Advice abounds for people who just tied the knot, and to some degree, hearing about the experiences of others can be helpful. But too often, friends and family members make awkward, embarrassing, or downright annoying comments to newlyweds. Here are the 10 things to stop saying to your newly married friends, and why.
1. “How is married life?”
Friends of mine joke about married life being exactly like unmarried life, minus the wedding planning. Another said, “Well, last night we watched six episodes of Criminal Minds, ignored the pile of laundry, and passed out by 11, so I guess it’s going well!” Even though weddings are glamorous, the truth is, married life is pretty regular most of the time.
People who ask this question absolutely mean well, and usually simply want to hear that you’re happy (as well as show some interest in your life). But when putting a bride or groom on the spot in this way adds some extra pressure. I mean, if they say, “It’s okay,” will you assume they’re miserable and gossip accordingly? If they say, “It’s amazing,” are you going to fake-puke and roll your eyes at their over-the-top happiness? And if they respond with, “Ugh, marriage is the worst” (Hopefully not, but you never know!), plan on backpedaling — fast.
2. “Can you believe you won’t have sex with anyone else your whole life?”
3. “When are you having kids?”
PSA to everyone: stop asking anyone this question, ever. Why? Because it is too personal, and if your friend who just got married wants you to know their family planning schedule, he or she will tell you. Don’t ask about fertility issues; don’t assume that a love of kids equals wanting to parent; don’t suggest they will change their minds someday. Whether or not they want to have kids is none of your business, and there’s no reason why you specifically need that information.
Also, cut the newlyweds some slack. Literally the day after my sister’s wedding, several people asked when they were going to start having kids… rather than simply reflecting on, you know, the big party that just went down. It’s okay to enjoy where you’re at without moving to the next huge life event.
4. “Aren’t you a little young?”
Not only does this passive-aggressively suggest they, ahem, made an error in the timing of their marriage, it reinforces the myth of a “right” age to wed. Yes, a lot of people nowadays get married in their mid-to-late twenties. But plenty of others get married in college, right after high school, at 40, in their sixties. Age has no bearing on true love or a willingness to commit. Instead, be happy for them!
5. “Enjoy the honeymoon stage while it lasts.”
Aye aye, captain. Kidding, RUDE. Let’s all agree to stop subscribing to the narrative of “Marriage is the worst, say goodbye to your freedom and ability to have fun” story. I’m over it.
At my friend A’s wedding, someone said, “It’s so great that you FINALLY met someone!” Ouch. This statement doesn’t seem so bad, especially if your newlywed friend has gone through a string of bad relationships and you’re thrilled they have now found the love of their life. However, it implies the person was waiting around doing nothing because their life was incomplete without a spouse, which is not true. Find a better way to express your joy for a newly married couple, such as, “Yay! I’m so happy for you.”
7. “Did you know 50% of marriages end in divorce?”
“Gee, thanks, fingers crossed!” Not only is this statistic controversial, but it’s just kinda rude to suggest a brand-new marriage won’t work out. There’s no reason to undermine someone’s decision to wed by indicating the research is against them. Remember, people get married with the best intentions, and you can’t always predict which relationships will or won’t work out.
8. “How’s the ol’ ball and chain?”
Marriage puns give me a headache. When an acquaintance once *jokingly* made a quip about me being the “ball and chain” after I got married, I snapped. And rightfully so. This kind of talk is bullshit — and so is the old stereotype of guys who supposedly sit on the couch all night drinking beer and ignoring the household chores. Culturally, these sarcastic one-liners are “funny,” except they’re not. Ideally, people get married because they love each other and want to build a life together. Hearing newlyweds talk accordingly is not an invitation to rain on their parade. Give them your best wishes, instead.
9. “I never see you anymore… ”
Okay, first, anyone who has planned a wedding knows how much time, energy, money, and did I say TIME it takes. It can easily become a part-time job of managing details. Second, your friend just got married. Their life did change, and they’re going to need some space to shift from being engaged to married — which might be as simple as hanging out at home on the couch, or doing their own thing on the weekend, or booking dinner plans themselves instead of linking up with you and your spouse for a double date. Don’t take it personally if you haven’t seen your newly married friend in a while post-wedding, and certainly don’t make them feel guilty about it.
10. “Are you bummed the wedding is over?”
When all the excitement of a wedding fades away, it’s normal to feel a little sad and wonder, “What now?” Change isn’t easy, and the post-wedding blues are real for many newlyweds. At the same time, a wedding is just one day. Rather than lingering on the fact that the event is over by asking someone this question, talk about what their wedding represents: the continuation of a wonderful life together.