A year ago, I was a week away from my wedding. I was excited and nervous and had a list of things that still needed to be done. I just wanted to share what it’s been like since then, in case anybody is feeling overwhelmed by the list and the budget and the handmade out-of-towner gift bags… but now, I’m just married.
When I talk to older relatives or friends, they ask what “surprises” came up in our first year of marriage. They have a crazy grin on their faces, excited to hear us start in on some spat about how I’m not a good cook or how he leaves beard hairs on the bathroom sink. They want us to admit that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
After I got that question a few times, I started to wonder what we had learned in our first trip around the sun together. There were, of course, some small housekeeping things (literally and figuratively) that had to be worked out at first — different styles of doing laundry, he likes red meat/I like chicken, the basics. But past that, there wasn’t really any new information to discover about Josh. I’ve known for years that he can be stubborn, and he needs an hour after work to collect his thoughts before he’ll talk about his day. These things weren’t shocking to me. The uncomfortable moments came when I realized that I didn’t have as much patience as I thought, or that I hold grudges, or that I wake up angry if we go to bed after a fight.When I see the unconditional love that Josh has for me, it inspires me to be the kind of person that warrants that love. I could get away with my not-so-nice tendencies when I was on my own because they only affected me. But now that I’m part of this unit, I can see the responsibility that we have to each other to be the best people that we can be. I want to be kinder and more forgiving so that I can be a better emotional support to him. And as I grow, it motivates him to do the same so he can continue to feel like he’s earning the respect and love that I have for him. It’s the best kind of feedback loop, really. We are constantly learning.
Aside from that, the biggest thing that’s changed post-wedding is how at home I feel. When we were dating and engaged, we lived 600 miles apart. I had a large group of friends, my own apartment, and a job that I loved. I paid my bills and went to class every day and just all-around felt like a grownup. I was in charge of my life! I did what I wanted! But… now as I look back at that time in my life, it strikes me that I don’t feel like that person anymore. I loved watching movies with friends and being incredibly busy, but the overwhelming feeling as I look back is loneliness. I was missing a large chunk (approximately half) of myself, and I didn’t realize that that half was Josh. Now that we can share meals and read books in bed together, I feel like my heart has been restored to the condition that it was meant to be in. I can ask questions about what we’ll name our kids someday, because I don’t have to be afraid of that freaking him out. If I have a bad day at work, I can come home and cry and complain and not worry about the fact that I probably have snot all over me. And when he has a problem with a friend or school or whatever, it’s finally starting to sink in that I am the person that he’ll come to. It just takes away all those worries and soothes your soul to know that you’re both in this for keeps.
So. A year after our beautiful, personal, joy-filled wedding, I get to rest in the fact that I will always be growing, and Josh and I will be holding each other up every step of the way.