If you can believe it (I’m finding it hard to believe) on Tuesday David and I marked six months of being married. Six months already! How did it happen?
It has been, at best, a tumultuous six months. We’ve had shake ups on the work front, we’ve been dealing with facing grad school graduation in a terrible economy, we’ve had family illnesses to deal with. But, for all of the ups and downs, it’s been better somehow. Marriage has provided some subtle steadiness, a ballast, a deeper sense of reassurance that we’re in this together, and we’ll sort it all out.
Part of it is emotional, and some of it is real. We merged our finances after we got married, and that has changed our lives in very tangible everyday ways. In this rough economy, it’s fundamentally different knowing that there are two of us to provide financial support, and that if one of us can’t work, the other (hopefully) will. Right before the wedding, when I was struggling through the reality of merging our finances, I had a conversation with ESB about it, where she said something along the lines of, “Merging finances is the hardest part of being married, but it’s also one of the best parts.” Over and over these last six months I’ve found that to be true. As hard as it was (and for us it was tough) it is deeply rewarding.
As I take stock at the six month mark, I’m finding interesting newness. Getting married and being married has changed me in a million small ways, ways that I’m having to take time to get to know. It’s made me more free, it’s made me more complex, and it’s made me dream bigger. So right now, I find myself in the slow process on measuring and weighing dreams. We talk a lot these days about what we want, and why and how we want it. For example, we talk about owning a house, and how soon we’d like to do that. We weigh the pluses and the minuses, we talk about what sort of house we’d like to own, and what sort of compromises we’d be willing to make to do that. But more than that we talk about *why.* Owning a house because it’s The Done Thing To Do after you get married is not enough for me. I need to figure out why it’s personally important to us, and what I would hope to get out of it (turns out it has to do with rootedness, decorating, a small garden, a place to throw dinner parties, and room for a baby – one day). We weigh and measure the same sorts of things about children. How would we want to raise them? How would that be different than the way we were raised? How would it be the same? How do we want to live as parents? And simply, why do we want to do it?
It’s not to say we didn’t talk about these things in the five years we were together before we married, we did. But now, there is a different quality to the discussions, a weightiness, a thoughtfulness.
So if I had to describe what is feels like to be six months into marriage, I would describe it as the quiet weighing and measuring of dreams. It’s simple, it’s subtle, and it has a certain grounding practicality. It’s nothing like planning a wedding, but somehow, the decision-making that comes with wedding planning, and the ways in which it forces you to set boundaries and make decisions for your emerging family – its the best possible preparation for this.
(And with that, we’re off… we’re celebrating six months in a small cabin in the wilds above San Francisco, giving me time to write without interruption, and time for us to just be. I’ll see you here on Tuesday.)