One week from tomorrow, my husband and I will have been married for a full year.
Even though we’d been together for a few years and had lived together for quite sometime prior to getting married, our first year as Mr. & Mrs. has been a journey toward finding who we are as a couple.
We’ve spent more time over the last year exploring what we wanted our life to look like. Something that we hadn’t done much prior to marriage, because before that, it was almost as if we couldn’t see past the hard line of marriage that we both wanted to cross.
Prior to being married, it was all, how long should a couple be together before they get married, and when would be an okay time to move in together? What sort of honeymoon would we go on and how many theoretical kids would we have (if any at all)? Is spending the rest of our lives together something we both want and feel capable of doing?
Then there was the stress of planning the wedding, saving the money and waiting for happily ever after to finally come. The excitement of finally being married, whatever that meant. Belonging to one another, and embracing ourselves as a collective unit.
Here’s what I didn’t know marriage would mean…
Pressure to take another huge step. Once you get married, all the excitement and anxiety and stress and everything that lead up to that moment is suddenly gone. And life sort of stands still. It creates an intense amount of pressure to look for and take that next big step. For us, we knew what that next step didn’t look like… having kids (which of course was what everyone else wanted us to do). That’s just simply not where we are in life. While we can both see ourselves as parents someday down the road, neither of us really wants to be a parent right now.
For us, that pressure instead manifested in the way of figuring out where we were going to live. Buying a house? Building a house? Moving out of state? We considered all of those options before finally deciding to build. And when that fell through, we thought moving would be the right thing for us. Of course, then we took into consideration the fact that we were both fairly new in our careers, and we’d both recently gotten good jobs. Throwing that away didn’t seem logical. So we decided to stay, rent for another year, and then try to buy a home.
Aside from huge life decisions, there’s was the seemingly simple task of finding our routine. This was more challenging than you would think.
Prior to getting married, we didn’t have a routine because E worked nights and I worked days. So we pretty much always just did our own thing. Now that we both have day jobs, we’ve been able to work on settling into our routine as a couple. We tried getting into TV shows together, which worked for a while. Unfortunately, my restlessness didn’t let that last for very long. So once we finished The Office, and Parks and Rec, we pretty much gave up on that.
I always thought that having dinner together every night was something we’d do. But of course, that requires cooking every night which for me (as someone who works till at least 6pm M-F) is less than realistic. Plus, he gets home much earlier than I do, so we mostly just fend for ourselves when it comes to eating dinner. Every now and then it works out nicely where one of us is able to cook a meal, and we are able to eat together, and it’s always a really nice treat.
We’ve tried settling into other routines like walking the dogs, exercising, playing video games together, and a few other things, but none of them really stuck.
Earle and I love spending time together, but I think what we realized is that we’ve always known who we are as a couple. We are individuals. We enjoy our free time and we each have a slightly different idea about what we want to do with our time. So we spend a lot of time doing things separately, and then enjoying the heck out of the things we do together (as opposed to stressing out about finding things we can do together all the time).
I think the best routine that we’ve found is just that. I do my thing, he does his, and we sprinkle that with doing things as a couple here and there. Maybe taking a walk with the dogs, settling in for a movie, having a meal together, playing video games, getting together with friends, chatting about whatever, and visiting with our families. We don’t necessarily hang out everyday, which is strange, because for one, we live together, and also, that’s what I thought would happen once we were married.
I’m not really disappointed by this reality check though. It works for us. And in the end, that’s not really what matters. What does matter is that we are there for each other no matter what. We support each other and we are ALWAYS on the same team. Over the last year, we’ve become stronger than ever as a couple and we’ve found that we are quite content with how our relationship is. And we learned something that I think is pretty important. We don’t have to try to change it just because we are married now.
Instead we can simply live, and be, and as long as we have each others back, that’s all we need.