The First Month of Marriage
I’ve been married 47 days as I sit down to write this. I feel like this is going to be a difficult post to write. I have by all measures a very good marriage and an exceptionally good relationship. I had a beautiful wedding, I have lovely caring in laws who call me everyday, and I have a new home my husband spent a lot of time and effort putting together for me, to make me comfortable in my transition to a totally foreign land and way of life. I am a person who has generally always been good with relationships. So is my husband.
We are our first and only partners in life, but there are all manner of other relationships with friends and family, and being good at relationships has probably been one of both of our greater strengths. My husband is a generous, caring, level headed man, who always puts my needs first. We were together for three and a half years before getting married in June of 2018, and during that time we were entirely long distance. We managed that with no hiccups, no break ups, no major fights. We have never gone to bed angry. We are each others closest friends. There is nothing I have to hide from my husband and I am pretty sure he feels the same way. We enjoy doing the same things together and if we want to do our own thing, we do, in companionable silence. People have referred to us as an old married couple for the longest time (just in case you didn't know, thats actually a really good thing in the real world, a really good thing everywhere but on Love Island maybe).
For all intents and purposes, you couldn't have a better recipe for a marriage than we’ve had. You’d be hard pressed to find a less complicated marriage than ours, with fewer issues and fewer fights, with less history, baggage, or drama. Apparently we even look cute together, so that helps too.
And I still find myself wanting to tell you, to implore you, to understand that marriage is not easy. Marriage is never going to be easy, for anyone. Ever. And you need to know that. I am the first of my closest friends to be married. I’ve not been married long but I find myself surprised by the things they say to me. But you have your new husband with you! You must be so happy and loved up! You must be going on dates every weekend! You must be so busy with your new husband!
Marriage is frightening.
Being the only one of your friends who is married is isolating. I know, cry me a river. Admitting that you even feel this way, that you acknowledge the difference, is damning, condescending, makes you a bad friend, pompous even. But its that very assumption, that seeing as you're the one whose crossed the threshold, that you have no right to your feelings or to a sense of abandonment, that is so wrong and so unforgiving, to women and men who are making what is potentially the single most transformative step of their lives. I can no longer relate to my friends. This is not a small thing. This is not going to be made better by having a permanent date night buddy sharing my bedroom and bathroom. I can no longer relate to my friends. And its very possible you wont be able to either.
Yes not everything between us has changed, of course not. But the underlying change remains, and I suspect its felt more by the marrieds than the not marrieds. And you don't have to apologise for feeling saddened by that, or remind yourself that you’re the lucky one. Some days I just want to feel like my friends and I are in the same boat again. Some days I want to not feel like I have to hide my marriedness in case it becomes boring or trite, or worse, smug and superior. We as a society of humans are not yet at that point where marriage isn't still seen as an achievement, sometimes the ultimate achievement (look someone wants to spend EVERY DAY with me!). And I think were still a fairly long way from abandoning that ideal, no matter how wrong and shallow it may be. I miss being the same. I want to feel that sense of comradely and us against the world that I no longer have a right to tap into. I may never have that right again. We may never be on the same page, in the same place again. And I think its normal to feel sad about that.
Most days I will coast along, busy with the responsibilities that come with having a new home, happy in the new experiences that are a constant in this new life, oblivious to the girl I was before I walked down the aisle. But sometimes, when things are quieter, I have a disturbing sense that I am not myself anymore. I am someone else now. I chose to be this person and I want to be this person. Being a wife is very important to me, more so than any other aspirations have been. But that doesn't mean that in becoming this, I haven’t had to give up that. Sometimes I remember who I used to be and I think, gosh I would've liked to be have been friends with that girl. I am not that girl anymore.
Does this mean I would go back to being single? Engaged even, because the chasm is narrower, the mantle of the wife not yet weighing on my shoulders? No. Never. Not even for a day. But one can be content and wistful at the same time. One can want this and miss that at the same time. One can know they're happier and still feel a sense of something sad and lonely holding a part of them back. We aren't absolutes. We don't always make sense, logically.