When I asked for blog topics before writing this annual batch, I got a lot of great suggestions with almost no overlap at all. The one exception? Everyone wanted to know what I think about marriage.
I think that this comes from my history as a pickup artist, and a perceived incompatibility with the two. This is sort of funny to me because I think that getting into a great marriage with a great person is a very obvious end goal to pickup. Or maybe the confusion just comes from the fact that I live a pretty weird life. In which case: fair enough.
I’m still very happily married. On our anniversary I realized that I was even happier to be married than I was on our wedding day. Maybe that’s because you don’t really understand if or how your life will be changed once you get married, but once you settle in and proactively make it a good marriage, you get to feel the benefits.
Marriage, or even relationships, seem to be a much bigger chore and more difficult to most people than they feel to me. We’ve had exactly one argument ever that I can remember (though it did resurface again a few months later before being totally resolved). Once in a while one of us raises some concern or issue and we have a “difficult conversation”, but I can’t think of any where both of us didn’t leave feeling better and glad we had the conversation.
She deserves about 99% of the credit on that one, because she always brings things up that are bothering her or that she thinks are bothering me, and does it super early before it’s actually a problem, and in a very constructive way that invites resolution.
We spend a lot of time together, a lot of time apart, and as we go through life together we find more things that we like to do together. This year we went skiing together and can’t wait to do it regularly next year, and we also strangely got into growing vegetables in our house. We’ve had more opportunities to travel together, which I think has been a big improvement for both of us.
I don’t think that there’s anything I wish I knew before marriage that I didn’t know. We knew that we had similar principles, felt similarly about money, were both very high integrity people, and were both growth-oriented. Our communication was and remains good, and it feels like we’re generally on the same page on just about everything except for pets (she wants a dog). We’ve learned a lot about each other, but since we understand each others’ principles, nothing is particularly shocking.
Not that I think I’m in a position of great expertise on the subject, but if I were to offer advice for people considering marriage, I’d say a few things. First, I’d say to make sure that you have a harmonious relationship with almost no arguments. I can’t imagine how a good marriage would grow from a relationship with frequent arguments.
I don’t think that marriage makes things more difficult, but it doesn’t magically solve problems either. If you have things you need to work out, do it before getting married. Don’t assume that getting married will solve those things.
Assume that both of you will change, and make sure you’re willing to go along with that process and aren’t assuming you’re going to be living with a current snapshot of your spouse-to-be forever. Along those lines, make sure that your principles are as close as possible because the changes will follow them. I think a lot of hobbies, lifestyle preferences, and other such issues are often focused on, when they will change but principles probably won’t.
The biggest benefit to being married is that it makes it easy to make long term plans and investments in each other. As someone who likes planning and thinking long term, and now has a spouse who likes the same, this has been very gratifying. Other than that, I don’t feel like things are much different than when we were dating.
I’d focus mostly on having a good relationship, because that’s a pre-requisite for having a good marriage. The reason I wanted to get married was because my wife is the first person I ever dated where I couldn’t imagine how we would ever possibly break up. If you feel that way about your significant other, maybe you ought to get married too.
Photo is a couple of lizards I saw in Mexico. I don’t post photos or information about my wife because it seems smart to have some privacy when your life is so public.