What I Wish I Knew Before Marriage

Marriage is a journey that’s going to be exactly what you and your partner choose to make it. Before I got married, I thought that loving my partner was enough of a reason for us to be married. We also had our first child already and were living together in his parents’ house so that was all I (thought I) needed. I was young with no actual guidance of what marriage should be. I mean, I grew up never seeing my parents fight or argue however I wasn’t oblivious to tension. And my in-laws aren’t a couple I’d ever want to be like, so they weren’t even an option to have as an example. It wasn’t until now, really, that I’ve been able to feel anything as far as (my) marriage goes.

My husband and I talk about how we should’ve waited all the time. The worst part for me is I remember begging him to marry me. I vividly remember he was sitting on the bed, I was standing up and “I’m not understanding your hold up. We already have a child …” was what I said. Now, a few months away from giving birth to our third child I feel if he hadn’t gone into the military, we still wouldn’t be married, and I WOULD BE OKAY WITH THAT. Why? Because like I said in the beginning, it wasn’t until now that I’ve been able to feel anything as far as (my) marriage goes. It wasn’t until now that I feel I don’t have to be married to this man because we have children together regardless of what others think. I don’t have to be married to this man to prove my love for him. I don’t have to be married to this man to show or prove anything at all. Me loving him and him loving me should have always been enough from the start. Instead, I got real invested, real early and the beliefs of his family became the pressure that’s left me with so many regrets till this day.

People always say, “You’re married to him/her, not their family”, but that’s not always true. That’s my case exactly and also why I had to make the decision to end my relationship with his family last year. I didn’t grow up the way he did, in any way and I mean it’s not even close. So, when “Are you coming to church with us?” became a regular question I felt too much pressure that I couldn’t say “No” every single time like I wanted to. When we had our second child and people were in my ear, again, about how “He wants to christen them but won’t tell you that” then it switched to “He doesn’t know what he wants so that’s why he’s agreeing with you”. That’s when I knew they were already too comfortable overstepping and disrespecting me. But since I fell into this mindset that defending myself was disrespectful, – also part of how he was raised – especially living in their house, I let it go on. It went on for so long that I had to verbally express to my mother-in-law, last year, why I no longer want a relationship with her and instead of her leaving it there, she continues to try and make me the bad guy in her conversations. At least the ones that I’ve read and heard of within the last two months. 

I’ve been with this man a little over 6 years and I just reached this place where I don’t care how anyone in his family feels. They’re not all bad and they all haven’t been nasty to me. But the few run-ins I have had are enough for me to never look back. The only thing I regret is letting it go on for so long. I had to understand that when people only know about me because of what someone else told them about me and they don’t even try to get to know me, I don’t need to be around them. I had to understand that when people sit in my face and say, “I don’t like her/him” but can have an entire cackle session when they’re around those same people, I don’t need to be around them. And most importantly, I had to understand that when people don’t even know my name – outside of somebody pronouncing it and acting like they don’t know what it is – I for damn sure don’t need to waste my time around them.

I’ve been through a lot of stuff from being his girlfriend to being his wife. But nothing has hurt me more than the dysfunctional relationship I’ve had with his family. One thing I can’t say is that my in-laws never did anything for me, and I didn’t say “us” I said ME. It’s just hard to ever feel like anything was genuine when it’s thrown back in my face once I express that I no longer want a relationship – and told it has to be paid back. And that’s the main thing, aside from what’s been said behind my back, that pushed me to carry on. I don’t hate any of them and truthfully speaking I wouldn’t mind having a relationship with my father-in-law, but I wouldn’t want nor expect my husband to choose anybody over me so I can’t expect such from him.

Some of us are fortunate enough to not marry our partners family and just marry them and some of us aren’t. Unfortunately, I am part of that “some aren’t”. I’ve made my peace with everything that has happened and my decision to never speak to them again. However, making peace with the past and healing from it is two totally different things in my book. I feel for my children the most because they won’t have that relationship with both sets of grandparents however that’s not something I’ll ever take ownership of. You have to respect the parent(s) to have a relationship with the child and that’s that. 

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