It's going to be hard work. I mean, hello! Of course, it is! But why didn't anyone think it was important to tell me this? Nothing worth having is ever easy, right? But if you go in with the correct expectations, instead of thinking it's "supposed" to be all "sunshine and rainbows" then you are already ahead of the game! Do. The. Work. Wake up every day and choose each other.
Marriage will SUCK and sometimes that's okay. It's going to suck, you can count on it! There's not a marriage on the planet that is PERFECT 100% of the time. If they tell you it is, they're lying. Don't beat yourself up, just learn the right way to communicate and get help when you need it. Don't wait until you're already one foot out the door, or your partner is. Trust me.
You are NOT "playing house" this is Real Life, Buttercup. Time to grow the fuck up, kiddo. Sorry, not sorry. Even though you may feel like you're not old enough to own a house, it's all yours! And so is that payment that comes along with it...and the maintenance. Oh, and then come the KIDS. Can't give those back either.
Your SPOUSE must come first, not your KIDS. Yup, you read that right. If you want to have a successful relationship you MUST put your partner first and your KIDS second. Period. I know, it's not what Mom told you! You've heard it time and time again that the kids come first, right? WRONG. You have to nurture the bond with your spouse so your kids see what a happy, healthy relationship looks like.
It is nothing like your Mother's Marriage. Nope. It's not. Although she will try to convince you it is! And, she will compare your relationship to hers...just let her do it. But then, remember, you will do things so much differently and that is OKAY. This is YOUR marriage and while you can ask for her opinions it's okay to have your own. Stick to your guns; trust the intuition she (your momma) gave you. ;)
You will fall in and out of love...and in, and out. Love goes through stages; so does intimacy. It is okay to love each other sometimes and be "in love" at other times in your relationship. It's even okay to want to kick his ass! Love will ebb and flow, trust me! What's important is that you hang on for the ride. Tightly.