One of my Weddingbee friends wrote yesterday about realizing how damn hard marriage is, and that post went up around the same time other people were discussing how marriage changes your relationship. Turtle and I were sitting on the couch together, my eyes glued to the screen, my mind deep in thought, so I turned to her and said, “What do you think has changed the most since we got married?”
Trust her to be in the same mental place I am, right? Um, no, wrong. She looked at the dog at our feet and the cats, one on either end of the couch, and then at me: “Uh, our animals started getting along better?”
For us, so far, marriage hasn’t been Super Especially Hard, or at least not harder than we expected. But I wonder how much of this is because we sort of expected marriage to be really hard. Several months before we got married, someone on APW (I can’t find the exact post) mentioned that she’s been told marriage isn’t about getting through hard days or hard weeks – marriage can be about getting through hard years. And at our premarital counseling stuff, our minister sat across from us and laughed and said, “Sometimes you really just don’t even like each other.” She laughed like, you know, she knew what she was talking about, like she’d been there. “Sometimes,” she said, “You just want your mom.”
And then the other part of it is that so much of what sealed our decision to get married was the Hard Stuff. It was that Turtle could handle my sitting in the kitchen, just sobbing and not being able to stop; it was that I could handle her losing her job and subsequent depression. It was that we figured out how to talk about the really big stuff or how to say “we need to talk about the really big stuff.”
The third part of it that I’m toying with is that there has also been so much other life stuff happening; if we needed something to be angry or anxious or stressed out about, let’s try job stuff or family stuff or sick and/or neurotic animal stuff. I think that maybe all of this circumstantial difficulty has given us the option of falling apart or deciding How Our Marriage Is Going To Work.
Guys, I am super duper for sure NOT saying we have it all worked out. I am not saying we have answers or that our marriage is winning (though, ahem, it is winning for us!). I am just thinking about why it hasn’t been as hard for us as other people (or as easy for us as some other people). It sure hasn’t been sunshine and roses… but instead of waking up and being (as we saw on Mad Men yesterday) all, “WOW, someone is making me dinner and it will be waiting for me when I get home! Marriage is awesome!” we’re all, “Wow, this hard thing is happening but there are arms to hold me and ears to listen when I get home because that’s what it means for us that we are married.” That, and also we are silly a lot. There is a lot of giggling.
Has marriage been harder than you expected? Easier? Are you expecting sunshine and roses or big changes or no changes at all? Who had a honeymoon period beyond their honeymoon? ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS. Just kidding, you can answer just four of them.