Not all of them are dealbreakers, but they do represent some pretty tough stumbling blocks on the way to marital bliss.
“I would set better boundaries.”
Nobody ever said marriage was easy. (OK, well, not many people at least.) But when a couple is dressed in their wedding-day finest, promising 'for better or for worse' in front of their closest family and friends, they often don't know realize just how much work it will take to help their bond stay strong.
That's why we asked 12 women admit the number-one regret they've felt in their marriages so far. Not all of them are dealbreakers, but they do represent some pretty tough stumbling blocks on the way to marital bliss. Here are the mistakes they made—so you don't have to repeat them.
"I'll be honest. I had this concept that if I got married and had kids before 30, I was living some kind of dream life and I'd be the happiest person. I ditched my career a year after getting married so we could start trying to have kids. I had three children before 30, and it's just been... a lot. I feel like maybe I'd be a better mom or person if I hadn't rushed all of this." —Ophelia G., 31
"I wish we waited to go on our honeymoon. We left the day after the wedding, and while it was fun and everything, we really could have used a getaway from normal life a year or so after the big day. Right after you get married, you're on a natural honeymoon.
But that starts to fade as life gets real and that's when you need a vacation. We've been married for five years and don't have the time or money to go away now, but I think a vacation would be really great for restoring that excited honeymoon feeling in our relationship." —Mikki H., 34
"I was a little intimidated by my in-laws before we got married, and I didn't make much of an effort to get to know them. They live across the country so I don't even see them often. I can tell this is something that makes my husband quite upset and it's harder to start a more meaningful relationship with someone when they have already been in your life for years. It's more awkward to do that now." —Beth D., 32
"When we got married, we combined our finances. What was his was mine and what was mine was his. We have one checking account and one savings account. Every credit card we got was in both of our names. What a terrible idea! It became annoying not to feel like I have any money of my own. It's also caused a lot of fights because if he's spending a lot more money than I am, I get frustrated because I feel like I work harder at my job than he does. Having joint and separate accounts could have eased a lot of tension." —Jackie G., 29
"We don't have our own lives anymore. Marriage sometimes isolates you from other people, especially if they are not married or they don't like the person you're marrying. I wish we had our own friends so that we didn't always feel like we had to hang out and spend time together. We rarely get together with other people."—Michelle G., 28
"The number-one thing people told me before marriage was that you should never go to bed angry with your partner. It totally sounded cliched, but after four years of marriage, it's the truth. Everyone fights with their partner, and that's natural.
But our relationship has had some extreme downs, and I think that's because both of us just dragged fights and disagreements on for days. There were so many times I wish I had the strength to just apologize before bed or something, which is something I'm working on." —Tracy W., 32
"In a way, I feel like I've been putting on a front around my husband ever since we met. I was really emotional before I knew him and ruined some relationships because of that, so I decided to hide a lot of my feelings from him. I try not to overreact to things or cry like a baby around him when I'm sad. But I feel like he doesn't really know me and it's exhausting sometimes." —Rachel W., 29
"I got married at age 22. It was too early. At the time, it felt right. None of my friends were married yet. My parents begged me to wait. But I didn't want to listen. I didn't have a job and I was living with my guy, who is 10 years older. It just seemed right, but it wasn't. I wish I'd had a career, or even a resume ready just in case our relationship didn't work out." —Katie G., 27
"It's true when people say that you don't really know someone until you live with them. I didn't live with my husband until after marriage and it really shook things up. I learned habits of his that bugged me and we started to argue a lot. There were plenty of nights when one of us slept on the couch or at a friend's place. Maybe that would have been different if we spent a year living together before marriage." —Lily H., 27
"My parents told me ahead of time that marriage isn't a walk in the park. They even gave me a book of marriage advice. They have been married 34 years. They just told me a lot of things in the beginning of marriage that I ignored. If I listened, maybe I'd understand the pains and struggles of being married, and it would save my husband and I from having basic fights." —Hilary F., 29
"I've been married for seven years and after about year three, sex became obsolete. We just stopped, and have only had it maybe a few times a year since then. It's something that's so hard to get back into once you stop, and I wish we never did." —Aly D., 39
"If I could give this marriage thing another stab, I'd have a rule with my husband that every single morning we tell each other that we love one another. That way, we wouldn't have doubt toward the strength of the relationship. Sometimes in marriage, it's the simple things that have the power to hold the whole thing together." —Ruth F., 32