When people ask me how married life is, I can't help but say, "Awesome." I once believed I would never marry, because in truth, I think I found it more romantic to find a life partner you travel the world with and together shirk all the social mores about marriage and career and tradition. I liked the idea of never having to officiate anything because what would a piece of paper do anyway? A license doesn't make a commitment. Just like having a religion doesn't make you a good person or having money doesn't make you happy. When people ask me if I feel there's a difference, I can't help but say, "Yes." In many ways, our lives are the same. We were living together for years before we married. Our routine is very much the same as it was before we said I do. The stresses are the same, the date nights the same, but the difference is in the moments when I find myself stepping up in a way that I didn't when I was "just a girlfriend." When I erase that thought He can fold his own socks with the act of folding my husband's socks I catch myself smiling at the simplicity of it all. I wonder if we never got married if I ever would have folded his socks for him. I wonder about respectability and value and identity. I wonder about all the big things within the small things.
I can't pinpoint what feeling it is that makes me feel a surge of warmth when I hear him say my wife. I can't explain why I suddenly don't remember if he owes me $10 or more often than not, when I owe him. And even better, I can't explain what it means to me when in venting about my finances for the week, he hands me an unexpected $20 bill. When we talk about our joint savings account, a new one we opened just before the wedding with one specific goal in mind, we have shifted out of the mindset of are we both contributing 50/50 and into the trust that one of us may be up and one of us may be down but in the end we'll get there.
We have always been building a life together, for almost six years now, but now we are building a family. Even if it just the two of us for a long time, we are building our family, helping each other achieve our individual dreams, taking care of each other not just for the present moment but for what lies ahead, for who we both become, and we have created the most awesome 2-person team I could ever want. I don't think it is the license that has inspired this shift. But maybe it is the trust we have given each other. Maybe it was in planning a big celebration and arguing over things that didn't matter to cover up the fears we were really experiencing and successfully pulling it all off. But I think some of it is due in part, despite my younger ideas on love and marriage and romance, that getting married was the most romantic thing we could have ever done and it allowed us to fall in love with each other in a completely new way. It gave us a new kind of love and respect for each other - the kind of love that doesn't mind folding his socks.