Notes From Inside The First Year Of Marraige


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Notes From Inside The First Year Of Marraige | A Practical Wedding

You guys -

I have so, so, so been wanting to write about marriage recently. But I just can’t get myself to do it… I’m too ‘in it’ right now. David graduates from Law School this week, we’re booking tickets for an international flight to celebrate our one year anniversary* (we’ve decided the time is now, and we’re going to travel, damn it), and we have no real idea what happens next but we’re excited and scared all at once. And it’s huge. And it’s amazing. And I’m so glad I get the chance to do this, and be this.

But I do want you to go read the note Jordan wrote to her husband on their five year anniversary, because that’s exactly what marriage feels like to me.

And maybe next week, when I’m married to an (un-licensed, having not yet taken the bar, but still) attorney, I can tell you how it feels.

Meg

Picture: Emily Sterne took this picture at the apartment of a Team Practical couple. They called these “the wedding books.” Ahhh… you guys are great.

*In August. Tickets are being booked now, flights are being flown in August at the one year mark.

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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  • Marty

    Booking tickets! How fun!
    Have you decided where you are going yet?

  • Sarah Beth

    Well, when you’re ready to write about it, I’m all ears! :)

  • http://www.sarasheehy.com Sara

    Congratulations to David, and to you both! I hope you’re going somewhere spectacular.

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kim

    Where are you jetsetters headed?

  • Kira

    The honesty of this post has me smiling. T

  • Theresa

    Exciting! Happy one-year! OW-OW! :)

  • meg

    Sorry all – not one year yet. Sillies. Will make the title more clear. We’ll be TRAVELING for our one year anniversary, in August.

  • http://www.verhext.com verhext

    Where are you going?? Exciting!!! I’m finally getting out of the country in June, for the 1st time since 2003 — I counted back and could NOT believe it’s been that long.

    All prosperity magics & congratulations to David – not the least of which because you need some space to focus on this site & where it goes in the future?? or other projects? and getting out of an office!!! Or maybeeee I’m just projecting.

    • meg

      Not projecting….

  • Ky

    Congrats to David!!! (And you, because when grad school is involved, it’s BOTH partners who get through it!)

    Oh, please write about marriage. I am in it myself and have been checking Reclaiming Wife obsessively. There is just so much that isn’t said. That needs to be. And I know this website is my best shot at hearing it.

    The funny thing is, I comment so very much more now, on the other side of marriage, even though I was here twice as much as an undergrad. I guess that means keep up the good work, Meg!

    • meg

      GOD yes, it’s both partners who get through it, particularly in this economy. So, thank you.

    • Margaret

      No kidding… I would’ve ditched grad school way before the diploma, without my guy’s encouragement. (Cheers to David and to you, Meg!)

      And re: marriage:

      “There is just so much that isn’t said. That needs to be. And I know this website is my best shot at hearing it.”

      Yes, oh yes oh yes. Anyone read “Here Lies My Heart: Essays on Why We Marry, Why We Don’t, and What We Find There”? I got it from the library expecting some thoughtful meditations on partnership, love, maybe something we could use at the wedding, etc. (I’m still a wedding undergrad, btw… 41 days!).

      And although there were one or two essays that were okay (i.e. I liked parts of them), I put the book down last night feeling overwhelmingly discouraged about marriage and the stories that come out of marriages, even the so-called stable ones. I tried to tell myself that it’s an “older” book (1999), that the authors are all probably of a much different generation than I, and that SURELY we marriage doesn’t have to be this dull prison or crazy child-rearing factory.

      But it’s hard to tell yourself, over and over again, that somehow, you are going to defy the odds of most everyone you hear about (from poets of the 17th century to celebrity couples to your mailman). I know it’s a challenging adventure, and sometimes I wonder if we’re crazy–to pledge to love one person forever. But at the same time, I can’t NOT marry this man, my lover and friend of 5 years, simply because I’m afraid that *someday* we might not be as giddy, as thrilled with and by each other. But must we come to loathe and resent each other?

      At the end of the day, I tend to agree with Mark Twain when he wrote, “There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account; there is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

      (all this to say that yes, i am craving more marriage discussion… in any forum).

      • caitlin

        what a beautiful quote! i’ve never heard it before, but resolve to live by it from now on. thank you!

      • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ Sarah K.

        “I know it’s a challenging adventure, and sometimes I wonder if we’re crazy–to pledge to love one person forever. But at the same time, I can’t NOT marry this man, my lover and friend of 5 years, simply because I’m afraid that *someday* we might not be as giddy, as thrilled with and by each other.”

        THIS, exactly. My fears and excitement and endless blind hope, all rolled into one. It’s a towering cliff of promises, and we don’t know what happens on the other side, but we’re doing it anyway. Because we have hope. <3

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

        EXACTLY, EXACTLY, EXACTLY!!!!

  • http://www.wedding-for-two.com Ellie (EDB)

    Many many congratulations to the both of you :). And yes, the time to travel is always now!

  • Chelsea

    Congrats to David! This Friday my fiancé will be officially halfway done law school… it simultaneous feels like he’s been at it forever and that the time has flown by. The end of his finals has always been a marker in my mind that the wedding is close, because he’ll finally be right there next to me working on the wedding instead of up to his ears in tax law. Once his last paper is turned in, I’ll feel like we’re in the home stretch! And congratulations to you, too… as I’ve learned in the last year, law school isn’t exactly easy on the student’s partner.

  • jolynn

    Congratulations to entire Meg’s baby family! So happy that you will travel and dream and live. Look forward to reading when it coalesces.

  • http://www.thesassykathy.com the sassy kathy

    congratulations to both you and david! such a big accomplishment, and i can totally relate to the stress… jared takes his last final on wednesday. WEDNESDAY. then done with law school forever. WOOOO! (then just a matter of taking that silly Bar….)

    congrats :)

  • Julianna

    as a fellow grad-school graduate this week, congrats to David! and to Meg! It absolutely is a joint effort (and thanks for the reminder to thank my partner, again and again, for his support through my dissertation process).
    looking forward to more marriage conversations!

  • Alyssa

    YAY! Congratulations on that AND the upcoming trip!!
    As someone who works in legal affairs and is surrounded by lawyers and people about to be lawyers, I know you are both will be breathing a HUGE sigh of relief once he gets through this. Everytime I complain about one of my grad classes, I look at the poor 2nd year law students and then I shut my mouth…

    And I echo the sentiment for posts on marriage. As an almost-married, I don’t think I realized how amazing and heart-wrenching and beautiful and tough it was going to be. And it’s one of the best things I ever did…

  • http://www.msawesome.com ms. awesome

    thank you for that letter. that is hands down exactly how I hope to feel one, five, ten, and fifty years into the future. Awesome. AND I hope you’re going someplace awesome!!!!:) Congrats!

  • ddayporter

    I keep hitting the exactly button but still wanting to say YES. Exactly!

    Thanks for linking to that letter Meg, I sure hope to look back 5 years from now and see all the things we’ve put on our to-do list checked off.

    congrats to you & David, on the graduation and upcoming anniversary vaca. really looking forward to more marriage talk, whenever you feel inspired to talk about it (or someone writes to you with a guest post? anyone? I can’t volunteer, I’m too newly minted).

  • Rose

    My husband and I just passed our two year anniversary and the short story is I LOVE BEING MARRIED!!

    The longer story is that I love having a partner, a true partner in every sense. From big, big, big life decisions like looking for land to build our dream house, to starting our own ‘tradition’ that I make him eggs for breakfast on a Sat (which I don’t eat) and he makes me coffee (which he doesn’t drink), to him making me dinner every Tues when I’m home late from yoga and me making us both lunches for work.

    I just really feel we’re a team and it’s us against (and with) the world. The sense of freedom I have from planning a long term future and making plans with a partner is so empowering and not what I expected or predicted when we decided to get married. I feel more myself now as a Mrs (a title that still sounds really weird to me) than I did unmarried. Strange, but wonderful.

    Sorry for the lengthy gushing, but I just feel so strongly about how amazing being married can be!

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

      that’s how my husband and i look at it too!! us against (and with) the world! we call ourselves parnters-in-crime and even used the term in our vows. i love it. :)

  • Ivy

    Many congratulations to David on graduating from law school! On being a partner while he studies for the bar: please make sure he 1) takes time to exercise (and shower, really), 2) has a no-studying-final fling over 4th of July, and 3) studies hard but doesn’t become obsessed or competitive with his classmates. And forgive him if on your anniversary trip you have to remind him of conversations you had during June and July. :)

    On marriage- I am also very interested to hear what you, Meg, and other newlyweds have to say. I personally am finding the first year of marriage (I’m 11 months in) to be pretty hard. Maybe not everyone feels that way, but it would be nice to know that others think it is different than being engaged or not married, and that there are things about it that are challenging to even put into words. Sorry this is an inchoate thought. Again, I look forward to more on this topic.

    • meg

      Sounds like you need to write something and send it to me, huh?

      I don’t know that I would describe our first year as hard, exactly, which means I probably can’t start the discussion you need to hear. And if you need to hear it, other people do to. So get writing.

    • http://www.puppiesnpancakes.blogspot.com Kristi

      ohmygoodness, yes. I love my husband and I’m glad we’re married–most days. No one really talks about all the other days when I can’t figure out why in the world I did this. Marriage IS hard. Super hard. At least for some of us. And it’s a bit annoying that all I ever hear about are super sweet, happily married newlyweds. It’s usually people who have been married for a long time that admit that the first few years (or even all the years!) are tough. Marriage is not for the faint of heart.

  • kahlia

    Seriously, you guys (gals) are the best! We’re still 2.5 months out, but y’all are getting me even more excited!

    (And Meg, if you end up in Italy or Spain, let me know, I can provide travel tips and such. I lived in Barcelona for 4 years before moving to Florence this year. :)

  • Casey

    Yes, please please please dive into more marriage/Reclaiming Wife talk! There are many big and wonderful discussions to be had!

    • meg

      Maybe you need to write something too. Or send me some question. Nudge, nudge. Sometimes y’all forget that I don’t have multitudes within me. I can only write from my limited experience, or on questions I’m asked.

  • Tarynne

    Hi Meg,

    Congrats to you and David on the grad school completion !

    Read this article today on ‘Why Marriage Matters More than Ever’ -thought it might resonate with you.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/why-weddings-matter-more-than-ever/article1552958/

  • sarah

    i just finished my first year of grad school (tonight.. i took my last final of the semester)! did i mention i’m getting married in only a month? yea… it’s been a hectic year to say the least! i did worry a little about how our relationship might fare… we’ve gone through our ebbs and flows, usually depending on how many assignments i have due at any given time! the past few weeks, as the wedding approaches, and i’ve had SO much to do, had been especially stressful, so i’m glad to have at least one burden off my shoulders for now.

    so i can only imagine how relieved you may be that the rollercoaster ride of grad school is over (for now anyway, until YOU decide to jump on the ride) for your relationship. a little down time would be nice!

  • Beth

    I am a constant reader and will be married in a month (!). And this is my first time commenting :D

    The minute we got engaged, I found myself worrying about actually BEING married. Some of my fears: our marriage turning into my parent’s marriage (which ended in divorce 2 or 3 years ago but probably should have ended much sooner), us falling out of love, societal expectations/stereotypes about wives/marriage seeping into our relationship (in my mind, I replay this weird sitcom-like scenario: my guy is at the bar with his friends, and his phone rings. His friends ask “who is it?” and he says “it’s my wife” and they all grimace and roll their eyes and look at him with pity.)

    I’m afraid that the beautiful relationship we’ve cultivated over the last 2 years will suddenly wilt under the weight of words like “duty,” “commitment” and “marriage.” I understand that these can be beautiful, meaningful, enriching words, but in our culture, they are simultaneously expected and LOATHED.

    Recently, I realized that part of my fear of our relationship changing drastically is based on this faulty logic that our love *happened* to us, that we got *lucky.* If this were true, it would mean that we are perhaps similarly subject to chance/fate in terms of our future relationship. But in reality, we helped make and create our relationship, our love in small and large everyday ways. We have done a lot of emotional work (being open, being honest with ourselves and with each other, putting each other before our own pride, etc.) to get where we are, and we should be proud of our relationship! When I think of it this way, I am less fearful about the future, because I feel like we have more control over the nature of our relationship, and will not be subject to the dynamics seen on tv, movies, and amongst some of our unhappily married friends/family.

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ Sarah K.

      “…I realized that part of my fear of our relationship changing drastically is based on this faulty logic that our love *happened* to us, that we got *lucky.*
      …But in reality, we helped make and create our relationship, our love in small and large everyday ways. We have done a lot of emotional work to get where we are, and we should be proud of our relationship! When I think of it this way, I am less fearful about the future, because I feel like we have more control over the nature of our relationship…”

      Sorry for chopping, Beth, but that right there sums up my fears and feelings, and is the thing I need to remind myself. We WORK at this relationship, and that’s why it’s awesome. If we continue to WORK at it, we’ll be fine. We can’t just sit back and go “oh, we’re married, done” and wash our hands of it; signing the piece of paper doesn’t mean that we stop being IN the relationship. Thanks, Beth!

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

    We just hit six months last week. I am with some of the others in regards to challenges. It hasn’t been hard-exactly. That isn’t quite the right word. I love being married, but it definitely has had its challenges. There have been moments where I wished I wasn’t married out of sheer frustration-mostly with myself. Marriage is challenging yet rewarding. It has been very illuminating to say the least.

  • holly

    good luck to him on the cal bar!

  • http://love-vs.blogspot.com Vilija

    I couldn’t bear to read all of the replies in the new reclaiming wife thread (spent hours reading and reading when the name change topic was posted). I am feeling that one year bubble here too and the first proud moment I had to be recognized publicly as a wife was at Trevor’s graduation (a mere week after our wedding). It was somehow more awesome and meaningful to be a wife in that moment than just arm candy, a girlfriend, or even a fiance. Somehow wearing the label of wife made my contribution to his career and success more than just that cheerleader-type in the wings.

    Congrats to you & David.

    p.s. I’m brewing up something for your wife page…