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Toben

Thanks for putting this post up Joanne. I can't wait to hear what your readers have to say. My book is really coming along and adding in these sorts of comments will be a great help to readers out there who may think that they are the only one with a particular thought or concern. You ROCK!

Lyndsey from Louisiana

First of all, Joanne, I LOVE your blog! You inspire me! I'm single, and I probably overthink things I hope I know before getting engaged. Ha! Some things that cross my mind are, like you mentioned, the family of origin differences, ways you relate to God, opinion on the way money is handled and distribution of home responsibilites, how stressful planning a wedding is and how it affects the relationship. Be prepared for the difference in dating and married behavior. I would love to help Toben with any other thoughts.

Dawn W

Hi Joanne and Toben!

First, I wish that I'd known how past relationships could affect our marriage. I won't put details in such a public forum - ask by email if you'd like.

Not an item in the category of "wish I'd known" but rather "glad I was told" -

My dad sat both of us down (separately) and talked to us about the need to be each other's best friend - my hubby over the girl friends, and me to my hubby over the guys. He told us about how it took him years to understand that and that there were things early on that he shared "with the guys" that should have be shared with my mom. I'm afraid I'm not wording this very well, sorry.

My husband's parents divorced when he was a young teen due to his father's infidelity. He always says he learned how to be a good husband and have a good marriage by NOT doing what his parents did. Sad but true.

FYI... my parents have been married 45 years this summer, and my hubby and I have been married 18 years this summer.

Angie Platten

Joanna, I'm assuming I can leave a comment here! Anyway, I'm not single but have been married 22+ years. The first and foremost thing I wish I'd known and is always my advise to those who are single, is find out what expectations are in your roles. A lot of assumptions were made, in our case, and it was a rude awakening after being married for several months and realizing that wow, things are going to be drastically different than what I thought and may never change... and mostly haven't. You find yourself having to accept things as they are. Secondly, I would say not to marry until you have a strong sense of yourself and find someone the same. It's much easier to live with someone if you are getting a partner who is true to themselves. Yes, we all change and grow but a strong core of knowing who you are in the beginning would sure make things more enjoyable! I think people would be less likely to try to change their spouse if they looked hard at the other person and knew what makes them tick so you know who you are really marrying and can accept them for who they are... and vice versa, of course!

linda thompson

Years after Randy and I were married, I believe it was Bill Thrall taught that the commitment of marriage starts at your engagement.
I wished I had known that before we got engaged, because the second we got engaged our relationship changed dramatically. I instantly felt secure, loved, trusted and peaceful... things I did not feel prior to getting engaged. I was so surprised, because those were things I thought would kick in more when we married.
We were engaged for 6 months... and the 6 months we dated were dramatically different from our 6 month engagement.

Sara

I wish we had put God first in our lives rather than "living" the way we wanted to. I also wish we some financial direction before we got married. We each have a different way of dealing with money. By the grace of God we have a wonderful marriage (9 years!).
-Sara
Charleston, South Carolina

Holly Smith

Financially, I wish I had been better prepared for what it would be like to pay all the bills and such--my parents had been paying for everything. Little did I know that quite a few of the dates and gifts and even engagement ring were still on credit cards. So when we married, we began in debt. That has been a struggle for us all our almost 17 years (but we are getting better at it with the Lord's help!)

I can only think of one. Is that ok?

Praying for your book!
Praying for your family!
holly

Heidi

I truly wish I had known how express my needs and desires better...emotionally, spiritually, & physically. I was often a mess and then I felt I had to "put on the good Christian wife" face and buck it up. So I'd push junky feelings down and do a slow burn until things just "blew!" I truly wish we had invested more time in learning how to express and receive each other's love language and PRAYING TOGETHER DAILY!!! Whew...things I'm still learning...

Amanda

A few things I wish I had known? How God chose my mate for me, long before he and I knew about each other... (thats pretty powerful stuff to a young girl) How the marriage was going to be far more important then the wedding.
And how important it is to get married to someone who is a believer...
I waited 3 years for my engagement ring...and by that time it was more about just BEING engaged then it was about *spending the rest of my life with someone*
When you are in a relationship and Jesus isn't at the center of it, priorities are skewed.

Hum.
Me thinks I am off track. Off well. Aren't authors good editors?? ;)

God bless and good luck-
Amanda
Minnesota

Stephanie

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but hopefully it will help. One of the major adjustments for us, was that we had both lived our whole lives making our own decisions. All of a sudden, before making a decision, we had to consult our spouse. Obviously this applies to the bigger decisions, but everything from what color to paint the bedroom, mayo or miracle whip, and whether or not to use fabric softener. :) In most cases, it wasn't anything big, but just adding that second layer of approval to a lot of our decisions made it rough in the begining and almost feeling that we had lost a bit of our personal freedom.

Also, I will echo everyone else with the family comnments. I married someone from a strong Latino background. It is hard enough to grow together when you have two people that came from similar cultures or similar backgrounds. Then to mix in the fact that we had been raised in two very different cultures, and came from extremely different backgrounds and family strucures, made for a lot of "excitement".

We are happily married, but these were some of the things that we most struggled with and continue to work on.

Stephanie, Queen Creek, AZ

Stephanie

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but hopefully it will help. One of the major adjustments for us, was that we had both lived our whole lives making our own decisions. All of a sudden, before making a decision, we had to consult our spouse. Obviously this applies to the bigger decisions, but everything from what color to paint the bedroom, mayo or miracle whip, and whether or not to use fabric softener. :) In most cases, it wasn't anything big, but just adding that second layer of approval to a lot of our decisions made it rough in the begining and almost feeling that we had lost a bit of our personal freedom.

Also, I will echo everyone else with the family comnments. I married someone from a strong Latino background. It is hard enough to grow together when you have two people that came from similar cultures or similar backgrounds. Then to mix in the fact that we had been raised in two very different cultures, and came from extremely different backgrounds and family strucures, made for a lot of "excitement".

We are happily married, but these were some of the things that we most struggled with and continue to work on.

Stephanie, Queen Creek, AZ

Barbara Watkins

The first thing that comes to mind is that it was such a shock to discover, later on after marriage, that my husband's family never acknowledged any holiday in any way during his life at home. After 38 years of marriage my hubby still struggles to try to go along or get along with doing at least a little bit of something for the kids and I on at least the main holidays, Christmas and birthdays.
Barbara in Texas

katie

this is katie in jupiter, fl.
as far as being ENGAGED and not yet married, i think the toughest thing (that i wasn't prepared for) was how hard it would be to hold out physically for the wedding. i wish i would've been warned so that i could've better prepared myself.

Puva

Hello Joanne and Toben!

I'm single =D
I would like to know whether the guy I'm going to be engaged to is the guy who will love me for who I am and keep me happy! I would like to know how our future is going to be. For me, I want to have a family as well as a job. So I would like to see whether we can have these when we're engaged (and married). I would like to know how we're going to handle household matters such as money matters and maybe even household chores!
Well, this is what I have for now. You're most welcome to email me! I'd like to help wherever possible :)

Oh, I'm from Singapore.

Puva

Oh and um, my first name is Puvaneswary. Everyone calls me Puva though. Yeah.

Meredith

Meredith New Jersey
The only thing that came to mind is I wish I had known how he was raised. Meaning I just thought everyone was raised the way I was. Silly I know. I could fully take care of myself, I was totally self sufficient prior to marriage. I got married and found out that I had to teach my husband how to crack an egg. He came from an old school background where the woman did everything in the home. I came from a family that broke everything up in to a team activity. Sunday morning breakfast we all made it together. We will be married for 12 years this year and I can say that I could never have been prepared for what I have experienced in marriage. We made all kinds of plans for example children. It was discussed and agreed upon. Little did we know then that we would not be able to have children. That is just one example. I really do not think that knowing anything more then I did would have drastically changed our marriage. God had a hand in it all. All kinds of things were found out later, illness, mental illness, financial beliefs. The one thing we agreed upon when we got engaged was for better or for worse. No matter what.Whew that sure is a long comment for a lurker.

Heather

Hi Joanne,
I wish I would have known how crazy people get when you mention the word wedding. My fiance and I had dated for a very long time and we wanted our wedding to be a low-key fun party. Not a planned event with an MC and a grand entrance and a first dance kind of day. I think there's a lot of people that think they know how YOUR wedding should be and try to inflict their opinions as fact. (As do countless magazines and websites.) Your wedding day should be yours, decided between the two of you. Just because the wedding day isn't how other people think it should be does not reflect on the marriage it's creating. The day comes and goes and the two people need to be able to make their decisions as a couple and the wedding is a good place to start. I wish I could have been better prepared for the outrageous demands the people around you can place on your shoulders at a time when all you need is for somebody to listen.
Best,
Heather

Carrie  in Nebraska

2 things we wish we'd known before we got married (14 years this year!):

1. Choose a mate with the same religion, whose family is the same religion as your own. Christian beliefs vary so much!

2. Financial issues have been and still are a struggle in our home. I would say that I still haven't accepted responsibility for this area of our lives, and I'm afraid my husband suffers for it.

Jessica

I wish I would have known what it would really be like be married to a farmer. To have kids. Quit my job. The financial considerations that go into being a farm family. Whew!

I just realized I read & own Happily Ever After! It was one of our favorite pre-wedding books we read together. I had no clue that all this time I've been reading your blog on a 'personal' basis, you're sitting on my bookshelf all published and famous and stuff!

Dana D @ BoysMyJoys

I honestly have two answers.

I have often half-jokingly, half-seriously told my husband that it is a good thing I didn't know his family very well when I married him! If I would have known them very well, I probably would not have married him! And yes, I know how bad that sounds :( My husband has never been very close to his parents and sister, so I wasn't around them often before we married. I just assumed that they were a lot like him, because they were family after all. I was wrong! Perhaps had we gone on a family trip together, or gotten together for more than an occassional dinner, I might would have understood his family's dynamic a little better before we married! Your first year of marriage is hard enough, without adding unexpected drama to the mix. So, I wish I would have understood how important it is to know the family dynamics of the family you're about to marry into!

The second thing I wish I would have known before we married, was the Biblical design of husbands and wives. It was years into our marriage before I discovered the book "Created to be His Helpmeet". As I read each chapter, it felt as if lightbulbs were being turned on in my brain! I call it my 'wife Bible' now! Even my husband noticed a difference in me and in our relationship as I began to correct the mistakes I was making! It's amazing the fights and struggles that can be avoided when you choose to simply honor God's design for marriage! Ignorance was not bliss!

Erin

I wish I would have known how much of a heavy drinker my soon to be husband was. He hid his drinking from me while we were dating and engaged and then we were married and moved into our home together I suddenly realized the man he became at night. I my self was not without flaw for I have Bipolar disorder, but I felt he hid half of himself from me and the first 2 year of our marriage were very difficult. Now sober, and 2 little ones later our marriage is much stronger and I love him just as much as the day we were married.

Good luck with your book! I hope these comments help: )

Erin in Arvada, CO

Rachel

I wish that we had learned how to fight "fair" before we got married. We're still trying to learn that! :)

I'm in Centennial (Littleton), CO

:)

Megan Jones

Hey, my name is Megan and i'm Single.

I would first off like to know if he is a Christian. It's hard enough trying to make a relationship work in the world these days, let alone if you put another obstacle in your way. I also would like to know about his family. Family is a big deal to me and I would also like to have a large family so it's important to know in the beginning if we are on the same page..

I also want to know that we can trust eachother. I think honesty is the most important and no matter how bad something sounds I wanna know from him before I find out from any one else.

I'd be happy to hear from ya and talk! Good luck with the book! can't wait for it!

Meg

Tara

I wished I would have known how much saving early on would impact our lives later. We are seeing some things that could have been avoided had we thought ahead three years to having kids and being with one income. Also, how to express myself to my husband. Even though he is my best friend, it took me a while to open up to him about everything in my life.

Also, some of the things I see that other friends needed to have learned early (I hope that doesn't sound condesending)...spend less time with your individual friends and more with your spouse, never embarrass your spouse in public (even if you are joking), never punish your spouse because of something they did or didn't do. I was given advice for all three of these issues and see how it could have changed marriages of friends had they been given this advice during their engagement.

Tara in Northwest Florida

Amy McLean

Brad and I were pretty sure we were going to get married. We enrolled in some serious one on two premarital sessions with a private counselor. We went through 4 sessions ( that included several personality tests--myers/briggs and others-- and other general mental wellness test) before he popped the question to me. We then continued with 4 more sessions. After 12 years of marriage and two kids, that is the best advice I could give--take some premarial classes or conseling before the engagement. Have a professional ask the hard questions and practice communication before you even start the marriage. We were given tools to fight fair, and how to communicate with inlaws, how to be respectful..many of the issues I have read in the comments posted were covered in our counseling sessions. I sort of felt like we were given the cliff notes for marriage before we started. I know it has saved us from a lot.

Kelly

I'm single and would be happy to talk about this more!

One thing that comes to mind at the moment, however, is that I want to know what things are going to be like down the road: Sure, he might seem great when we first get to know each other, but what is he going to be like five years from now, and how is he going to handle all the things that life throws at him?

Kelly, Irvine, CA

Helen

I wish I realized the depth of what people meant when they gave me advice...for example...you don't just marry the person, you marry the family...the family of origin comes into play SO much...I just had no idea. It matters from thoughts about money, to child discipline, to the roles of husband and wife, to even recreation, the list goes on and on... When our pastor told us that 50 percent of all couples that marry while in graduate school divorce...I wish I realized how difficult it would be to begin a marriage in graduate school...yet having that huge challenge in our lives has proven to have been invaluable for other struggles that would come along the way...
One thing I did pay attention to was the devotional life of my intended...it was strong and consistent...not just for show...we all have our ebbs and flows but if a person has developed the discipline and longing to be with the Lord...it will remain...always.

Those are a few things I wish I had known but being just a month shy of 22 years, I know that we all will only know in part the huge mystery of marriage and clinging to the counsel and comfort of the Lord is the only way to continually cement a marriage that will last and one that has more joy than strife.

Bless you in this endeavor!

Helen

tammy

Oh my...well we were 18 and 19 when we got married so we have grown up together and had to learn A LOT!

I wish we would have known to set up who does what chores! It took us a few years to fall into who's role was who's but afterwards it made household chores/errands SO much easier when each person knew what was expected of them! Like my husband took on the dishes but I took on the laundry, etc. We did a lot of unnecessary fighting until we got those roles established!

Then, I wish someone would have recommended to us to each keep our own space somehow, somewhere. Even though we are still tight on space, my husband has his bookshelves and I have my table. It's also somewhere that the kids are not allowed to get into!

I wish we would have been told that when we have a fight or arguement to take a break! The only thing anyone told us was not to go to bed angry. That, at least for us, was the WORST advice ever!! Sometimes we are both so angry or passionate about a subject we actually do need to go to bed angry..and sometimes even in seperate rooms! We usually wake up in the morning with a clear head to talk through the issue. Then again, sometimes it takes through the next day too. Either way, now that we know we are "allowed" to take that break, someone can just say they need it and the other person respects it.

Maybe it was just a getting married so young thing...but I wish I would have known how much we were going to change! We really have almost no common interests at this point! But we respect the other persons opinions and therefore we remain best friends. I wish I would have known we were going to have times when we weren't best friends though too, because that definitely happened for awhile!

Know that you can never take the place of your spouses parent. My mother in law and I butted heads for years, and at first I expected my husband to side with me. He always stayed neutral, which now I really respect. And after I had my own children, I understood a lot better where she was always coming from. You are not marrying one person...you are marrying their entire family!

Wow, sorry for the novel, lol! Good luck with your book Toben!

tammy

Oops, sorry! The last comment was mine! :) My first name is Tammy and I'm from Ohio.

Mama Bear

Yaay delurking!

I'll have been married 3 years this July and we were separated for about 4 months after 1 year of married life. We're obviously back together again and have a wonderful 9 month old baby.

I wish I had known exactly how attached my husband is to his mother - we're working on resolving our mother in law issues (he loves my parents!), but it's an ongoing uphill climb of gently untying those apron strings and helping my husband understand that WE are a little family now, and as a family, we can handle most any situation or decision that comes our way WITHOUT my husband speed dialing his Mom.

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