What are the first 51 days of marriage like? I don’t even know what to say sometimes. I’m happy, grateful, humbled, thankful, and honored to tears that God blessed me with a wonderful man. After our honeymoon we slowly began to reintegrate into society, navigating the new world as a first-time married, no kids having couple. Whether it was at church, work, or generally within our social circles we repeatedly answered the same question, “so, how’s married life treating you?” Here are my honest reflections about the first 51 days of marriage.
It’s not as big of a transition as I thought it would be. I lived alone for more than a decade and I score highly on the introversion scale, so how would him moving into my place work out, exactly? Would we wake each other up with our crazy work schedules? How will my clothes fit once I downsize from three to one-and-a-half closets? Will we get angry at each other for taking too long in the bathroom? Who will do chores? Will I get enough alone time? I’ve never lived with a significant other so I worried about how we would physically operate together under the same roof, but I’m proud to say it has not been an issue! *Say whaaaattt?!* We spoke about our work schedules, wake up times, chore assignments and the logistical things during our pre-marital preparation class so I didn’t experience the same shock some couples described. This is the magical key to easy living! We had open conversations before he moved in with the goal of agreement. When the time came for me to downsize closet space or for the laundry and dishes to be cleaned I knew what I handled and what he was responsible for and we stuck to our agreement. It was simply a matter of executing a plan, of following through on our word. Breaking it down like that seems so simple but I learned, from people who are divorced, not everybody invests in agreement before they tie the knot or let alone get engaged. Let’s keep it real – had I married a few choice ex-boyfriends, the ones that were quarrelsome, narcissistic, or emotional bankrupt, I would tell a different tale right now. I’d probably speak about how aggravating, difficult, or challenging marriage is. The more I think about it, if we didn’t both exhibit this character trait of compromise during our dating months I would’ve broken the relationship off and continued living as a happy single. Agreement is a powerful thing that I can see works extremely well when applied to married life. Thank you, God!
I did not lose my independence. I had this fear that I would lose my independence and it would be disastrous to my psyche, that I’d be subject to unspoken rules controlled by the bondage of marriage. There was no prior evidence this would be the case. He didn’t show any signs of being controlling or manipulative but my imagination wandered to the unknown. In the absence of facts I made things up and it only served to cause unnecessary anxiety. Silly me. I didn’t lose independence, I gained more freedom. I can still eat with my friends at happy hour, use my fun money to buy what I want, spend time working my hobbies. We trust each other and want to build one another up so the freedom comes from not having to fear the loss of independence. I thought marriage involved telling someone where you are and what you’re doing all the time but only after you’ve asked for permission. In my first 51 days that’s not been my experience at all. There’s something about the way he loves me, knows me, and treats me that makes me willingly offer these details without being prompted. He cares for me and it feels good to know there’s someone who has your back. My definition of independence has changed for the better; it is not doing what I want all the time, it’s being internally filled with so much love that I have the confidence, freedom, and peace to make solid choices on my own and to let someone else in during the process. Confidence, peace, and freedom set the foundation of interdependence as a couple. Both are needed to form a healthy relationship with your spouse and are what I’ve learned in the first few months together. I’m still a whole, independent woman who is beautifully connected to another. There is no loss in my eyes.
Changing my last name is SUCH a headache. They (the government) make it a pain in the arse! After the honeymoon I took a trip to the courthouse for certified copies of the marriage license, then I drove to the Social Security Office to sit amongst the elderly and freshly born. If only there was a way to do everything at the same time for free! But no, you have to do it sequentially. After about 10 days my social security card came in and I took that, along with more time off work, to sit at the DMV/MVA for hours to get a new drivers license. I ordered new name labels and notified everyone under the sun (lenders, utility companies, HR, family members, etc) of my new name. The email address I used since high school was no longer relevant, so I created new email accounts and passwords, which needed to be remembered every time I logged in (password reset is amazing, y’all!) Oh, and the fun isn’t over yet. I still need to fill out new passport paperwork, take two pictures, and pay the fee all over again. Everyone knows me by my old last name and question who this email at work is from and whether their query is routed to the right department. I’m still waiting on access to certain software platforms at work cause the name change triggered a bunch of issues in the system, too. Whenever I see my new name I can’t help but think to myself, “who is that?!” then remember a hot second later that, “oh yeah, haha, that’s me!” It was a choice I made to change my name and I stick with it, but if you venture to have your name changed, too, it will be a huge pain. You have been warned!
I do a bunch of weird stuff. I knew I had certain habits and preferences before, but now they are now illuminated by the 24-hour witness of my Hun. I like for all the doors and drawers to be shut before bed because of the hypothetical “rats” that could be hiding. I’ve never seen a rat in the seven years I’ve lived in my apartment but they could be waiting, watching, lurking, looking for me. I like to do the splits on my mattress before bed because it’s a good stretch. I like the top of the tub of butter to be smooth with no holes, so I scrape neatly from the top and around the sides. Only a barbarian would plunge the knife or spoon directly in the center of the butter and scoop out a chunk, duh. I didn’t realize these things might be seen as odd to someone else until Hun came along, married me, and moved in. He didn’t judge, he just chuckled, shook his head, and exclaimed, “that’s my babe!”
I’m much better at ignoring other people’s expectations. As a single girl it seemed as if everyone was interested in my love life. They’d ask, “are you seeing anybody?” or “so when are you going to find someone?” The worst is when they openly questioned my lack of a partner, as if I had control over men and when they were supposed to ask me to marry them, “what’s going on? Why are you not married yet? You can’t be single forever!” Que eye roll and defensive arm crossing. You’ll be happy to know that the invasive questions don’t stop. Instead of asking why I was single the conversation now shifts to the details of our wedding, the choices we made with vendors, the honeymoon location, or when we’re supposed to have kids. Sometimes it seems like they ask us these questions in order to judge, or so they have an opportunity to judge, and insert their own “expert” opinion. Maybe it makes them feel good? Maybe they have issues with jealousy and comparing themselves to others? Maybe they are projecting their own psychological issues on me. I don’t know but it’s unsolicited and annoying…but now that I have an additional person to combat these pressures with me I feel my personal boundaries strengthen. Now I’ll reply, “we’ll have kids when we’re ready” and not entertain their pleadings to get started sooner rather than later because that’s what they did or what they think we should do. “We had a fabulous time in Mexico, it was perfect for us. Maybe you can go to those places you mentioned on your next vacation.” There is no need for me to justify decisions we agreed on to anyone else. They can talk as much as they want to because guess what? I don’t have to listen. I have the power to choose what conversations I want to be a part of and having a spouse who feels the same way adds an extra boost of confidence to my swag and to our decisions. If I feel their tone is critical or find their incessant pleadings to do as they say annoying I can kindly assert my boundary or walk away. No stress, no hard feelings. As I walk away I can also high-give my supportive spouse and continue along the path God has for us. Deuces!
I love him more now than when we were dating. The old saying “time will tell” what is true is so true! I’ve had the pleasure of having a person who made a commitment to Me, God, and the legal system that he would love me until death do us part. I can see now, better than before, how he lives up to that commitment all day everyday. I’m amazed at how kind, respectful, patient, and good he is to me. Like, he even does chores without complaint because he knows I work hard and wants to take the burden off me. Unbelievable but it’s true! Sometimes I’m still in shock at how great he is and I am so thankful that he’s in my life. The depth of his love makes encourages me to love harder. It’s funny how the economy of love works, but I am just thankful that we can share our hearts with one another in a safe, happy, and free environment. I love that man!
I’m sure there will be more thoughts in the next few months but hey, we have the rest of our lives to live. Here’s to living the next 51 days and forevermore with the best man in the planet!
Photo credit: All photos taken by Photography by Tracie. She’s amazing, you should hire her today!