I suppose whoever said, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” was right on the money. These last 6 weeks have been a blast. You see, 40 days ago I knelt across an alter and made the most significant covenant I will have ever made. Marriage was something that up until this last year was so foreign to me, but now seems so familiar. For any soon-to-be’s or long-to-remembers, I’d like to share some of the insights I’ve discovered in the 6 weeks I’ve been married.
The First Week: “Is this real?”
Week one is about as accurate as most people might describe it. You keep finding yourself looking down at your hand and saying “Wow, we really did it. I’m married now.” It’s definitely an unusual feeling, especially going from a life of going home at midnight and living an otherwise celibate lifestyle, to all of the sudden, having no rules or restrictions anymore. It’s like sleeping on a firm twin size bed for 26 years and then one day you’re upgraded to a California King with memory foam. You almost feel like you shouldn’t be enjoying it so much… but definitely not enough to stop. To top things off, you’re usually on a vacation in an amazing place on your honeymoon (ours happened to be Puerto Vallarta). There were several times where I thought to myself, “Maybe we should see what everyone else is up to.” But then, of course, realizing that there was nobody else. It’s just you and your spouse taking on the world together now. And that’s such a refreshing change of pace in life.
The Second Week: “The slow adjustment to reality”
Now we lucked out in that we got married in the summer. My wife is a teacher, and I was able to get two weeks off of work. So naturally the second week was basically our second honeymoon. We were back in the states but still on vacation. It’s in this week when your lives really begin to merge. By this point you’ve already determined which side of the bed your sleeping on, each others’ sleeping-in pattern, and so on. You lay in bed and update your social networks together. It’s all the adorable things you see in the movies. It’s new, and it’s fun. It’s the more realistic part that people probably wish would have lasted longer. My second week of marriage was almost as fun as my first. It was the honeymoon after-party, and it was a blast
The Third Week: “The organizing week”
So this week really was a testament to the slight OCD nature of my spouse and me. All of the sudden we lived together and we had LOTS of things to organize. Presents to open and sort, gifts to return and exchange, electronics to buy, names to change, fridges to stock, pictures to upload, people to thank, and a million other things. While we wanted to just enjoy things. We also wanted to just get going on things. The longer we waited the longer things would take, and we figured we’d just keep our momentum. The third week was the first real stress of the marriage but only in silly things, like picking a vacuum or deciding which types of sheets to buy. It may seem like not a big deal but odds are those sheets you’ll have for the next 5-10 years, and so you better choose wisely. This is how you start to think about everything you buy. I can’t tell you how many vacuums I looked at until I finally just picked one. Its fun though, in its own kind of way.
The Fourth Week: “Real life begins”
At this point in marriage things are in fully in motion. You weren’t just married last week; you’ve been married for a month now. The novelty in conversation has mostly worn off and life has truly begun together. By now you’ve been to the grocery store several times. You’re on a pattern for taking out the trash and taking turns saying prayers. You’ve finally landed on what show on Netflix you’re going to invest into (Ours is Parks & Recreation right now) and most of all, its not weird to think of yourself as married anymore. You call your spouse your husband or your wife instinctively now and your thought process now has a permanent caveat: What would my spouse think of this? It’s really embracing the next phase in life, and it’s truly wonderful.
The Fifth Week: “Disagreements”
However, not all of marriage is so picture perfect. All of the sudden some of those things that you didn’t think would become issues just might have become a hot-button at this point. A certain habit that was overlooked in the bliss of the beginning of marriage is now a sour spot in your conversation. But everything can be talked about. We still are proud to claim that we’ve never truly “fought,” but that’s not to say we haven’t had our gripes about certain things. The most important thing to do is communicate. Single guys develop less than admirable habits living with just guys for several years. And girls usually develop a certain way to do things living with other girls or living alone. You have likely never cohabited with the opposite sex, and it has its growing pains. But it’s important to talk about them and recognize that you are both working to improve. Does that mean you have to sacrifice some things? Absolutely. But you are embarking on a journey together now, and all of our actions should be in the best interest of our counterpart.
The Sixth Week: “Planning ahead for real”
As we hit our 40th night and 6th week of marriage, we finally began to really plan our lives together. We talk about our lives in 3 years or even 5 years. They are things we talked about when we dated, but now we really talk about them. We commit to supporting each other no matter what. We discuss the idea of kids (not having them right now, but planning for the future is smart). And most importantly we talk about how we want to spend the rest of our lives together.
I was single for a fair amount of time. It was fun but never fulfilling. People often say to be selfish and be single for awhile. While I think that is fine advice, I would definitely recommend keeping that stint as short as possible. Life married is a life worth living. That’s not to say that single life isn’t fun and doesn’t have its own blessings, but it can also be kind of like quick sand. It has an uncanny way of just sucking you into it with no hope of escaping. But eventually we all find someone to pull us out and enjoy the rest of the journey.
Marriage is the best. 40 days later I highly recommend it.