Advice for Before, During, and After Marriage
A year ago (July 1, 2013) my husband, at the time we had been married for almost two years, moved out and left me. When he left it was bitter and cruel. I was angry and devastated. We had been fighting for what felt like an eternity and he had refused to go to marriage counseling (even though, I had been going by myself for 3 months). I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details but what I will do is give advice to women out there (and maybe men) who are going through the same things, who are thinking about getting married, or who are married.
1. Really, truly know the person you are going to marry. My ex-husband and I knew each other a whole whopping 4 months when he asked me to marry him. In retrospect I know I was insane for saying yes after such a little amount of time but I thought that I knew this man. So, please get to know the person popping the question.
2. Live together before you say “I do.” – Now, I was raised in a Southern family where this was not acceptable. I would of been a disgrace to my family if I had lived with a man before marrying. Southern people like to call that “living in sin”. And if you believe that it is living in sin as then don’t do it. But, I will say this…if I had lived with my ex-husband before we were married I would not have married him. Some people might think that is harsh but trust me it is not.
3. Look at the person’s family closely before you marry. The saying that you don’t just marry the person, you marry the family is so, so true. I wish I had really taken a good, hard look at my ex’s family before walking down the aisle. Looking back at his family I could of learned a lot about how he would be as a husband if I had just looked. So, take your love, rose-colored glasses off and really look at this family that you will now be apart of and ask, “Is this the family I want?”
4. “Don’t marry anybody you wouldn’t date, and don’t date anybody you wouldn’t marry.” – This saying comes from my Daddy. I heard this so many times through out my teenage dating years. I knew what it meant, but really never though that hard about it until I was in a marriage where I didn’t want to date the man I was married to. Again, might sound harsh but oh, if only you knew the things I had to go through. And ladies and men out there who haven’t married yet and are still dating don’t forget the last part of my Daddy’s saying. You might think early on in a relationship you shouldn’t be looking at someone so seriously but guess what? Life happens. Hard, cruel, cold life happens. Condoms break, birth control fails, people lie (about birth control or really anything else) and before you know it you are staring down at a baby. You, of course, don’t have to marry someone on account of having a baby but you will be apart of that persons life for not just 18 years but forever. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with that hot women/man you have been on 3 dates with? Think.
5. Wait to have children. This one is for people who are already engaged/married. This little nugget of advice came from my momma. I wanted to start having kiddos right away after getting married. It’s kind of a Southern thing. But my momma asked me to wait one year before I started to try. I listened, for the most part, and I am so glad I did. Before you have kids with your significant other be sure you know if this relationship/marriage is going to last. A lot of people give this same advice but saying savor a year or so of just the two of you being together. That is good and all but during that year take a look and make sure this is the real deal.
6. Get a good lawyer. If divorce looks like the only way to end the misery between the two of you go and see a lawyer. Shop around for the best rates but don’t skimp on someone who knows what they are doing. And before you move out, and maybe you are still trying to salvage the marriage, go see a lawyer. I did because my Daddy advised I should and I am glad I did because I learned important things about property and debt division. Like, in Oklahoma, whoever resides in the residence has control over that property unless an order is put in place before ya’ll split. Even if you have hope you can salvage you marriage don’t be stupid. Know your rights and see a lawyer. If divorce is inevitable, get good lawyer who knows what is entitled to you. If I had never seen a good lawyer I would not have known I was entitled to half my ex’s 401k. Lawyers may be perceived as evil but they are a necessary evil.
So, to sum everything up know the true person and their family before you marry. Live together, wait to have children, and don’t hesitate to get a good lawyer. I hope this helps someone and please comment with any advice you may have for before, during, and after marriage.
Live. Love. Learn. Teach.
P.S. Don’t feel ashamed about getting divorced. I was. I was terrified of what my Popa and family would think of me. But everyone was supportive and just wanted to see me happy. Stuff happens. Divorce happens. You live and learn and hopefully teach where someone doesn’t make the same mistakes as you.