First of all, let me just thank everyone for their positive comments and all the feedback I’ve gotten on my last blog post. I never thought it’d hit home with so many people.
Thursday M and I celebrated our two-month wedding anniversary. It seems like it’s been more than two months (and I know I still owe y’all a wrap up, and photos, from our honeymoon on Pawley’s Island). I’ve had a lot of people ask me “So how’s married life?” And my quick response has been, “Just like normal…we’re just no longer ‘living in sin’ any more.” (We’ve been living together, with the support of our families, for more than two years now.)
But married life is more than just living under the same roof with your significant other for the rest of your life. It’s about being a team. You’re one team versus the world–it’s now about you and your spouse, it’s not just about you any more.
And as a team, you have to work together to keep the normal household things going–cleaning the house, cleaning the cat boxes, doing the dishes/laundry, making dinner, taking care of the animals, taking care of the finances, etc. It shouldn’t be about one person doing all the work, or it always being about one person does this and the other does that–it’s a mutual respect that you will work with each other. There’s no more “You” or “I” but “we” and “us”. And that’s hard to get over when you’ve been on your own for as long as we both have.
I grew up with my parents supporting me to be a strong willed, independent woman of the 21st century. I’m able to do things on my own–do my laundry, fix dinner, change a truck tire, check my oil. I am of the belief that the wife is not the one to do all the cleaning and cooking, and that the husband does not do all the physical work or financial providing. It’s about teamwork–we each chip in in every way possible. That means not only do I cook dinner, but M is expected to do so as well. I’m not one to sit back and let him pay for everything–if I have the money, I’ll chip in.
This morning we both chipped in to do a massive cleaning of the house. You might not think of that as a bonding experience, but when you don’t get to spend much time together, and it’s something you’re both working on, it can be bonding. You both feel accomplished when you look around and can take in the freshness of a clean home.
But we’re not the best team…we have those moments where things aren’t running smoothly, and you really can’t tell we’re “happy newlyweds”. Unfortunately, that’s been happening all too often lately, but it’s important to stop, step back, and think about why that is. You don’t want to be argumentative and point fingers, but you also don’t want to sit back and continue to let it happen. It’s a learning curve as to when and how to discuss things between you and your spouse. It’s a dance–how much to press and how much to bite your tongue. And you never stop learning this dance; one thing might be touchier than another.
So why am I writing about this? Because I think it’s important to share that not everything is perfect after you walk down the aisle. I’m not saying don’t get married, just realize that you’re not only planning your wedding, but you’re planning for the rest of your life. Remember to think about how you would want your marriage to be: do you want the traditional marriage with kids where you’re a stay-at-home mom, or do you both want to be professionals and live child-free? I’m not saying either one is the best choice, but it’s something important to think about.
You both should share the same goals, and have a few individual goals that you want to work towards. And you should both be vocal about those goals and support each other in your efforts to accomplishing them.
Don’t forget the romance–you have the ring, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still woo each other. Do date nights and weekend getaways to celebrate your love for each other. Don’t get complacent, because not everything is guaranteed.
Be honest with each other about everything (just watch how honest you are). You won’t accomplish anything if you can’t be honest with each other about your finances, your dreams, your expectations…just about anything. Holding out on dreams or expectations will only make you bitter towards the other, and that’s not fair.
OK, I’m off my soapbox for now… Best wishes to everyone!