I know, I know what you're all thinking...what could you have possibly learned? It's only been five months! I'm not supposed to be "learning" anything, right? I'm supposed to be floating on a cloud of wedded bliss, feeding the hubs chocolate covered strawberries and taking long walks on the beach.
Well. Turns out, you can learn a lot about yourself, about your husband and about what kind of marriage you want to have smack dab in the middle of the "honeymoon period." Here are the ten lessons I've learned from being married (thus far!):
1. Nothing really changes.
When people ask us, "So, how is married life?" I don't know how to respond, simply because it's not much different than dating and living together life. Besides my last name, not much has changed. Whatever your relationship was like before you got married is what you'll have as newlyweds. Marriage is not a magic eraser for problems, nor does it really complicate things.
2. Yet it feels different.
I still get butterflies in my stomach when I hear myself say the words "This is my husband" but more than that, there is something to be said for being legally bound together. Even more than I did five months ago, I view us as a team, one solid unit that works together on just about everything. Although this security was definitely in place before we got married, knowing that there is someone who 100% has my back is comforting.
3. Fairytales still take work.
When I was younger, I'd dream about the man I was going to marry. I waited 30 years to find him, and he is more than I could ever have hoped for. After we fell in love, I'd dream about our wedding and how beautiful a day it would be. And it was! However, finding and marrying the man of my dreams wasn't the end-it was just the beginning. Now it's my job, our job, to keep the dream alive and it takes effort, day in and day out.
I'm quickly learning that it's no longer my way or the highway. My husband's wants, needs, opinions and goals are just as important as mine, and sometimes we don't see eye to eye. Where in the past we would have agreed to disagree and done our own things, now we are making a concerted effort to think through problems and issues together. This means that we are both becoming well versed in the fine art of compromise, and it's definitely a struggle, although a crucial one, from time to time.
5. I love my husband more than I ever thought possible.
I've been in love with my husband on some level since the moment I met him, and my affection for him has grown exponentially ever since. Now that we are married, our love seems stronger each day. Although I hope I was a giving and caring girlfriend or fiance' before, now I find myself eager to express my love for my husband in small ways every day, whether it be by making him his favorite dinner or by simply telling him how much I appreciate him. My happiness is a direct reflection of his happiness.
6. Nothing is perfect.
Just last night, exhausted after a weekend of moving into a new house, we got into a stupid argument about silverware...really, really important stuff, guys. I was upset about it for hours after, beating myself up in my head thinking that we should NOT be fighting and worrying about what it all meant. This morning after a good night's rest and a gallon of coffee, I realized that a silly little fight doesn't mean our marriage is flawed. We're tired, displaced and stressed out and it came to a head, so we snapped at each other over what knives and forks to buy. If we start having daily arguments, I might worry, but for now, it's ok for us not to be perfect. We're in love, but we're also human.
7. The wedding was just a day.
For as long as I obsessed over planning my perfect wedding day, it was over in a flash and I was left with leftover sparklers and a shiny new husband! If I can channel as much energy and dedication into my marriage as I did into planning my wedding, there is no doubt we will have many happy years ahead of us.
8. The only timeline that matters is our own.
Inevitably, the moment you say "I Do", everyone and their mother (and probably YOUR mother) will start asking you questions like, "When are you going to have kids?" I've quickly, quickly learned that it is simply nobody else's business what reproductive plans my husband and I have. It's also easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, and feel like you need to keep up with your friends who are parents already or are trying to have kids. Our relationship is just that-ours, and our goals and dreams for the future don't need to be shared until we are ready.
9. People treat married women differently.
This one really surprised me! I've noticed that strangers and friends alike, heck even family members, have treated me a bit differently since I tied the knot. I feel more respected, almost like they changed from seeing me as a girl to a woman overnight. Of course, this could all be in my head (wouldn't be the first time) but even so, their encouragement makes me want to build a lasting and loving marriage.
10. It's scarily easy to forget the romance.
Although my husband and I are very romantic, I can see how it would be all too easy to fall into a life of routine. Date nights are quickly replaced by work, chores, responsibilities and bills...wash, rinse, repeat. My hope is that being aware of this pitfall will prevent us from ever forgetting what it's like to hold hands, or remembering how madly in love we are everyday, even the mundane ones.
If you've been married, what is your #1 piece of advice for a newlywed?