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Expectations Vs. Reality Post-Wedding

Yes. We are talking about marriage today!

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A very lovely reader sent me a message in my Instagram DMs saying I should write about the realities of being married. I sat there thinking about this topic for a while after typing back “what a great topic”. It really is a great topic.

From before I could remember I wanted to be married. I didn’t really want to have kids, but I did want a husband. Girls are so funny like that. We know what we want. We may not know what we are feeling, but we know what we want. As I got older I remember asking a friend of mine, “is marriage a trap?”.

Expectations, hopes, and dreams can get tangled with reality if we are not careful. I remember my first boyfriend and how much pressure I put on him to be romantic, to be the reason I got up in the morning, to call me right away. Many times I think about how that could have been a big reason why that relationship ended.

Today is John and I’s fourth month anniversary. It feels so weird, because it was felt like we’ve been married forever! I can’t believe I did life without him. And four months is not a ton of time. Keep into consideration I am writing this as a newlywed and not as someone who has been married for twenty years. I would also love your input so PLEASE COMMENT BELOW <3 <3 <3


Expectations

  •  I thought John would love my goofy, sometimes crazy personality always. I mean he said that when we were dating so…
  • I imaged myself as a pastor’s wife who loved working with kids and helping my husband out.
  • We wouldn’t fight much the first month of marriage because we were so in love.

Reality

  • John had a hard time adjusting to how up and down I am. I am a girl.
  • I struggled with a lot of an identity crisis. I heard so many times people saying “we hired your husband, not you”. However, when my husband didn’t have leaders for church events I usually had to step in. It is an interesting thing, being a pastor’s wife. I am still not sure how to handle it.
  • The first month of marriage was hell. We would fight about dumb things that I can’t even remember now. I know I left our little 500 sqft. apartment three times to cool off. Something happened after that first month though. I think we had to adjust to living with someone else. Change is hard even if it is good.

There you have it. The only thing that I don’t think I was expecting was how much of an adjustment that first month would be. I also had no idea how to juggle being a pastor’s wife, which is something you won’t have to tackle your first year of being married. All in all, I don’t feel like marriage has been this huge let down for us. Notice I really didn’t have a ton of expectations.

If you are not married yet, can I suggest something to you? High expectations can be good, but unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to a relationship. What really helped me were these six things:

  1. Make sure you don’t have any doubts about the person you are going to marry. I knew that what I got with John was what I got. I had a huge “FAKE” radar and knew I was getting the real deal. My dad liked him too which was like a neon sign saying “go for it”.
  2. Live alone first. I did this and after living alone for two years you start to really appreciate someone else being there. Your expectations level out. When John and I got married John said something about “Hannah you’re not alone anymore”. I burst into tears. I was so thankful we were in this together now. Being on your own for a while can be a very healthy thing and help you appreciate others.
  3. Get married friends. Two years ago I worked really close with one of my closest friends during her first year of marriage. Although I wasn’t married she was really honest about marriage not being a bunch of bliss all the time. It really is just doing life with another person. She wasn’t my only married friend either. I was able to see from a couple of my friend’s marriages that there are no relationships that are the same.
  4. Find out you are enough for you. No one is going to complete you. I have a strong relationship with God and that helps me stay really grounded. No guy is going to define me. Not even my husband. My relationship with my Creator is what defines me. He created me unique and gifted. You really need to believe that before you walk down the aisle.
  5. All those dumb stupid breakups can actually be getting you ready for the real thing. Guys, I cannot tell you how much having failed relationships helped me not have unrealistic expectations for marriage. Guys and girls are soooo different. Learning differences and how to communicate well with the opposite sex happens when you go through some difficult relationships. I think that, because I was John’s first everything, he might have had more expectations than I did. I didn’t need anything crazy I was just so so so thankful to have married an amazing guy. So learn from your breakups ladies.
  6. Get some good marriage counseling. We had an amazing couple counseling us before we got married. They walked us through what to think about during the wedding and after. Things like expectations in the bedroom, how many kids do you want, who’s cleaning and who’s cooking, all need to be discussed before marriage. If you get those things on the table then there will not be as many fights post-wedding.

Can I tell you, marriage feels like the most natural thing in the world. I love coming home and knowing my best friend is here. Here are a few ways marriage has blown my expectations out of the water in a good way.

  • To have intimacy that can only happen when two people are totally committed to each other on such a deep level… there’s nothing like it.
  • That John had a switch that went off inside him. I call it the husband switch. He’s so quick to help me with little things, like taking the garbage out.
  • John loves being around me! He loves being with me and wants us to do everything together. I feel so wanted and loved.

I am a fan of marriage and I recommend it to everyone.

What were your expectations post the wedding dress and cake? Comment below!

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7 Comments

  • Reply Cindy January 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    iMarriage by Andy Stanley is a great series for marriage. YouTube it and let me know if you like it! 🙂 XO

    • Reply Hannah January 27, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Looking it up now!

  • Reply Ashlyn Ochoa January 25, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Hannah – I love this so much!! Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s important for us to talk about the really great truths & the really hard truths. Also, totally get the pastor’s wife thing. Cheering you and your hubby on!

    • Reply Hannah January 27, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      thanks so much Ashlyn! Yea the pastor’s wife thing is an entirely different beast! omgsh thank you for the support!

  • Reply Dana Pfledere January 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Love how honest you are and so excited that things are going well remember if you ever feel lonely in marriage 1.you need to communicate details of life .2stop doing activities apart from each other and 3.express love and need for each other .This has helped me over the 25+ years.

    • Reply Hannah January 27, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      that’s great advice : )

  • Reply Heidi August 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    This is great, Hannah! Thanks for being brave and real. When people ask me (married for 31 years) what advice I have for a good marriage I suggest two things:
    1. Often say, “You could be right!”
    2. If you win every fight, you are married to a loser!
    Keep going… sharing… and loving God!

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