I was debating writing this blog post for a little while now, it was a personal conflict on whether I’d just be rambling or if I actually had something to offer that many of us barely talk about. Marriage. Choosing between your flavour of popcorn vs. his.
I’ve only been married for a year and a couple months now so I am no expert (can you actually be one?) but, I have been in a relationship with that same person for 10 years now. Many people ask, is it any different? It’s an interesting question I used to ponder wondering whether it would actually be different. Once the cake was cut, the I do’s were said and we started a home- could it be different? I can honestly say- yes. It’s completely different than just gorgeous dinner dates and days at the beach duh!
Marriage is a whole other ballgame. Many hall of famers would agree.
Why? Because, everything you knew about each other starts to change once the honeymoon period is over, the 12-month itch, the routine, the danger of becoming a couch potato and packing on a few. The balance between selflessness and selfishness. You’ve been living for yourself and suddenly there’s this whole other person and extended family that you have to link yourself to whilst keeping time to pick up a book on your own.
You can blame Cinderella all you want ladies, even I grew up with the idealised version of what marriage is going to be like. The reality is it’s like the wave of the sea, we swell with intimacy, passion, and energy and then naturally wane through periodic episodes of separateness, quietness and space. As much as I may want to scream into a pillow, it’s never lasts forever. There are times when you want to love them and times where you want to be anywhere but here.
That’s just the one side of the coin.
Flipside. You constantly learn new things about each other. It’s quite fun. Even knowing the same person for 10 years, people change. Are you the same as you were 10 years ago? The answer will possibly be no.
I sure as hell have changed. My likes, dislikes, experiences, movies, interests it’s all changed. I can’t party like I am 19. That’s the exciting part. You have a whole new family that brings out different sides to you, it’s an experience I would never trade EVEN with the bumps and the bruises comes the adventure and the closeness.
The journey ahead is such a whole new slate, that you are writing a whole new book with experiences you can decide together with the person you love. I am not saying my instagram is filled with me & K declaring we have a perfect life but why live by society’s norms when you have the freedom to do what you want? Being imperfect by your own rules.
One of my friends asked me,
‘What do normal married couples do on the weekend?’
I replied saying,
‘What is normal? We only know, what we feel that’s normal. That may require sitting on the couch, it may feel trekking over to Kennedy Town park or doing a puzzle together.’
I read somewhere that people should take the first year off in marriage. Does that mean leaving your spouse in the lurch? No. It means take the first year off of your LIFE. ‘Focus on the happiness of your other half, so it makes sense to cut out the things that would draw you away from intentionally seeking your spouse’s happiness.’
Me and K didn’t implement this theory until 2-3 months after our wedding. We kept butting heads in so many areas of being partners that we forgot, it takes an effort to actually spend time and bond more. With work, my mnew job, late hours and stress I forgot what it meant to actually have a work/life balance. I had to make a lifestyle choice and take a job change which I did.
One of my best friend’s gave me the best advice ever, it happened after mine & K’s first big disagreement. We argued over ‘groceries’ and that we kept running out of things, and one of us would go pick it up which was frustrating and wouldn’t get what the other person needed. It sounds so silly now but at the time I felt so much pressure because I had a full time job, a part time helper and plus worrying about what’s in the fridge, what to put together for dinner and it just wasn’t a priority since I never had to worry about it before. I had to take a breather.
I spoke to my best friend who said, ‘sit down, communicate, explain what you’re dealing with and find a routine so that the responsibilities are split 50/50 since you both work long hours and full time.’ It sounds simple now, but at the time to put into action was such an effort although it made such a difference in our communication. We began to sort out grocery days, days to cook, breakfast schedules and gym routines. Things got smoother after that, now we share a joint calendar that reminds us of commitments, date nights and late night work events. It’s about prioritising and being organised – some days it means ordering in a pizza with messy hair and somedays my breath depends on my calendar. It’s how it just works for me and K.
This is my no-nonsense advice, go to bed angry! Everything is better after a good night’s sleep and a cup of caffeine. Not everything needs to be resolved every night before bed. Sometimes you need to reset, recharge and get some z’s to think clearly. You can’t be afraid of not liking each other. Then there are days where he’s making me a cup of joe in the morning and I just look at him to think how blessed I truly am.
The first year of marriage and the years to come is a constant effort to understand each other and make sure no-one says ‘I quit.’ There are days I wanted to just sit on a beach or hide under my bed till the next day, but he’s empowered me and made me stronger and I try to do the same for him.
It’s not always pretty but hey, sometimes you just have to give in even if you wanted sweet popcorn and he wants butter because the next time around he’ll do the same for you. That’s my two cents.