The First Three Months of Marriage
Growing up, I had a lot of ideas about what marriage would be like.
A lot of ideas.
Far, far before I ever met my husband, or even was vaguely old enough to marry, I had a pretty good idea of what life would be like after I settled down. I knew what our mornings would look like, what our home would feel like, what we would do on the weekends. I had meticulous ideas of what went into making a married home, a lot, like a lot, of enthusiasm fro my role as wife and homemaker, and just a generally plotted out course that married life would take.
I’m not saying I was totally wrong, because I wasn’t… totally wrong. But like anyone else whose never been married before, I did discover that a lot of the ideas I had had, look quite different in real life. Not better or worse mind, just different.
I also discovered that you can’t know what it’s like to be married until you’re married.
So here I am with a very, very modest three months of know how under my belt, trying to put the whole complicated being that is the state of marriage, into a blog post. Wish me luck!
First of all, and take this one with a pinch of salt, is that every thing changes. That doesn’t have to be bad or ominous, in fact, for some people it may be downright great! It’s not a fact that really has a value attached to it, it’s simply a fact. Every thing does change. I don’t mean anything quite as dramatic as everything in your relationship changes (if you know each other well, I don’t think it really does, it just gets better), but every thing in your life changes. Your habits, your daily routines, the things you find you can and can’t do when you want to. Deep breath.
I don’t think you can totally 100 per cent prepare yourself for the fact that everything changes. Trying to break down and define changes as good or bad is just a little silly to me, change is not absolute, it’s not good or bad, it just is.
But I think in the buzz of the wedding and the lead up to moving somewhere new or shifting homes, you can forget to prepare yourself for just how much change is coming. I feel like the transition would have been easier for me had I spent more time mentally preparing for that and less time worrying about my wedding dress! But you live and learn.
There’s a really common idea that goes around that states that the first year of your marriage is the most difficult. You’ll fight a lot, says everyone. Expect to have lots of blow outs, others say. I… disagree. My husband and I really don’t fight at all, and I don’t say this in some sort of my marriage is better than your marriage, smug tone. It’s just a fact: we don’t really fight at all. We never really did, but from everything I’d heard, we were going to. And we haven’t.
The first three months have gone by very, very peacefully! Not very easily, but none of that has been down to our relationship or how well we get on. The weird thing is, not fighting, can almost give you a bit of complex. Theres a funny part of my brain that goes, well if everyone else argues should we be arguing? Is there something wrong if we never argue?
I am aware of course after writing that down, how silly and somewhat crazy that sounds. But the idea does pop up. What a relationship in its early stages of marriage should look like is so generalized and drilled into our psyche that anything different, even if that different is better, can make you feel insecure. Ridiculous isn’t it? The mind works in funny ways.
I keep trying to remind myself of how absolutely silly that is and instead celebrate the fact that we get along so well! But I think it takes time to forget the things that pop culture has literally imprinted on your mind, and so the thought does pop up occasionally. And then I swiftly give it a knock round the head and its gone and I’m back in the bliss of a new marriage without fights.
Another fun cliche is that the first year of marriage is the honeymoon phase. That the whole year just stretches out as one long extension of those first three or four days after your wedding.
I disagree! If you know your other half well, and one would hope that you do if you’re getting married, its totally unnatural and an awful lot of pressure frankly, to imagine that the first twelve months or more, are going to pass with the heightened excitement and the feeling of freshness, that permeates your honeymoon. My husband and I didn’t live together before marrying but many, many couples now do.
So what’s that all about? Are you meant to suddenly erase all memory of your relationship and pretend that you barely know each other? Is everything meant to feel brand new when its not brand new? The idea is a little absurd. I’m actually glad that it doesn’t feel like the honeymoon phase. Because I’d like to think this is how we’ll always be, and I think it is! Because we’re normal people, acting like we always have, like we always will, and there’s no honeymoon about it.
The first year isn’t a honeymoon, its just regular life!
I don’t know about other newlyweds, and this idea of mine may slightly have been colored by the fact that I was in a long distance relationship for three years, where my boyfriend/fiance/husband used to visit for only a weekend at a time, work being demanding, but… I fully expected to do the whole date night thing! I imagined newly wed life was just one long stream of date nights.
Well, it’s not.
And thats actually totally normal and totally fine! But I think it can still be a little funny to get your head around having those planned date nights, to suddenly having all the nights, but (especially because we live very much in the middle of nowhere) at home, without the whole date element thrown in. Day to day life, managing your first home, and actually meeting on weeknights, throws a big old spanner into the idea of a constant stream of date nights, and that can be a bit of an adjustment at first.
One thing a lot of people glaze over when you’re getting married (and weirdly, they don’t glaze over this if you’re moving in with someone), is how differently living with a man can be. Men are just different. That’s it. That’s the long and short of it. Aside from personal differences, they are inherently different. And since your home is basically an extension of you, having two inherently different types of people in the same home, can lead to a bit of confusion to begin with.
The first few weeks can be just a little jarring, so it helps if you remind yourself that it’s totally normal.
And finally (for now) here’s a sad truth for the other girls out there life me, who dreamt of being the world’s best homemaker, freshly baked bread and all: You won’t bounce into homemaking like a natural. No really, you just won’t, yes, even you. No matter how many lists you make.
But, and this is an important but, if you give yourself a break, and take it slowly, you can get there one step at a time. Time is the key here. You get there, kind of. Or you get closer. But it takes time. I’m three months in and I still feel like theres a great chasm between where I am and where I want to be, when it comes to keeping house, but I am most, most definitely closer. Much closer. I mean, I have a long way to go, but you should have seen me in week three!
There is so, so much more to say about what married life is like. But hey, if I try to storm through it all here, what will I blog about next? So till then…