물론 당신은 알고 있을 것이다. 결혼은 결코 로맨틱한 축제가 아니라는 것을. 화려한 풍선과 아름다운 드레스가 주는 환상은 결혼식을 마치는 동시에 끝나기 마련이다. 그리고, '현실적인 문제'들에 직면하게 된다.
결혼을 결정하기 전, 반드시 아래 사항들을 고려하자. 결혼을 절대 당신을 신데렐라나 줄리아 로버츠로 만들어주지 않는다.
1. 매일 같은 사람과 먹고, 자고, 생활할 준비가 되어 있는가?
'검은 머리 파뿌리 될 때까지' 함께 하라는 문구는 결혼식에서는 감동적으로 들릴 것이다. 그러나 신혼시절이 지난 후, 당신은 어느 날 아침 깨어나 옆자리에 잠든 배우자를 보며 한숨을 쉴지 모른다. 그가 좋은 성격을 가졌는지, 여전히 다정한지 등은 별개의 문제다. 중요한 것은 '늘 똑같은 그'와 살아간다는 사실이 상상 이상으로 힘들어질 수 있다는 것이다. 아주 사소한 버릇이나 말투 등이 한순간 참을 수 없게 느껴지기도 한다.
2. 두 사람이 함께 사는데, 해야 할 일은 3배가 된다.
결혼은 아주 손이 많이 가는 작업이다. 두 사람이 모여 사니, 각자 한사람 몫의 역할만 하면 된다고 여기지만, 어찌된 일인지 해야할 일은 세 사람분이 된다. 아내는 남편이 변기를 내려놓지 않아 일일이 화장실을 살펴야 하는 것에 불만을 느끼고, 남편은 아내의 지출 목록을 보며 갸우뚱 고개를 내젓곤 한다. 특히, 남편이 가사를 아내에게만 전담시킬 경우(아내 스스로 원해서가 아니었을 때), 예외없이 문제가 발생한다.
3. '멋진 결혼생활'은 '다툼 없는 결혼생활'을 의미하지 않는다.
'부부싸움'이란 말에 거부감을 느끼는 사람들이 많지만, 실제로 부부간의 사소한 말다툼들은 오히려 결혼생활에 도움이 되는 경우가 많다. 서로에게 관심이 있고, 상대가 변화하길 바라고, 자신이 원하는 바를 밝힐 때 다툼이 일어난다. 즉, 가벼운 부부싸움은 두 사람이 서로 맞춰가며 함께 살아가기 위한 과정에 포함된다. 서로에게 아무 것도 바라지 않게 될 때, 다툼도 대화도 없는 상태가 가장 위험하다.
4. '내 방식'을 고집해서는 안 된다. '함께 할 수 있는 방식'을 만드는 것이 중요하다.
내가 좋아하는 방식으로 방 꾸미기, 내가 좋아하는 레스토랑으로 가기, 내가 원하는 방식으로 옷입기...물론, 당신의 방식이 더 나은 것일 수 있다. 그러나, 당신이 '내 방식'을 고집하는 동안, 상대방은 자신의 의견을 접어야 한다는 사실을 기억하자. 내가 더 잘 아니까, 내가 더 많이 해봤으니까라는 주장은 결혼에서는 통하지 않는다. 나와 그의 중간지점을 찾아 서로 타협하고, 조금씩 양보하는 방법을 찾는 것이 가장 '좋은' 방식이다.
5. 상대방을 바꿀 수 있다고 생각하지 말라. 내가 바꿀 수 있는 건 나 자신 뿐이다.
결혼 후 조금씩 배우자의 결점이 눈에 들어오기 시작한다. 양말을 돌돌 말아놓는 버릇, 코를 고는 습관에서부터 곧잘 친구들을 집으로 데려오는 사교적인 성격 등 시시콜콜한 부분들이 거슬리기 마련이다. 처음에는 배우자의 '나쁜 버릇'을 고치려 들 것이다. 잔소리도 하고, 충고도 하고, 화를 내기도 한다. 하지만, 시간이 흐르면서 억지로 그를 바꾸려 애쓰기보다 그의 단점을 바라보는 나 자신의 태도를 바꾸는 편이 더 쉽다는 사실을 알게 될 것이다.
결혼은 종착역이 아니라, 긴 여행을 떠나는 출발지다. 오랜 여행동안 서로의 모습을 너그러이 바라볼 수 있는 의지와 인내, 신뢰가 무엇보다 중요하다.
출처: Things No One Tells You About Marriage
1. You will look at the person lying next to you and wonder, Is this it? Forever?
When you get married, you think that as long as you pick the right guy -- your soul mate -- you'll be happy together until death do you part. Then you wake up one day and realize that no matter how great he is, he doesn't make you happy every moment of every day. In fact, some days you might wonder why you were in such a hurry to get married in the first place. You think to yourself, "This is so not what I signed up for."
Actually, it is. You just didn't realize it the day you and your guy were cramming wedding cake into each other's faces, clinking champagne glasses, and dancing the Electric Slide. Back then you had no idea that "for better and for worse" doesn't kick in only when life hands you a tragedy. Your relationship mettle is, in fact, most tested on a daily basis, when the utter sameness of day-in/day-out togetherness can sometimes make you want to run for the hills. That's when the disappointment sneaks in, and maybe even a palpable sense of loneliness and grief. It's not him. It's just you, letting go of that sugarcoated fantasy of marriage that danced in your eyes the day you and your beloved posed in all those soft-focus wedding photos. You're learning that marriage isn't a destination; it's a journey filled with equal parts excitement and tedium.
Waking up from a good dream to face the harsh morning daylight may not seem like a reason to celebrate. But trust me, it is. Because once you let go of all the hokey stories of eternal bliss, you find that the reality of marriage is far richer and more rewarding than you ever could have guessed. Hard, yes. Frustrating, yes. But full of its own powerful, quiet enchantments just the same, and that's better than any fairy tale.
2. You'll work harder than you ever imagined.
Early on, when people say, "Marriage takes work," you assume "work" means being patient when he forgets to put down the toilet seat. In your naivete, you think that you will struggle to accommodate some annoying habit, like persistent knuckle cracking or flatulence.
If only it were that easy. Human beings, you may have noticed, are not simple creatures. Your man has mysterious, unplumbed depths -- and from where he sits, you're pretty complicated, too. You have to learn each other the same way that you once learned earth science or world geography. And getting married doesn't mean you're done -- it just means you've advanced to graduate-level studies. That's because every time you think you've mastered the material, he'll change a bit. And so will you. As two people grow and evolve, the real work of marriage is finding a way to relate to and nurture each other in the process.
"It's like losing weight," says Andrea Harden, 45, of Buffalo, NY. "You want it to be a one-time deal. You lost it, now just live. But then you learn it's a lifestyle. That's marriage. The effort is a forever thing." So don't be too hard on yourself -- or him -- on those days when you feel like you're struggling through remedial math.
3. You will sometimes go to bed mad (and maybe even wake up madder).
Whoever decided to tell newlyweds "Never go to bed angry" doesn't know what it's like inside a bedroom where tears and accusations fly as one spouse talks the other into a woozy stupor until night meets the dawn. If this scenario sounds familiar, I've got three words for you: Sleep on it.
You need to calm down. You need to gain perspective. You need to just give it a rest. I've found that an argument of any quality, like a fine wine, needs to breathe. A break in the action will help you figure out whether you're angry, hurt, or both, and then pinpoint the exact source. Maybe the fight that seemed to erupt over the overflowing garbage can is really about feeling underappreciated. Could be you're both stressed out at work and just needed to unload on someone. Taking a break will help you see that, and let go. Or maybe you really do have a legitimate disagreement to work out. Without a time-out, sometimes a perfectly good argument can turn into an endless round of silly back-and-forth, rehashing old and irrelevant transgressions as you get more and more wound up.
Even when you do manage to stay focused and on topic, there are some fights that stubbornly refuse to die by bedtime. And if you stifle your real feelings just to meet some arbitrary deadline, your marriage will surely be the worse for it. "This was a huge lesson for me," says Andrea. "As women we've been trained to make nice. But the whole kiss-and-make-up thing just to keep the peace was eating me up inside. I'd let things build up inside me until I just exploded. Now I wait a while to get hold of myself -- let the emotions settle a bit -- and state my position. Even if that means reopening the fight the next day."
4. Getting your way is usually not as important as finding a way to work together.
I can be a bit of a know-it-all. There, I said it. It's really not my intention to be hurtful or brash with people I love. It's just that a lifetime of experience has taught me that in most areas, at most times, I am right about most things. What shocked me several years into my marriage, though, was the realization that the more "right" I was, the more discontented my husband and I were as a couple. See, oddly enough, throughout his life Genoveso has been under the misguided impression that he's right most of the time (go figure!). So we'd lock horns -- often. That is, until I learned a few things.
Namely, that when it comes to certain disagreements, there is no right or wrong -- there is simply your way of looking at things and your husband's. "I used to be very black-and-white earlier in our marriage," says Lindy Vincent, 38, who lives in Minneapolis. "Now I see that I'm not all right and my husband is not all wrong. There's more gray in life than I thought, and that's taught me patience and the value of compromise."
5. A great marriage doesn't mean no conflict; it simply means a couple keeps trying to get it right.
Maybe you think that because of my newfound wisdom, Genoveso and I never fight anymore. Ha! As important as it is to strike a balance, it's also important to have a big, fat fight every now and then. Because when you fight, you don't just raise your voices; you raise real -- sometimes buried -- issues that challenge you to come to a clearer understanding of you, your man, and your relationship. I wouldn't give up our fights for anything in the world, because I know in the end they won't break us; they'll only make us stronger.
6. You'll realize that you can only change yourself.
Ever seen the '80s sci-fi cult classic "Making Mr. Right?" When the stylish heroine, played by Ann Magnuson, is hired to teach a robot how to act like a human, she seizes the chance to create a perfect guy. A hotshot commercial whiz, she uses her marketing prowess to shape John Malkovich's android character into her personal version of the ideal man -- sensitive, eager to please, and willing to listen.
There is a bit of that makeover fantasy in all of us -- something that makes us believe we can change the person we love, make him just a little bit closer to perfect. We may use support and empathy or shouts and ultimatums, but with dogged conviction we take on this huge responsibility, convinced we're doing the right thing.
Whatever our motives, the effort is exhausting. Transforming a full-grown man -- stripping him of decades-old habits, beliefs, and idiosyncrasies -- is truly an impossible task. And you will come to realize, sooner than later if you're lucky, that it is far easier to change the way you respond to him.
7. As you face your fears and insecurities, you will find out what you're really made of.
There were clues when Genoveso and I were dating, especially with the trust thing. Early on, I was supersuspicious of him. He used to say things like, "I'll call you at 8." Then, just to try to trip me up, he'd call at 8. I knew he was up to something, I just couldn't figure out what. The same kinds of experiences followed after the wedding. Except occasionally he would actually mess up. And I had no sense of scale when it came to rating his offenses; everything was a major violation. Whether he teased me about a new haircut or came home late, I seethed for days and even let thoughts of divorce creep into my head. I figured, if he loved me -- really and truly -- this stuff wouldn't happen.
I'd like to be able to say that this irrational behavior lasted only a few months and I eventually worked it out. Kind of, sort of, is closer to the truth. After years of looking deeply into my soul and talking to good friends and the best sister a girl could ever have, I've come to recognize certain things about myself. Not to get all Dr. Phil about it, but I've had to examine my history with an emotionally distant dad and a strong-willed mom and face up to all the ways, both good and bad, that those relationships have affected how I approach my marriage.
That's the strange beauty of marriage: It's full of hard times and hard lessons that no one can ever prepare you for. But in the end, those are the things that give richness to your life together -- and make your love even deeper and stronger than when it began.