Do you ever read about those people who "married their best friend" and sort of want to, I don't know, slap them? Or you hear about people who have a "perfect marriage" and want to hurl? Have no fear, you won't read any of that fluffy stuff here.
Our two little apartments became one very tiny apartment in October 2009. We married each other for so many reasons, our feelings about loyalty and honesty probably being the most important. But we also married for silliness and maple syrup and not taking ourselves seriously often.
Our marriage is unique in that neither of us subscribe to traditional gender roles. The Man has an MBA, but I handle most of the bills. He cleans a shower and vacuums like nobody else, and I'm good with a hammer. Of course, we do have some "traditional" jobs: I do most of the cooking, and he handles some of the more technical problems (wireless networks, argh!). Neither person rules the house, and neither person solely defines our mutual lives. Not everyone may agree with it, but that's what works for us.
The Man and I did not marry our best friends. We did, however, marry our best confidants. Our best friends, both married men (to other women), have been in our respective lives since childhood, and neither of us had any inclination to marry them. The Man and I being confidants, we allow each other that one extra layer that we never share with our best friends. We share much with our friends, definitely, but we aren't as consumed with keeping up appearances with our confidants as we are with our friends. It's that one extra layer that changes my friend into my spouse.
After almost two years of marriage, we've found somewhat of a balance between "us" activities and "our" activities. The Man plays indoor soccer weekly which allows me time home alone for crafting. On the weekends, The Man often plays computer or video games, and I get time to read or craft or bake. But no matter how late it gets or how hungry one of us is, we always have dinner together. We also, from time to time, read books together. We read aloud, taking turns, talking about the book afterward. Usually the book has something to do with our faith, but sometimes it's just a common interest.
The last thing I'll touch on here is something we learned in our pre-Cana classes. I remember one day specifically when we talked about the "romance, disillusionment, and joy" stages a relationship undergoes. We sometimes go through all three stages in an hour. Sometimes we'll go through a week of joy and romance only to find ourselves disillusioned the next. The arcs last months, too. And that's okay. Realizing that hard times happen and that they give way to better times keeps us going. We keep trying.
If there's one thing I've learned about married life in the last two years, it's that sometimes trying is all you can do.
From "Newlywed Life"
If I had known how much laundry I'd be doing once I got married, I would have run, run, run away! Hehe, it's actually not a huge deal to me anymore, but the first three or four weeks of constant laundry was enough to make me reconsider the whole thing. Now I manage three sorted loads each week, and thankfully The Man is an excellent sorter. Between the two of us, we have exactly zero pink socks. :)
Marriage is an organism unto itself. I had a pretty good idea of who I was marrying, but nothing--not classes, lectures, or talks from parents--prepared me for the incredible change my life has undergone. Freedom vanished, budgets skewed, and time had to be re-prioritized. Everything I do, from how I spread my peanut butter on my sandwich to how I drive has been explained in great detail, the hows and whys and whens discussed.
Nothing prepared me for how much work marriage is. Everybody says marriage is work, but nobody explains what they mean. I thought it meant over decades and a few rough patches, a little work here and there that added up to that mythical work. But marriage is flat-out-all-the-time work. It's coming to terms with petty arguments, miscommunication, and having to say "I'm sorry" even though you still know you're right (ha) almost daily that is work. It's discovering you married a stranger work.
We're still newlyweds. We're working on marriage every day. There's no magic line of advice to share or a bulleted list of what works and what doesn't. But we're trying.
And just over half-way in our first year of marriage, we're still in love! Marriage is absolutely worth the work.