It’s been seven months since I got married. I think it’s time (or maybe time again) I take a moment to step away from the discussion of my perfect and beautiful wedding day and instead talk about what really brings us together today: Mawwiage (or Marriage if you aren’t playing a medieval priest during the ’80s). Obviously seven months is enough time to learn everything there is about marriage, so let me impart my wisdom unto you all now … or something along those lines.
I’ll let you all in on a little secret: As excited as I was about getting married, I was also kind of terrified. What happens when you head home from the altar? I’ve been crazy in love with Matt since I was 16 years old. We’ve always been best friends and the happiness our relationship has brought me has kept me afloat on the darkest days of my life. Marrying him and spending my life with him was a no-brainer. It was what I always wanted. The problem wasn’t thinking bout marrying him. It was fear of what would happen if our marriage didn’t last or our relationship significantly changed after we got married. Everybody always said “Marriage changes everything” but what does that mean? What if I don’t want anything to change?
Seven months in, I can tell you that actually getting married did change a lot of things for Matt and I. Our lives have been significantly better since we got married. We no longer have the wedding hanging over our shoulders — worrying about how to pay for it and if we’d even manage to pull it off. Actually planning a fun, successful wedding left us feeling more confident in our ability to do just about anything. Now, we can focus our time and energy on enjoying each other and our family and friends. We’re both really happy in our jobs, and we’re both really excited to meet the little one we have on the way. We also got a pretty sweet tax refund due to our newfound newlywed status (and Matt’s student loans/tuition) and that — coupled with the extra money in the bank that once would’ve gone to our wedding fund — allowed us to buy a brand new car!
Er, a slightly used car from 2013 but it’s new to us and the first car we’ve had from this century (our last was a ’93)
The list of awesome things that have happened for us since we got married continues on. We’ve got a lot of great things going for us, but I think part of the reason we can appreciate our prosperity in this time is because we were kind of put through the ringer prior to our marriage. We both endured unemployment and under-employment. Every time it felt like we were just getting our footing, we’d fall down again. We suffered losses that set us back and some we still haven’t (and will never) fully recover from. We were there for each other through everything and supported one another no matter what though. It’s not necessarily that these last seven months have been overly prosperous, it’s just that in the time prior to us getting married, things weren’t always easy for us and ultimately it made us stronger. With the wedding under our belt, we have one less thing to worry about.
That’s not to say that marriage is nothing but a bed of roses either. It’s wonderful to be married to my best friend, but there are challenges even we face. Being best friends doesn’t make handling our newly joint finances any easier. I mean yes, being best friends does mean that we’re not afraid to communicate with one another in a way other couples might be. We have a very honest relationship and we’re not afraid to say anything to each other. But there’s still the challenge of going from only being beholden to ourselves individually when it came to how our money was spent and suddenly having to answer to someone else and having to make decisions with that person about your financial future.
Take buying the car for instance: If Matt were buying the car himself, he probably would’ve taken the tax return we used as our down payment and bought a more updated version of our last two cars (the beautifully boxy Volvo 240) on Craigslist. I would’ve probably still financed the car, but instead gone with something like a mini-van … and then not been able to do anything with it because I don’t have a license. Instead, we spent several months checking out cars to find out what we both liked and were looking for. We debated back and forth on what we could actually afford each month based upon our salaries. We haggled, for the first time in both of our lives and got a really great deal on the beautiful Honda Civic you see in the picture above. We got something that was ultimately the best for both of us and we were equal partners in making the decisions relating to it. We’re also equal partners in making sure that we have the funds available to pay for it.
This car wasn’t just the first major purchase we made as a married couple — it marked the first time my name would be on a title of a car that we considered ourselves to jointly own. Unlike the other two cars we bought over the course of our relationship, it was actually mine, too. Since we’re both on the loan documents, I have just as much responsibility towards the car as he does. There’s some symbolism somewhere in there because marriage (and finances and children and all the other things that seem to go hand-in-hand with marriage) is the same way. Both our names can be found on that marriage certificate and even if these beautifully prosperous days where only good things seem to happen for us don’t last forever, we have an equal responsibility to one another and our commitment to keep this thing going as best we can. This was always true in our relationship prior to this (just like those other cars were mine too), but now it’s been formalized in a way that it never had been before. We’ve always maintained our happy relationship, no matter what was happening in our life. We’ve always fought to be sure we were on the same page. I realize now that as long as we work to keep our marriage together the way we always worked to keep our relationship, we’ll be okay.
Change is scary. I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant even though I’ve always wanted children and I know that Matt is going to be an amazing father. I was scared when we finally bought our car, despite all our calculations and research and test drives. I was afraid when Matt took his current job and when I accepted my current position (two years ago for me, mind you) because the road in front of us where these new things would take us was completely unknown. So far, though, for all of these things, the road has had it’s bumps along the way but we’ve been able to make it past them all unscathed. I jest when I say that seven months in, I totally get marriage and can actually profess to give any kind of real advice on how to get through it. I know there are twists and turns ahead of us that I can’t forseee and who knows how we will ultimately deal with them. I hope we will be able to do what we’ve always done before and maybe even figure out a few new tricks of the trade along the way. What I do know is that so far, we’ve made it through and the things I have been most afraid of have also brought me the most happiness. Not to mention there is literally nobody else in the world I’d rather in the driver seat/someday as my co-pilot than the guy I chose to make my husband. Unless of course, Han Solo suddenly becomes available. Then I’ll have to think about it.
(Also for anyone wondering, The title is totally a Supernatural reference.)