FEATURED,  Healthy Relationships

Expectation vs. Reality: 3 Men Talk About What Marriage is Really Like

The majority of the discussion we read and hear about marriage is from a woman’s perspective. Now, here at The Colorado Wedding Magazine, we are all about empowering women, but we also love to explore all sides of a topic. Men have valid insight on marriage and what it’s really like, too. It’s just incredibly hard to find! A quick Google search on “what men think about marriage” yields hundreds of results written by —you guessed it—women. It’s fair to say that a lot of assumptions are made regarding men’s feelings toward marriage, and unfortunately, most of those assumptions are negative. It’s not uncommon to read about “men’s fear of commitment” or “why men resist marriage,” as if these particular humans aren’t capable of the very human emotions of wanting a partner to share experiences and build a life with. 

We set out to get genuine perspectives from everyday husbands and found three men – Ricardo Bonilla, James Simpson, and Abraham Vargas – who happily shared their experiences. 

“I didn’t know it would be so rewarding” 

“I didn’t know it would be so rewarding” 

One thing all three men agree on is that, before they took their vows, they knew marriage would take some work. “I knew it wouldn’t be sunshine and rainbows all the time,” said Abraham, “Living with another human with different mannerisms and a different personality, among other differences, it’s a given that it would take work.” The most challenging part, according to James, is communicating each other’s needs and desires, “It’s easy to fall into presumption, thinking your spouse doesn’t have your best interests at heart when it was just a miscommunication, or none at all.” Despite the challenges, all three men agree that marriage is actually better than they imagined. According to Ricardo, “Doing and achieving things together feels like a greater success than I would’ve expected.”

Marriage is Not a Loss of Freedom 

There is a stigma surrounding marriage being a trap, or a loss of freedom, especially for men. Well, according to Abraham, “that’s stupid.” In his opinion, anyone who views marriage in this way hasn’t found the right partner, someone they trust and can communicate openly with. He and his wife have thrived without ever being overbearing in each other’s lives, even when they were dating. “Barring the pandemic and any financial constraints, if she wants to take a girl’s trip or have a night out, I’m not going to give her a hard time. I can enjoy the same freedoms with the same level of trust as well.” Of course, in an ideal relationship, there is a level of consideration and communication to expect as a courtesy,” but Ricardo was clear, “I don’t view marriage as a restriction on my freedom. I have another person to consider when making decisions. I’m free not to do that, but then there are consequences.” 

Another common thought is that men who are married lose their drive which, according to James, is the furthest thing from the truth. “Sometimes your spouse can be your biggest energizer to pursue your goals and dreams.” The key, then, is to marry the person with whom you can thrive without ever feeling restricted. 

Each Person Plays Their Role 

Each Person Plays Their Role 

When we use the word “role” here, we don’t mean the assigned jobs that people were historically pushed into based on their gender. As Abraham put it, “the only roles [people] should play is doing their part to maintain their relationship. No gender roles!” There are some things that women do that men simply can’t, like carrying a child. Ricardo’s wife, Jennifer, is expecting their first child in early 2022 and, as he put it, “she’s creating life right now and there’s nothing I can do besides be there for her.” Outside of that, assigning roles isn’t really necessary. Each person has strengths that they should play to. As James says. “Playing to [your] strengths is good for the family, and balanced.” 

Some Essential Components of a Happy Union

More important than common interests and even romance is “actually enjoying each other’s company,” says Abraham. That, and a commitment to one another and your union. As James puts it, “couples can endure and persevere [through] any challenge if they are committed to each other and communicate effectively.” He also adds that the faith he and his wife share has been an indispensable aspect of their marriage. “I truly believe that without our faith we would not have lasted this far.” Ricardo added the importance of “trust in the level of fidelity that you and your partner have decided to adhere to .My wife and I are completely monogamous and we have no concerns about the other person whatsoever. I can’t imagine what life would be like if that wasn’t the case.” 

Things We Need to Understand About Marriage 

When asked what they would like to say about marriage, each guy had unique insight to share. Abraham mentioned the often overlooked difficulty of grocery shopping for two. “Grocery stores sell many ingredients in large quantities meant for more than two people.” (We hear that, Abraham!) James shared what he believes are the fundamental principles of any marriage, stemming from his faith, “Love is patient, love is kind, it doesn’t seek its own, it doesn’t hold account of wrongdoings” (1 Corinthians 13). Ricardo stressed the importance of showing empathy for your partner when they are venting about their problems. “Sometimes the best response is to say “Damn, that sucks,” rather than, “Well have you tried this…?’ People in general struggle here because they just want to fix it.” 

Words of Advice for Soon-to-be Husbands 

For the final part of our interview, we asked the guys to share words of wisdom with men who will soon be saying “I do.” 

Ricardo (married 8 years, 16 years together): “Make sure you actually like being around this person, just spending time with them. It’s simple but so many people don’t do that.”

James (married 10 years, 14 years together): “Never stop pursuing your spouse. Keep doing the things that won [their] heart in the first place. Be intentional with your time and your love.”

Abraham (married 5 years, 9 years together) “Understand what marriage means, and make sure it means the same thing to your partner before moving forward with it. Also, make sure that you’re always on the same page, and be up front about everything.”