and then complain that you’re tired the next day. You aren’t the easiest person to live with, but don’t give up trying to get it together. I don’t have a solution for this yet as I am still struggling here.
- Share the burden of handling finances. When it is one person’s job, it leaves too much room for error and unnecessary stress. Don’t allow one of you to become the dream crusher when you have to say no to something fun because it is mortgage week. You both need to know where you stand at all times.
- You can’t imagine it now, but there will come a day when you have to schedule time together. It is important to set aside time for date night and for travel. When you have kids, you can easily go months without getting any intentional time together. The kids are growing every day, and they will be out of your home living their own lives before you know it. You and your husband are in this thing for the long haul though, and when the kids are old enough to have their own social lives, you don’t want to be left at home with a stranger. Invest the time now, even if it is an at-home date after the little ones are sleeping.
- Don’t let your self-worth be dictated by your husband’s happiness. He loves you like crazy, but if he is ill because he had a tough week at work, that doesn’t have anything to do with you failing to make him happy. He has his own struggles, and you have yours. Rest in the fact that you are complete on your own without anyone else’s permission or approval.
- You better start using moisturizer now. 30 sneaks up on you, sis.