I Dated My Husband For 5 Years & I Still Wasn’t Prepared For The Realities Of Marriage

I’ve been married for close to three months now, and that’s long enough to tell you that dating and marriage are two very different relationships. We were together for almost five years before tying the knot, so we figured we had relationships figured out pretty well. We were wrong.

  1. Everyone asks about kids. I got married when I was 22, so I thought I had plenty of blissful married time before I got bombarded with the dreaded kids question. The joke was on me because I’m sure the topic came up at least once during the wedding and as soon as we got back from the honeymoon. When we finally let slip that we weren’t sure we wanted kids, we got quite the lecture. It’s annoying, to say the least.
  2. His family isn’t just his anymore. Throughout the dating stage, you get so used to saying things like “my family” and “your family,” but as soon as you’re married, you’re expected to call his parents Mom and Dad. Spending serious time with each other’s family and trying to fit into the family mold while you’re visiting becomes more important and sometimes more frustrating.
  3. Incorporating his friend group into our lives is… challenging. When you’re just dating, it’s easy to have separate friends that you spend time with before coming back together for one-on-one dates. Back then, he spent most of his time with friends and then made time to see me and I liked it that way. Now that we’re married, he’s with me a lot but often wants to invite his friends along. It’s hard to deal with his split attention, especially since I don’t really love his friends.
  4. It’s hard to make mutual friends. I always loved the idea of having “couple friends” to hang out with and talk about married life. In reality, it’s really tough to find a couple we both like, so that dream has kinda come crashing down.
  5. I’m accountable to another person pretty much 24/7. Being married is way better than living with your parents and having curfew and interrogations, but there’s an understood agreement that one partner can’t just run off without saying anything to the other. If I want to hang out with friends, I need to let my husband know and vice versa, and while there’s no hard curfew, I definitely can’t just go out until 3 a.m. partying.
  6. We have to be intentional about going on dates. While we were dating, we went out to eat and went on walks and out to the movies. Now that we’re married, we’re always together, so it can be easy to forget to intentionally spend time enjoying being together. That doesn’t mean we can’t just chill on the couch sometimes, but to keep things from getting stale, we do have to make more of an effort.
  7. Common interests become a whole lot more important. Just going to a movie isn’t the ideal date once you’re married. We try to find things that are really fun and different than everyday life, but when I love hiking and my husband hates being away from his computer too long, we have to get creative with ideas of what to do together. Thank goodness for card games.
  8. We actually have to eat the same thing, like, all the time. Once you’re living with someone, you have to share all your meals (or at least you should since it’s weird/rude otherwise). Sure, the occasional night out gives us some choice, but if I’m craving lasagna for dinner and my husband really wants to make hamburgers, one of us is going to have to cave.
  9. We also have to live in the same house. Well, duh, I know, but I somehow forgot about some of the implications that come with living with a partner full-time. We have to agree on things like paint color, what kind of plates we want, and what color bed sheets we prefer. There are a lot of details, which means a lot of potential for disagreements.
  10. Money is a lot messier. When we were dating, I was thrilled to accept a $100 meal for a fancy date. Once we got married and the $100 was also coming from my bank account, things changed a little. When you’re dating, you don’t realize how much money your boyfriend is spending on video games and he doesn’t know how much you’re spending on makeup or coffee. In marriage, the money belongs to you both, so you have to be a lot more transparent and learn to budget. We’ve managed to do so successfully, but it’s taken us a bit of trial and error to get here.
Cailey Johanna is a writer, translator, and editor. She grew up across Mexico and the United States, and writes in English and Spanish and sometimes a mix of the two. When not buried in words, she loves searching for beautiful things, like God, cacti, and that weird little fish called an axolotl.