I can’t believe it.
So many people have told me that their first year was the hardest. I don’t think Tim or I would call this a particularly extra-difficult year. We did so much to prepare for marriage: Took our time dating and getting to know all our ins and outs, talked to experts about how to get through fights, negotiated our roles and responsibilities in the relationship.
The number-one thing I wanted to avoid — that I felt I could avoid — was having the excuse, “We rushed into this.” While I know many marriages and relationships that have excelled after a short courtship (this is NOT about you, it is about me, and I’m not just saying that, I really mean it), I knew myself and knew that I could find myself blaming any of our problems on “rushing into it.” And what happens if I think that you rushed into it and that I’m fundamentally flawed as a couple? I’m more likely to want out. So I knew that there was no way we’d be getting engaged or moving in together without hitting certain milestones. I don’t want to go through a rough patch and then feel I have any justification for getting out of the marriage that has to do with “not knowing what I was getting into.”
We’ve been married one year now, which makes us no experts. (1 year = 8760 hours, not 10,000 like Malcolm Gladwell taught me.) But it counts as a milestone. Throughout our first year of marriage, we’ve traveled a ton, made life-changing decisions, started a Google doc about ideals of how we’d like to raise kids (more on that later — and no, we’re not starting a family soon). We’ve done a lot, and it’s tested our marriage, and our marriage has definitely proved itself on solid ground. We’ve laughed way more than we’ve cried — even when both of our flights to Australia totally screwed us over, even when our cat had multiple medical emergencies that cost thousands of unplanned dollars, even when our closet collapsed in the middle of the night and even when I decided not to go back to a desk job. We haven’t even really gotten questions from friends and family wondering when we’re going to start popping out babies. (THANK YOU FOR NOT ASKING. IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS BUT ALSO YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT AND OURS IS THE ONLY OPINION THAT MATTERS BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONES WHO WON’T BE SLEEPING WELL FOR 18 YEARS.)
Sometimes I fondly and enviously remember the days when I did whatever I wanted all the time. I could go out five times in a week, I could spend money on whatever I wanted, and I didn’t have to do anyone else’s laundry. And as cliche as it may be, as much as I loved my life then, I still vastly prefer life with Tim, even though I miss some things about my life before. Now, I can still go out five times in a week if I really wanted. I still pretty much spend money on whatever I want, though big purchases are shared with Tim first and any time we decide not to buy something it’s because I really didn’t need it. And while I definitely do Tim’s laundry for him, at least I do it in our in-unit washer and dryer, as opposed to in my old apartment’s poorly-maintained laundry room (that inexplicably got someone else’s gum on my clothes twice). Also, you and I both know that Tim’s wardrobe is as easy as it gets.
I loved being single, and for different reasons, I love being married. And I love knowing and proving that we’ll work through any of our issues, whether proactively and preventatively, or by facing them as they come. Since our first year of marriage didn’t kill us, I’m waiting to discover what phase of our lives almost does. (I’m assuming it’s when we have a toddler and a newborn — right? Or two mouthy teenagers and we start disagreeing in front of them?) Whenever it happens, though, I’m ready. I know we took our time, and that we chose each other, and we will always choose each other. ♦