Love Secrets

Take a look at the surprising, enlightening, and sometimes hard truths we all face after we walk down the aisle - and how they teach us about what love really means.

(page 4 of 5)

Married couple

Marriage truth #6

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.

Marriage truth #7

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.

  quotation mark openWhatever 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.quotation mark close

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.

Here's a perfect case in point: "I used to go off on my husband because he didn't empty the sink trap when he cleaned the kitchen," says Kimberly Seals Allers, 36, of Bay Shore, NY. "It got me nowhere; my rants only made him resentful. Now I come home and when the kitchen looks clean, I'm like, 'Cool, now all I have to do is empty the sink trap.'"

Up next: More marriage lessons >>

« PreviousContinue »

Recommended for you


Comments on "8 Things no one tells you about marriage"

Sonia January 13, 2014 | 6:36 AM

I have read a million articles on this topic but this one is really well written and has the specifics of marriage. I have been married for nearly 9 years and it has been turbulent. We are both professionals, smart, witty, no money issues, from the outside we look like an example to marriage. On the inside- I feel like a mess. He's a good guy but I feel simply empty. This article said what I have been avoiding/ignoring. I am seeing the flaws/baggage/problems that I have as a person. I have been so set in my ways and blind to my pride. I thought marriage humbled me in the begining but now after all these years I have to look at myself again. I used to have not just a huge circle of friends but a fan there is no a single soul that calles or contacts me. I need to get up off the ground and stop blaming my husband. He's just a guy...yes they are wired and think very differently. Thanks for the article:-)

EMILY July 18, 2013 | 7:54 PM


Jennifer October 30, 2012 | 10:50 PM

If I had to do it over again... I probably wouldn't.

victoria August 02, 2012 | 2:01 AM

I have been married for a year plus now have a baby,my husband is crazy but still sometimes I feel like he's cheating on me,I can't jump into conclusion if he's getting it out there because it really scary to think that.

victoria August 02, 2012 | 1:59 AM

I have been married for a year plus now have a baby,my husband is crazy but still sometimes I feel like he's cheating on me,I can't jump into conclusion if he's getting it out there because it really scary to think that.

Leslie June 04, 2012 | 5:15 PM

I like what Sherry said about it was a "you" first, then a "couple", and then a "family." This is so true and that's why it's important to still have a "you" and a "couple" even after you have kids. Find time for yourself, find time to spend together as a couple, and of course spend time with your kids too. Communication is what's most important in a marriage. My husband and I do fight a lot, not going to lie, but we always reach a compromise and grow closer as a couple.

Molly Lunsford March 28, 2012 | 10:25 AM

I've been married to my high-school sweetheart for 3 years, we are 21, and have a 14 month old. We have been fighting so hard that I too have let thoughts of divorce creep in, the last secret really hit my heart, because my husband always talks about going to counciling but I didn't want to because I knew that that person would show that it is not just my husband that has issues, its me too, if I just come open and admit my faults I could save our marriage ....thank you, your article made me realize this.

Sherry February 04, 2012 | 6:18 PM

I've been with my husband since I was 15. We didn't intend upon falling head over heals in love and getting married - but we did. Then life hit us, and we learned these lessons. When my single friends hit me up for relationship advice - I tell them 2 things. A true relationship IS work, and hard work! Remember there was a you before there was a couple and a couple before there was a family. It's hard to balance sometimes, but you need to grow as a person, couple and family. Love this article! I think it hits those points, and will def recommend to friends!

Geoffery December 20, 2011 | 12:38 PM

If you haven't already learned these things in your relationship, this article does a great job of telling you what to look out for in the future. Not only that, the author uses examples from her life, which makes it much easier for the reader to connect. That said, something I've noticed that some of the commenters seem to have failed to grasp from the article is that communication is a requirement for a healthy and productive marriage. You can't assume that what you see or think is correct without getting outside information. If, for example, your partner isn't as interested in and you don't know why, ask. Don't assume it's a libido thing or that they're getting it somewhere else. Ask. And if your relationship is where it should be, you'll get an honest answer.

emily November 30, 2011 | 7:24 PM

This doesn't just apply to married couples. I have been with my boyfriend for 5yrs. It's a struggle for me to process my emotions and change my response to him. Feels impossible but I know I'll be able to relax and not take things so seriously. And to everyone struggling out there, there's hope.

Ebony November 22, 2011 | 10:20 AM

OMG!!! I have been married for a year and four months and everything in this article is exactly what I have been thinking and feeling! It's really crazy how you wonder why people that are married never really warn you, but it's all a learning proccess. It really is hard 'work, but I know we will get through it. Thank you for this AMAZING article because this has really helped me 1000%.

SimSim October 05, 2011 | 11:50 AM

Great great great article!! Thank you for sharing your insights. Very inspiring ( been married for 3 months!!) and very fun, easy to read. I have printed a copy to read to my hubby tonight pre cuddle session! Thank you mucho xo

Olatunji September 20, 2011 | 4:22 PM

Marriage can be heaven on earth.your marriage is what u choose to make out of it.for marriage to be what u want it to be, u must make God d foundation of ur marraige. I belive in ur marriage,divoce is not an option.

Luchia September 14, 2011 | 12:42 AM

merried is not a scared's always nice as long as we could understand and know well our partner.:)

Onye June 16, 2011 | 8:44 PM

Marriage is the essence of life tread with caution for perfect joy

gerald baloyi June 14, 2011 | 4:35 AM

thanks for the advice

Sarah June 01, 2011 | 12:21 AM

I thank u guys for the coments. Though i'm not married i think with this, i will be careful when i get there cos I hate cheating.

peter November 10, 2010 | 6:23 AM

thanks for this page, its an encouragement to marriege people

Annie Fitzgerald September 30, 2010 | 5:21 PM

Take it from me, marriage takes a lot of work. It took me about ten years to get my marriage right. And now that we've been married 41 years, it's all worth it. He started out being a HUGE male chauvinist pig and I had to train him.

Jess September 28, 2010 | 3:52 PM

i must say im impressed!!!!! its funny that i read this now cause these past couple of months ive realized alot of these things. the sooner u get urself to realize these things the more i found peace with myself. kudos!!!

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)