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10 Things I Wish I Knew on My Wedding Day

Photograph by Twenty20

My sixth wedding anniversary is coming up. Six years? Wow. It feels more like 16 years—not in a bad way, but in a "I feel like we crammed a lot into six years" way. Within the first three years of our marriage, my husband and I bought a home (did some moderate renovations, including a kitchen, a bathroom and a back yard) and had two babies (born 16 months apart). I I feel unreasonably lucky, but in many ways I also feel like I'm just starting to catch my breath. I'm not sure I have the energy to pull off what I did last year.

With a few of my younger cousins getting married soon, I can't help but look back at my own wedding and laugh maniacally at the things I know now. Here are a few things I wish I'd known.

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1. Married couples will fight about money.

No matter how rich, poor or in-between you are: You will argue about spending funds, saving funds, and how and where to store funds so that you can live a decent life when you're old. No married couple is exempt from fighting about money.

2. Personalities will change.

Yours and his. Some traits may get better, some may get worse. Don't be alarmed. It's part of growing together. As long as everyone feels generally happy most of the time, I think it's a good thing.

3. The wedding day itself flies by at warp speed.

No matter how much of an effort you make to soak everything in (Your handsome groom! Those to-die-for orchids you insisted on having!), the night will be over so quickly.

4. You marry the family.

Along with a lifetime of commitment, you get his mom, dad, siblings, their spouses and on and on.

No matter how much you may doubt these antiquated words, they are true. Along with a lifetime of commitment, you get his mom, dad, siblings, their spouses and on and on. Make sure you're OK with it, because even though they're not your family, they're now family.

5. Having kids changes the game in a way you can't even imagine.

Some days you might find yourself cursing your spouse under your breath for not even offering to step in and help with a rowdy bath-time situation, and other days you will be consumed with the most wonderfully overflowing adoration as you watch him sing songs from Disney movies while pushing your 3-year-old on the swing set. Love turns real when kids enter the picture.

6. The bride will sweat.

I'm not talking about getting clammy because of nerves (I wasn't nervous, but I know some brides get a bit shaky), I'm talking about physical sweating because you thought it'd be a good idea to wear your hair down for the hottest part of summer and then dance your heart out. No, the bride didn't just jump into a swimming pool ... but she'd like to.

7. Some of your spouse's qualities you thought were "cool" before marriage might turn inexplicably irritating.

For instance, before marriage: Ooh! He likes to work on cars? He's a daredevil? That's cool. After marriage, complete with kids screaming their heads off while you try to load the dishwasher for the third time today: Get your head out from under that car and get your ass back in this house and help me! Or: No way in hell you are going to try scuba diving because I don't have time for you to get attacked by some pissed-off shark. We have kids now!

8. You might sometimes find yourself envious of your husband after having kids.

I do, in the most innocent way. I wish I could come and go as I please and know that my wife will handle everything flawlessly.

9. Even though your husband might start shaving his head (to hide a receding hairline and impending baldness), you will still think he's hot and love him.

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10. Marriage is not always about love.

It's about deep friendship, making life fun, talking things out, compromising when you can, being kind to the other person daily, boosting the other person up when they need it, not hanging on to disagreements that don't warrant hanging on to and also making a serious effort to not leave your shoes all over the house if it drives your spouse nuts. (I'm the one who leaves my shoes all over the house, for the record.) Marriage is not always about love, but it depends on love to keep it alive. (Happy anniversary, babe.)

So now you know the truth, kids. Marry wisely: When done right, it's worth it.

What do you wish you knew on your wedding day?

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