Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Marriage Matters: Anniversary!

What have I learned in the year we have been married?
1.) Marriage is kind of difficult, but the thing that nobody tells you is that once you get married, people treat you like a grownup.  And being a grownup is really effing hard and kinda really sucks.  This is compounded by graduating from school in the worst legal job market in many, many years, and having to deal with being a grownup and being unemployed.  So marriage is hard, but being a grownup is really hard.  I don't know if marriage is easier for people who get married later and were already a grownup first, but I'm curious.

2.) Nothing shuts people who ask, "how's married life?" up faster than saying, "It's really really hard. But I think that's just because I'm unemployed and pretty bummed about the future a lot of the time and I sort of take it out on my husband."  If you too find this question annoying, I highly recommend oversharing about all of the ways that being married is really hard.  
3.) I'm still not sure what to do with my last name.
4.) Even the most supportive, loving, saintly spouse will get frustrated if you continuously lose the mail somewhere between the mailbox and the dining room table.
5.) Marriage is a lot of work.  There is something about being married that makes you say, "we have to work on this now, because we're still going to be married in forty years and it will still be a problem, and I would like to not have this same fight for forty years."  Marriage involves a lot more compromise than we expected.
6.) Your wedding pictures have the power to constantly make you happy.  I now understand what photographers mean when they say, "investment".  I always thought it was a snarky way to make sure that you didn't notice them robbing you blind.  But our pictures are art, they are powerful, they are memories, they are my pick-me-up on crummy days, and they make my heart sing.  Worth. Every. Penny.
7.) You may feel an instinct to be a good wife, and to do things because you are a wife.  Fight this.  It's a dumb instinct.  You will do things that actually make you unhappy and resentful.  I didn't realize this until I spoke to a friend about it, and she said she finds it common in friends of hers who have gotten married and then talk about how hard it is.  So. Spend the first year of marriage focusing less on how to be a good wife, or the person you think your partner wants to be, and work on growing up your own self into the person you want to be, because you are pretty darn awesome already, and your spouse likes who you are currently, so it's a safe bet that they will also like the person you are becoming.

8.) Being married is really different.  I wish I could put it into words, but it turns out to be fairly un-expressable.  But I will say, being married is, it turns out, a whole lot more than living together.  Because a lot of people have said, when I respond to the "how's married life" question, with "it's different", with "really? but you lived together for like, three years!"  Turns out that marriage is not, in fact, figuring out how to navigate the issues of who makes dinner and who leaves their socks on the floor and who looses the mail.  Marriage is bigger.  Marriage is building a life together.  Marriage is every decision, every fight, every compromise paves the way for a future that requires you to continue to wake up every morning, and go to bed every evening, knowing that you made the right choice and that this is who you are spending your life with, even if right now maybe you don't like them so much.

9.) Building a life together is no small thing.  There are matters of geography, of priorities, of health insurance and vacation time and how much time is a reasonable amount to spend with the in-laws.  There are questions of spaces in your togetherness, and making sure you spend enough time together to make sure the other person still feels like a priority.  

10.) It is okay to put your marriage first.  Even my parents, who are, and I mean this in the most loving way possible, Dad, the neediest people I know about seeing us, are amazing understanding when I say, "my husband and I need to do x".  My work understands when I say that I have to check with my husband to see if it's okay for me to stay late, come in early, or take a road trip to Pennsylvania.  I turned down a potential job because the hours it required would have put too much of a strain on my marriage, and even in this economy, this was completely understood by everybody I talked to about it.
All pictures by Prema Photographic or personal photos.

5 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post to read as I'm 12 days out from my own wedding. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of your 1st year. Especially #7.

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  2. Amen to #3, 6 & 8! Happy Anniversary~

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  3. I wish I had great advice but instead I'll post a poem I wrote to MOB earlier this year

    Bethesda Dawn

    Footsteps in the sand
    Stretch back till time began
    And forward lies a path we cannot know

    But here and now we walk
    And love and laugh and talk
    And give each other life and love and hope

    The birds are singing near
    The touch of dawn is here
    The golden sun is climbing in the sky

    For all must walk this way
    Draw pleasure every day
    And leave the dark and cold behind your back

    My love and I have come
    From dark and cold to sun
    And now we feel the warmth upon our hands

    We have this day to live
    Our love and hope to give
    And we will gather treasure while we can

    While there is breath in man
    We make life what we can
    And take the sun and sand and sea and sky

    We take them for our own
    Our life our love our home
    And we will walk together you and I

    or perhaps paraphrase Jimmy Dugan in "league of their own:

    "Baseball is what gets inside you. It's what lights you up, you can't deny that....It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."

    Good Marriages are like that

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  4. I think the expectation that marriage will be a walk in the park accounts for a big chunk of divorces. I think it is rather grown-up of you to acknowledge that marriage is work. :-)

    I completely agree that being a grown-up sucks and is hard. I think back to all the childhood games we used to play where we acted like 'grownups.' Ahhh . . . the innocence! If we only knew what was in store for us . . .

    Happy belated Anniversary!

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