“How’s married life?” will be the most annoying question you’ll be asked repeatedly before your official marriage license comes in the mail. I don’t know if it’s because people are so used to marriages going straight from the church to hell, or because they really don’t know what it's like to be married, and don't know what else to say in regards to what seems like such a life-changing event.
When my cousin told me I that had "the perfect relationship" last weekend, I almost laughed, thinking about the last time my husband and I argued. We had to get our nine-month-old's ears re-pierced after no one (*cough* my in-laws *cough*) noticed that her earring was missing for a whole day. I yelled, he slammed the bedroom door, and the baby sat looking confused.
Although you may be scrolling through your Facebook friends’ dream wedding pictures and happy status updates about married life, you better believe you’re looking at the highlight reel. What you won’t see is how much the senior prom queen can’t stand her sister-in-law and how frustrated her husband is with her expensive hair extension habit.
While I’m not exactly filing any separation papers, here are some things about being married that I’ve learned after my first year in a marriage.
1. You Won't Stop Being Attracted To Other People
Being attracted to someone else is not about not being attracted to your partner. Long before he put that ring on my finger, my husband knew that this girl was nursing an epic crush on none other than Toronto’s finest, Drake. I’ve twice taken a 10-hour bus ride (one time while seven months pregnant) to attend Drizzy’s hometown festival, OVO Fest. And my hubby doesn’t hesitate to tell me that he wants know where Tamron Hall’s secret tattoo is. The point is that neither us are trying up and start a new life with a Canadian rapper or a morning talk show host, and there is a lot more to love than looking good.
Being married doesn’t mean you don’t have eyes or hormones, and you’ll be attracted to both celebrities and regular joes alike. As long as you’re not disrespectful with it and keep you’re attraction in check, you won’t end up on an episode of Cheaters.
2. Most Times, Marriage Actually Doesn’t Change A Thing
The thing is, the most that will probably change in that first year of marriage is your last name and your address. And I was living with my husband for about a good year before we made our union legal. I knew he had a crazy work schedule, that he would leave his dishes wherever he ate dinner, and that he had a bad habit of killing bugs and leaving their corpses to surprise me in the laundry room. And I still love him anyway. If you really know what you’re signing up for, a piece of paper probably won’t make much of difference -- which can be a good and bad thing.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend was a lying, inconsiderate cheater beforehand, all marriage is going to get you is a lying, inconsiderate cheater of a husband or wife. You’ll just now be the beneficiary on that jerk’s life insurance.
3. People Won't Give Two F*cks About Your Wedding Band
For some reason, I thought sporting a wedding band and a 30-week baby bump would mean that fewer men would hit on me. But they'd ask to be everything from “a friend to talk to when homeboy f*cks up” to an “emergency stepdad” for my unborn child. Seriously, those phrases were parts of actual pickup lines. And some women will have no shame, either, and will look at your partner’s wedding band as an added challenge. Make sure you trust each other, because your rings will be nothing more than costume jewelry to some.
4. You Can't Just Leave
When you were dating, you could ghost or drop off the face of the earth after an argument, because your partner might actually be terrified that you wouldn't come back. In a marriage, you’ve got to get your cat at some point. It may seem obvious, but if you’re planning on spending your life with that person, you might want to deal with your problems instead of ignoring them. You can take a run or drive to clear your head, but don’t make a habit of running away from your problems, or taking them to everyone but your partner.
5. Your Decisions No Longer Affect Just You
I was pretty independent before I became someone’s wife. I was passionately climbing the career ladder, paying my own bills, and had a social calendar complete with Wine and Wii weekends with my best friend. Getting married didn’t require me to lose any of that and suddenly turn into some hipster Holly Homemaker, making my husband bacon and eggs in boy shorts on command. What it does mean is that I have someone on my team to so that I don’t have to conquer life on my own.
When someone recently left a side view mirror dangling off the door of my Kia, my husband stepped in and covered the cost, where I would have had to sacrifice a portion of my next paycheck to do so. But with extra help comes some give and take. You might want to run it past your spouse when your bestie needs a margarita sleepover night, or if you want to take $1,000 and drop it on a pair of designer pumps. Sharing a life and an address means respecting each other’s space, time, and finances so that you can plan a life of shared goals.
6. The Hassle Of Changing Your Name
I guess I thought that a magical marriage fairy comes and legally changes your last name through the power of a marriage license. But changing your name is a very tedious process which entails spending a day at the Social Security office -- which I actually have yet to do. I just recently changed the addresses on my mailing lists and driver’s license, because until then, I had been making weekly visits to my parents’ house to say "Hi"… and make sure I didn’t miss my student loan papers. You won’t instantly jump into married life with a new last name. You’ll probably be living a double life on paper for a while after your wedding.
7. The Roller Coaster That Is Your "Sex Drive"
One minute, your partner won’t be able to open a jar of spaghetti sauce without you wanting to drop your panties, and the next minute, you’ll just want them to leave you alone so you can watch Orphan Black. Maybe it's just that my postpartum hormones are still hijacking my body, but marriage has a way of playing mind games with you when the one you love is now only a wall away. There will be dry spells, but that doesn’t mean you’ve become “that couple.” Though if you see tumbleweeds blowing through your bedroom, you might want to break that stripper pole out the glass case.
8. Someone Will Have To Be The “Adult” In The Relationship
You will learn quickly that you have to choose your battles, and that it takes less energy and time to just pick the clothes off the bathroom floor than it does to bitch at your mate about them. When it comes to the arguments you’ll inevitably have (our first was over breakfast cereal), you might find that one of you is always apologizing first or walking away from the other while they are throwing a tantrum over who erased Property Brothers from the DVR. We call that person “the adult,” and it’s OK if it’s always you or never you, as long as someone is.
9. You’ll Stop Keeping Score
When you’re dating someone, you may take into account how many times you pay for dinner, do the driving, or whether you’re always the one to send that “Good morning” text. And if you’re tired of doing all the doing, you may want to speak now or forever hold your peace. Marriage isn’t as much about keeping score. You’ll cook because you make a mean-ass spinach omelet, while hubby can’t get even get rice right. He’ll drive because you’d get lost backing out the driveway. You’ll both fall into your natural rhythm and roles to contribute to your lives together because you want to -- not because it’s your turn.
10. Every Marriage Is Different, And Even The Same Marriage Will Look Different Over Time
Whether you’re saving the world one orphanage at a time like Angelina and Brad, or just want to look good and make music like Kanye and Kim, you’ll have your own style as a couple, and own it. My hubby and I are always the ones laughing obnoxiously loud in a restaurant or making random Meet the Parents references. But I also realize that there will be times that aren't so hilarious, and I'll have to hang in there with him anyway.
11. You Really Are Marrying Their Family And Friends, Too
This is great if you and your new sister-in-law are used to getting mani-pedis together on the regular. But when I married my husband, many of his family and friends weren’t familiar with me, and it took some getting used to them, one awkward moment at a time. You might have to keep yourself from choking a snarky mother-in-law who’s always commenting about your “creative” taste in furniture, but keep in mind that that same woman is the one who raised the awesome man or woman you married -- ancient taste and all. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to tolerate these folks on major holidays and birthdays, anyway.
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