The day after our wedding, a family friend was helping us clear the venue and said to me that being married is wonderful. You have a best friend for life, and someone who will always take your side and support you. I found that comforting and very sweet, although it’s too early for me to say if that’s what I too feel is the best thing about married.
It does take a few days for the wedding adrenaline to wear off. I felt like I was in a happy bubble for the first few days, as if nothing could burst it and I could take on the world. My first overwhelming feeling (right after the ceremony and continuing into the first week of our marriage) was relief. Much like Frodo, after he destroys the ring in the fires of Mount Doom… I share his sentiment “It’s gone, it’s done.”
There’s such a huge sense of completion after all the wedding build up. And to get through it with relatively few hitches, sunny weather and hopefully happy guests feels like such an achievement.
The next day after we were married I did have an odd moment when I suddenly felt trapped, for want of a better word. We were sat on the sofa and I said to Mr B “What if we get bored of each other though?” Marrying him was the right thing don’t get me wrong, and I want to grow old together… It was just a reaction to the commitment I think. I just looked at him and thought “that’s it, it’s you and me forever now”.
To counter that, on honeymoon we were driving along a road in Wales, and I had an overwhelming feeling of belonging, I looked at him this time and thought “yep, you’re the one for sure”- like we are a team and it’s us vs the world.
On our minimoon I did something I’ve never done before- I was ordering some wine and I used his e mail address and went through his wallet for our joint account credit card. What had changed? Before then I would have asked… (whether right or wrong) I felt that being married allowed me to do such things in our best interests. It was an odd change, an odd feeling that I had given myself permission to do it, and something that surprised even myself.
Michele Weiner Davis, says there are 5 stages in a marriage:
1. You’re head over heels in love
2. Reality sets in and the little things annoy you
3. There are 2 ways to see things- the other person’s way or the Right Way.
4. You realise that you’re not always going to see eye to eye.
(At this point a high percentage of marriages end.)
5. Then, finally you appreciate your differences, you actually like your spouse again and you value the history you have together, and want to make it work.
What happens if you don’t get married? Maybe you move through these stages anyway. And surely you might already be somewhere along this process, if as a couple you’ve been together for some time before marriage?
Ultimately, do I feel hugely different? Not particularly. I asked Mr B if he feels differently- he said not. 3 weeks on he still says not, I can’t decide if this is a guy thing or a personality thing that maybe he was particularly prepared for marriage, which isn’t a bad thing. Personally, I do feel very comfortable and happy; I think more ‘us’ rather than ‘I’. That not a huge amount has changed is probably in part due to the fact that we live apart, as I know I have to mentally prepare myself for living back in London after one month of seeing each other every day (the longest time we have spent together, for a year.)
The day after our wedding when we saw people, mostly helping us clear out the venue, everyone kept saying “Congratulations Mrs B…” Or “Good morning Mrs B…” Maybe this will sound odd but it felt like I wasn’t ready to be Mrs anyone- I need time to change and get used to the idea (or maybe I just didn’t start mourning my single life early enough?) To me it’s a process, yes in the space of a few minutes I was married, but I feel I need time to get used to being someone’s wife- to learn what this means, to grow into it, to give up some of my old identity and ways. I’m sure people would say you shouldn’t change for anyone, but being in a relationship means you do change, and you have to otherwise you have nothing. Surely marriage is not “what do I want?” But it’s “what’s best for us a couple?”
I thought with all the wedding planning that I would see this as the end to a chapter (and quite frankly a welcome one after 18 months of wedding planning). However, it feels more like the beginning of a new one. I’m not sure specifically what I’m looking forward to- holidays, hopefully a family, living together… Nothing of any exclusiveness to marriage, but it all seems to mean more. I can’t quite put my finger on why, and it sort of annoys me as I was adamant that I would just take it all in my stride and I wouldn’t become one of those smug married women that I particularly dislike the attitude of!
Dr Phil says that we should wake up every morning and ask ourselves, “What can I do today to make my spouse’s life better?”
I like this. I like the romantic idea that if we both do this then we will be happy. I probably like it also, because I believe I’m comparatively quite selfish and I am aware I have to factor someone else in to my world, to make our marriage work. And at the end of the day, this is a change I want to make, for Mr B.