When you’ve been with someone for 10 years, you think you know everything about them. But then you move in together and/or get engaged and plan a wedding and learn many more significant and not-so-significant things about your soon-to-be spouse (like their need for a four-tiered cake). The wedding day comes and goes and ALL other days following this day are combined to make your MARRIAGE.
When my husband and I got married a year ago, I had a vision about what our life would be like. I won’t say that the reality is better or worst, but it is definitely different. Here’s how the first year of marriage changed me:
I’m perfectly happy using my free time to Netflix and chill.
To be honest, being married and living on your own makes a person way more busy than if they were living with parents or roommates. All of the tasks you once split between three other family members are now your responsibility. Add to that the fact that you now have to budget time to see your family (instead of time to see your significant other) and friends and all those other social obligations and you’re left with no time to yourself. When we first moved into our apartment and later into our house, the first Saturday we had no plans was absolutely glorious. Mind you, that day didn’t come for three months, but it was glorious nonetheless. Compared to before marriage when I would become restless if I wasn’t out exploring the world, now I welcome any and all opportunities to disengage from the world and just relax with my husband.
I becomes a “we.”
My money and his money became “our money.” Then I was faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to spend “our money” on his birthday gift. It’s a weird situation because it’s like he’s buying the gift for himself, but not really. What if the gift I wanted to get him cost more than he was okay with? When before I would only be focused on the money that I earned and what to do with that, now I think about the implications of spending the money that we have earned together and how it will affect our unit as a whole.
In the same vein, you now make decisions as a team and get to do whatever you want without consulting anyone else. Ice cream for dinner? Sure. Spontaneous trip to Tokyo? Why not? Adopt a puppy? You bet!
You can do literally anything you want without having to care about the opinions of family or friends, because you are each other’s family and best friend. Maybe it’s maturity, but maybe it’s marriage.
Most things are not worth the fight.
After you get married, the reality sets in that you will be with this person every single day for the next 70 years. That’s over 25,000 days together. The longevity of the relationship really puts into perspective the pettiness of certain arguments. We could discuss you leaving your sock on the floor this one day or me leaving my cup on the table, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not important at all.
That being said, when big issues frequently recur, it is worth talking about, especially if you plan to stick it out for the long haul. Holding in your feelings only leads to resentment and that is as terrible for the relationship as nitpicking.
I have become hyper aware of my flaws and shortcomings.
Not because my husband points them out to me all the time, but because now I see how they directly affect another human being on a daily basis. My trouble with clear and effective communication leads to more misunderstandings. My poor time management skills mean I plan too many activities in one day, get burnt out, don’t get around to meal prep, so neither of us have lunch the next day. Of course, being an amazing husband, he never points these things out to me, but I notice them all myself and make a mental note to be better.
While I did aim to improve myself before I was married, living with someone who is not forced to love me because they gave birth to me has encouraged me to try even harder. Mostly because I feel bad that he has to deal with my nonsense forever.
Before marriage, I was a shopaholic. I used to eat out constantly, get many a spontaneous cup of coffee and place a new order for clothes or shoes on a weekly basis. After getting married and seeing how much my impulsive spending habits were stressing my husband out and, worse, sabotaging our goals as a couple, I became much more intentional about how I chose to spend our money.
My husband became my go-to person.
This is the change that was more difficult to accept, probably because I was so dependent on my parents’ advice. Before, I would go to my mom’s room to ask for her input on an outfit; now I ask my husband. I don’t necessarily trust his opinion on women’s fashion, but I ask him anyways. Actually, I used to call my mom about everything, from how to get out of plans I may have accidentally double booked to what we would be having for dinner. But my spouse has become my sole consultant on any matters that affects me and us.
Before marriage, my parents and brother were my immediate family. And they still are. But my spouse is my more immediate family. I check with him before confirming any plans, before spending what we consider “a lot” of money, whether or not to accept a new job. Of course I used to talk to my significant other about these things and took his opinion to heart, but he was only around for few hours every week. Now, he’s here ALL THE TIME. And that is an adjustment too.
Bonus point: his parents became my parents so I can now give them my honest opinion and set healthy boundaries, which are both very good things.
How have you changed since getting married? Share with me in the comments below!