Hand on heart - who truthfully considers those words ‘til death do us part’ when they first marry? I’m guilty as charged for paying scant attention to my wedding vows and what it actually means to be, you know, sharing your existence with someone for the rest of your life.
When I got hitched the first time round I made the mistake of thinking it was all about The Diet, The Dress and The Day – and didn’t give a thought to what came afterwards. What an Expensive Mistake that was. It cost me an eye-watering £50,000 to pay my first husband off. The length of our marriage? A measly 18 months. I know – the shame! To say we were mis-matched is like saying that Hugh Jackman’s ideal woman is Miley Cyrus – it wasn’t ever going to end in happily ever after.
So when, six years ago, I married the second time around I went into the marriage with caution.
Tip 1 – Know Thy Baggage
Anyone over 21 – or who has properly lived life on this planet – has, if they’re honest, oodles of emotional trauma, high maintenance exes or, as is pretty much likely, kids from a previous relationship. If your intended ticks all these boxes – proceed with caution. Scrutinize their past, get to know their offspring and familiarise yourself with their odd habits and poke around to locate those skeletons in their closet. Offer up your own – we ALL have them. Because their baggage? If you get hitched – it’s going to be yours.
Tip 2 – Meet The In-laws
If you are a sane and sensible person then you will know that a marital union isn’t just about two people saying ‘I Do’. It is about the coming together of all those sane and not-so-sane relatives too. Show me a family that doesn’t have a black sheep or a high maintenance drama queen and I’ll show you a family straight out of a fairytale book. Think long and hard about what you can stomach – because these people are going to be in your life for a long time. Another word of warning: you are never allowed to criticise the in-laws. Even if your other half frequently refers to them as Satan’s spawn, they will always remain your beloved’s nearest and dearest. No matter how tempting - resist joining in.
Tip 3 –The cheque book
Does money run through your hands like water? Is every penny in his palm a prisoner? Have the money conversation sooner rather than later. Do not wed anyone who is less than transparent with their bank accounts, their salary and perhaps most importantly of all, their debts. Because of the financial hit I took when exiting my first marriage, my lovely husband suggested that we sign a pre-nuptial agreement. As bonkers as it sounds, that’s why I believe a pre-nup is about the most romantic gesture someone can make for you. They’re with you because they love you and not the number of dollars in your bank account.
What will you put up with and what won’t you in every day conjugal life? My husband’s number one rule is that I’m not allowed to get fat. Harsh? Maybe, but I agreed to this before I signed on the matrimonial line. My chief beef is that he’s not allowed to have female friends. You see I don’t agree with the idea that men and women can be platonic mates. After 42 years on this planet if I know anything it’s this: sex always rears its head at some point amongst those who really ought to know better. We both have access to our social media accounts too – email, Twitter and Facebook. We work on the principle that we don’t have anything to hide. You might think we’re barking mad – but these rules work for us. Think about your own non-negotiables.