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Us: Six Months


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

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.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18209861350905135093 LPC

    Congratulations. Marriages should be built on these conversations, rather than the rush to establish. Have a wonderful weekend.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11575834126606152875 miss fancy pants (the bride)

    Congrats! And thanks for this post. Sometimes I wonder how different it will feel to be married to the Mr. after being with him for 5 years and living together for almost 2. Sometimes I worry that we'll get home after the honeymoon and say "oh yeah, everything is the same as usual" so this was reassuring. Have fun in the cabin!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17184897773597853597 Little Miss Southern

    Congrats on your 6 month mark!!! Yall are doing great!! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12997875522614810785 Mouse

    I'm infinitely glad we combined finances. It was bumpy, but it was absolutely the right decision for us. And now we have that feeling of security.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09063263956152791843 Annie

    Congratulations on 6 months! Our wedding is in October and my fiancĂŠ is graduating from Grad school in May. It's kind of scary to know you have a wedding planned in one city, but to be on job searches across the country. Yikes!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02189637917666578405 Allison

    CONGRATS!!

    I never thought that I would actually own a home because I felt like I wasn't responsible enough, old enough, rich enough but the beauty of getting married to this man is that he makes me feel/ know that things ARE possible! We talk and talk and talk about the future which really reassures me that settling our home in one place is a wonderful idea and that we are going to make a wonderful new life together.

    I hope you decide to start house hunting soon, there are some WONDERFUL places out here in the East Bay! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06008386302876377978 Lyssachelle

    YAY!!! Happy six month mark!

    And you are so right about the quiet weighing and measuring of dreams. My favorite part is the offhandedness that we talk about major life-changing events that didn't seem previously possibly. How we'll be sitting, watching TV or reading in comfortable silence and one of us will pop up with, "How about Elizabeth for a girl?" or "You know what we need in our house? A window seat in the kitchen…"
    We are not having babies or buying a house any time soon, but it's fun to talk about with the casual air you'd talk about lunch plans or what to watch on TV.
    Marriage? Awesome.

    Hope you have a great time this weekend!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06395803606683052002 Giovanna

    i like that…the quiet weighing and measuring of dreams.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Miss Fancy Pants
    We were together for 5 and lived together for 2, and friends for 14. Still felt different to us, very different (though it doesn't for everyone I hear…)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01390627453974953641 Frugalista

    6 months down and many more to go! Enjoy your getaway. We are going to be merging finances too. It's tough for me being the control freak that I am but it's a good thing. It feels like we are really going to be a team in this together. As for the house. That is happening right now and it's freaking me out. It would cost us almost as much to rent a house as to buy one and I am SO OVER condo living. Its about space, stability, and tax breaks. Knowing you won't ever have to move and knowing its ours together.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09184364574718960796 Carly

    Thanks for the post!! I'm getting married this year and so nervous about combining finances :/

    I know we will pull it off and I hope it works out as well for us as it sounds like it is for you guys.

    happy 6 months!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05750659066802561501 Erika

    On merging finances: we did this a couple months after we got married. Looking back, I don't know why we waited so long. When we were cohabitating, there were periods when each of us was unable to work, and relied on the other's income to large extent. So we already felt really comfortable with that even before we decided to get married. So I have to assume it was the getting married bit that finally pushed us to officially merge finances. Funny. I chalk it up to that whole "well, we must be grownups now" feeling that came with marriage for us (we also made living wills around the same time). BTW, I think it's fine for married people to keep their finances separate if that works for them. I think there's an assumption that of course finances are merged when you marry, but I can imagine that some people have good reasons not to, emotional or practical.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18182268757502634911 sera

    Yay! Congratulations and have a wonderful weekend! I am just a little jealous of your time away in the woods. sigh.
    I'm so glad you touched on so many of the things I've been contemplating in the last few days specifically. Since we've been married, the way G and I talk about things is so much more specific and thoughtful than it was before. Now, our conversations reflect more of how we are on the same page and less about big if's.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13811559996670448379 Emily Takes Photos

    A sweet post, happy 6!

  • http://happynappybride.wordpress.com/ happynappybride

    I'd love to read a post about how you're merging finances…that's a scary thought for me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06985820953743653787 Ms. Bunny

    Congratulations on your six month mark! I hope you and David have a wonderful time celebrating in your cabin. I look forward to the day when I can experience what you are.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06206689296805893265 east side bride

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03367631935043016430 Mrs T

    Congrats on six months. Time goes by so quickly!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15899239356088557995 Amanda

    Happy resting, my dear.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13664243089308088678 Cynthia

    I really enjoyed reading this- your introspection and honesty is refreshing. Combining finances is something I know will be incredibly hard for me emotionally. There's a letting go there that is terribly frightening. Congrats on the six months!

  • Jessica

    This is the good stuff – the stuff we will remember twenty years from now. How lucky we are to be able to be in a place where these decisions are ready to be made.

    Congrats to you & your husband Meg – the best is within the present moment. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05922091596290930281 Celia

    you just made me realize that we were at 4 yesterday. it was feeling like 2 max. weird…

    we've been together for just about 5 years and have been living together for, well, just about 5 years*. for us being married does somehow feel the same… but a much better version of the same.

    take lots of time to just be. :)

    *obviously not recommended for everyone.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13596258557995933741 Lila

    Wow, so true. We've been married 4 months and it seems like 4 weeks! I feel all we do is plan and dream about the future, that sometimes I have to remind myself to just "be" and enjoy now…but planning is so fun:)

    About the finance merging…for us, I didn't have anything to merge with him (little/no income for a while due to illness)so his money has to be my money and he just gives it to me coz I'm his wife and that's what you do when your two! (I do feel a little guilty sometimes but I figure I'd do it for him too).

  • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com/ fionalynne

    "a quiet weighing and measuring of dreams"… that's so beautiful. We've been married four months yesterday and it's been an interesting period of thinking and reflecting and planning. We've got married at a time when there's a lot of uncertainties in my work life and that has made the process more emotionally loaded for me, but I love feeling that stability that comes from being married to my best friend and hearing him say "we'll solve this"…
    Happy six months!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11338336369653930101 Adventures Along The Way

    I would also love a post about merging finances and other ways people deal with combining partially (or not combining) finances…

    Happy 6 months!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09429461617977961241 Janet

    One more for the teetering stack of "that Meg sure knows just how to capture it." Thank you.

    And Happy Six Married Months! Hope you've enjoyed a lovely time tucked away together.

  • Cate Subrosa

    I totally agree. For me, when we were finally married, it all suddenly made sense. All the stress, the discussions and compromises, the assimilation of our two families, it was all preparation for our life together. Planning a wedding feels crazy sometimes and I think that's exactly because the rituals have built up over time as a microcosm of the life you're about to spend together and lots of the big issues you'll have deal with together. That's why I love your term "wedding graduate" – people should do what they want, get married (or not) in the way that feels right for them, but I do think they miss something if they chose not to bring their families and friends together for it, because in missing all the stress they miss all those conversations, that married-life preparation.

    Happy half-anniversary, Meg. Have fun at the cabin ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16937115144838820243 Kristy D

    I've also really thought a lot about what will change when we tie the knot – by the time we get married we'll have lived together for over 4 years, and we already consider ourselves a "financial team" ("our money" not "his and mine").

    So it's nice to hear different people's perspectives on this – though it's hard to know which I want… I mean, I'm pretty damn happy as it is now, so I would be content if nothing ever changed, but who would turn down changes for the better?

    So, any other people's experiences on what they felt changed after marriage… I would love to hear it! Good or bad.

  • Sarah

    congrats!!! relationships in general (and marriage) should be all about sharing these plans and dreams. isn't that why we get married in the first place anyway? enjoy your getaway!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04914400071808547755 Sarah

    I love this post, and I love what you said about starting to "dream bigger" since you've been married. I've found that to be true for myself as well–I think there is a real stability in being married that makes it easier, for me, to dream about taking the risks needed to grow in other areas–career, for instance.