Occasionally, I’ll be posting some of the most inspirational posts from the Conscious Weddings message board. What follows is one posted by ChristmasBride2006, who also wrote a guest blog here two weeks ago. She was one of the most wise, honest, and supportive members of the boards and I know continues to provide support to countless women through their wedding transition.
I know one of the biggest things that helped me when I was engaged was hearing and seeing a “true picture” of what marriage/married life was like. Prior to that, none of my close friends were married nor did I have a lot of experience seeing an “insider’s view” of marriage. It was basically this big mystery to me about what happened after you said your vows. So when my parents opened up and talked to me on a peer level about what marriage and daily married life was really like, it helped me a lot and put to rest many fears about if my own relationship was good enough, right, normal, or if it was all wrong.
I hope that this can help a bit from someone who’s on the “other side” (even though I’m not a very seasoned married woman!)
My DH and I have been together for over 4 years and married for just over one year. We’ve always had a very easygoing, amicable, friendly, comfortable and to be honest, very easy relationship. We don’t really fight a lot, we get along very well, love each other very deeply and treat each other with respect. The first 11 months of our married life was also this way… lots of fun, full of love and laughter… truly better than anything I could ever imagine or had hoped for when I was engaged and full of fears, doubt, and anxiety over getting married. Neither of us are very confrontational people, and we just get along so well that there are hardly any conflicts. That’s not to say we don’t have our differences, but the conflicts rarely rose to the point of arguing or having a heated discussion. This is also not to say that the way my marriage operates is right and everyone else is wrong, or vice versa. Just trying to give you a good idea of how DH and I operate.
So as most of you know, DH and I just bought our first house together. The last two months have been an incredible test of our relationship. I knew that DH and I had very different tastes, requirements, and even spending habits. So I was surprised when it only took us 6 houses to find “the house.” Things were a little bumpy, but nothing that I didn’t expect. In fact, I expected us to have conflict and disagreements about buying a house, so nothing caught me by surprise.
What did catch me by surprise was all of the fighting, tears, stress and anger that ensued AFTER we decided to put an offer in on the house. It was very stressful for DH, who has never been in debt his entire life and has always been very financially secure and safe. To suddenly be in debt – even though it’s GOOD debt – was really hard for him.
Your spouse is the closest person in your life from now on. They will know things about you that nobody else knows, they will be the person you spend the most time with. I love my parents, I have a very close relationship with them and they know me like the back of their hand, but my husband knows me much more intimately than my parents or sibling or best friend. So you can imagine that when you get stressed out, the easiest target is your spouse, because they are the person you are most emotionally invested in. Call it the first big lesson we’ve learned being married, but as the tension and stress kept building, we kept nitpick, nagging, and finally ready to rip each other’s head’s off …. by the time our offer was accepted! We still had to go through the entire closing process, which took another 3 weeks.
We fought. A lot. About really stupid things and about really important things. For the first time since being married, I thought to myself “did we make a mistake?” This wasn’t a thought coming out of anxiety or fear like I had when I was engaged, but of sadness, frustration and hurt because it felt like we’d strayed so far from that disgustingly loving, blissfully newlywed couple that we were just a few months ago.
Well, we finally closed on our our new house yesterday, and have been busy packing and moving and cleaning. This experience has been the first real test of our relationship in probably the entire four years we’ve been together. As we were reflecting on the whole process last night, there were a lot of apologies and tears and forgiveness coming from both sides, which doesn’t come easy for either of us.
The reality is, marriage takes work, and sometimes it’s not fun. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, but it always requires work. I was terrified of how much we were fighting, because we’d never fought this much before. But there are ALWAYS going to be storms during your life, whether you’re married or not. Sometimes being married makes things harder. I honestly think it’s easier to buy a house on your own rather than with another person! Marriage requires us to not only love each other, but to work at having a life with each other, which means sharing decisions and responsibilities.
There are going to be times that you feel highly disconnected from your spouse. I think that’s what bothered me the most. My DH is not an analyzer like me, and doesn’t spend time in his head, but we were both pretty guilty of having been wrapped up in our own minds/worries/fears for the past two months. So we weren’t connecting or allowing ourselves to be stress-free like we usually do. The thing I look forward to the most about moving is not the house, but that we get our lives back, and essentially, we get our marriage back to the place it was before we decided to embark on the house-buying adventure.
Not everyone is going to have as many problems as DH and I did over buying a house… and my point is to not scare you, but hopefully put out there that no matter who you marry, life is going to throw you a curveball at times. Marriage is a huge learning experience… a lesson that doesn’t end just because you made it past one year or fifty years. You are continually learning things about love, commitment, respect, trust, communication, commitment, etc. You don’t have to know all the answers the minute you say “I do,” and neither will marriage be 100% blissful the entire time.
I love my DH more deeply today than I did the day I married him, much more deeply than I could ever imagine. But that love had a chance to grow even more when we were faced with some tumultuous times. Our relationship is FAR from perfect, and it never will be. What’s the excitement in that?