Before I got married I heard three different things:
1) Some people said that everything changes. It’s a huge shift in your life and you really feel it.
2) Some people said that nothing changes and nothing feels different.
3) Some people said that there was a subtle shift and a deeper sense of security.
I really thought that I would be number three. I was sure that getting married would make me feel something new. Particularly because it’s something that has been on my list of top goals in life for many years now.
But it doesn’t feel different.
Which is fine, because our relationship was awesome and still is. It hasn’t changed at all. Every once in a while there’s the little thrill of thinking of him as “husband” but even that is not as exciting as I expected it to be. The fact is, we have felt committed to each other for life since about two months into dating. We both knew. Just completely knew that this was it.
I’ve been watching Bravo’s Newlyweds: The First Year again (remember when I posted about Tina?). I have to say, it is a tremendous relief to me that my relationship with my husband is NOTHING like any of the relationships on that show. Not that they are awful, but there’s conflict and fighting that Brad and I just don’t have. We have none of the sources of conflict that any of these couples has! One husband treats his wife like a five year old, allowance and everything. One wife thought that getting married would change how much time she and her husband spent together automatically.
I don’t know if some people do change after marriage, but I wouldn’t count on it. Quite a risky gamble to assume that because you got married, now your relationship will be different from what it was before.
Brad and I did live together and actually shared a small one bedroom apartment for several months. That could have been a challenge, but it actually felt totally easy with him. Our decorating sense is almost exactly the same and we both really like to spend a lot of our time together. We are amazingly well matched, really! We have several hobbies in common, we like to go out and stay in the same amount as each other, our goals and expectations are very much the same. We are only very slightly different in how we look at money. We both struggle with weight, so I never feel like he’s judging me at all when I have issues with my body. The big thing, though, is that we communicate perfectly. Any issue at all we can talk about and really hear each other.
We’ve already been through some potentially tough times together. Brad lost his step-mother while we were together. My visibility and public persona has increased through this blog. Brad lost his job and has been out of work for nine months. I started a my own business. He’s seen me through some episodes of depression. We’ve parented a dog and a cat together! Through all these things we drew strength from each other. (I’ve known couples who have faced much worse and am impressed by their strength and fortitude.)
I am tremendously lucky. I see other relationships like ours, but I see plenty that I’m so glad I’m not part of! (Not that we can ever really know what it’s like inside someone else’s relationship).
It turns out I already had the wonderful things that marriage can give. Many of them anyway. What I wanted most was the social acceptance and I have that now. I also got to have two wonderful parties that brought together many of the people I love most in the world. Totally worth it for that alone!
But it still doesn’t quite feel real to me. I was there. I said vows. I went through two ceremonies. But I think it will take a lot of calling each other “husband” and “wife” for it to totally sink in for me.
The biggest relationship change is the one between me and my parents, though that is also subtle. I didn’t realize how much I still saw myself as their little girl and enjoyed them babying me. Now I feel more like an adult and a peer to them. I think (hope) that some stress is removed for them as I am part of my own little family now. They know that I am settled in and that I have the right person by my side.
Some people say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Let’s hope that’s true because so far it’s a wonderful breeze.