Doses of Reality: 5 Items That SHOULD Be On The Wedding Registry

I remember getting married oh so many years ago, back when online registries for wedding gifts were still brand new. I remember the thrill of holding the scanner at Crate & Barrel and just picking out dishes, cookware, glasses, etc. until my heart was content (my soon-to-be hubby got to choose some items as well). After all, I was young and love, so I knew that the key to any good relationship was compromise.

Turns out that after being married for more than a decade, I have come to realize that marriage is about so much more than matching dish towels and monogrammed hand soap in the guest bathroom. I have begun to understand that the elements that actually make a marriage work can’t really be found in a store, but they sure need to be considered before taking that leap of faith.

What follows are the 5 things that SHOULD be on everyone’s wedding registry. Take a read and see if you agree, then add some you think I may have left off.


It is the keyword in premarital counseling because everyone will tell you that it is the foundation. What they neglect to tell you is that it will be tested along the way. Maybe in simple ways, maybe in profound ways, but either way, know that the person you have promised your life to will at some point let you down. You will wonder whether you have made a mistake. This is actually the moment your marriage will really begin.



Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. In the majority of marriages (I realize there are exceptions to every rule), there should be no exit door. If you and your mate have chosen to have children together then quitting should not be an option. You both will have to step up and be willing together to slog through the hard parts. Give your time, your energy, yourself to your spouse. And when you don’t have it in you to give (i.e. 3:00 a.m. on night three of your toddler having the stomach flu), then be willing to ask for some help. Don’t be a hero. You’re a team.


At the end of the day, it is not about how much you love this person, but how much you actually like them. You may not believe this but there will be days, weeks, months, perhaps years where you live like roommates. Your conversations will likely revolve around the need for someone to pick up some extra toilet paper or whether the trash has been taken out. Continue to be friends, especially the kind with benefits!


Oh boy. Y’all, I am telling you, when you are tired and hungry and have finally gotten the last child to bed, all you want in the world is to grab your glass of wine or your Hostess fried apple pie and sit in front of the TV and say nothing. It’s possible the last thing you spoke to your spouse was a fragmented sentence early that morning as they headed off to work. One of the best gifts I gave myself after our younger daughter was out of the needy toddler phase (she is now in the needy preschool phase) was to start talking with my husband again. Actual conversations with a beginning, middle and an end. It helped me remember how much I really like him. (See #3).


Life is not a laugh riot. Socks by the bed and dishes next to (but not actually in) the kitchen sink do not make you feel like you are living the dream. However, what gets you closer to the Judd Apatow/Leslie Mann/Paul Rudd movie moments are when you can laugh with your spouse. Find the moments of levity. Embrace a compatible sense of humor, because you will need it.

Marriage is an incredible amount of work. The goal is to cultivate more good than bad, more ups than downs, more smiles than tears. Anyone who tells you that they are finding marriage to be easy either does not have children or is lying.

What would you add to the Wedding Registry? What do you wish you had received?

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Ashley is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters, Emma (8) and Abby (4). She is an occasional nurse and married to Robert (41). Ashley continues to “tell it like it is” on her blog The Dose Of Reality. Follow her on Twitter @ashleytaylor76