The Surprise Good

As Meg mentioned in her Letter From The Editor yesterday, the internet has a way of magnifying the bad (the good too, but a lot of the time, the bad). I see this particularly when it comes to our relationships. When we’re mad at our partners, or when we feel like we’re in a slump, some days it’s just easier to hole up in a room and practice the art of rumination with our internet friends rather than turning our energy towards change. And while occasionally this can be helpful (sometimes you just have to vent, you know?), most of the time it just makes us sadder, angrier, and more focused on the things going wrong. So to combat this cycle, we want to focus today’s open thread on the good in our relationships.

Meg and I have talked about this at length with each other, but we both have a tendency to frontload our worry. Which means that when it comes to big life changes, we anticipate the worst, only to find ourselves pleasantly surprised by reality most of the time. It’s one of my worst habits, and it often leads to a spiral of everything that has ever gone wrong, ever, which means obviously this thing I’m about to do will also go completely wrong, obviously. Usually the only way to get me out of the funk is for Michael to remind me that the doom spiral I’m feeling is probably not real and in fact most things I’m worried about turn out perfectly fine.

So in the spirit of reminding people like me that The Good exists, today’s open thread asks: what was something you were unsure of before you got married, that turned out just fine? (Or even better, that turned out to be kind of awesome?) For me, I was terrified that marriage was going to take away part of who I am, but instead it’s allowed me to be a less-filtered, more-authentic version of myself that I like so much better than before.

So now it’s your turn. What’s been your pleasant surprise of marriage? Let’s turn this place into an echo chamber of awesome today.

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  • Karen

    I have someone to laugh about farting with! My partner and I have the best balance of serious and silly. We can laugh with and about pretty much anything.

    She is also a fabulous exercise buddy. When we first started getting into an exercise groove, she went running by herself and I did videos by myself. I had no idea that joining her in running would add so much to our day and the way we communicate.

    And cooking! We both love trying out new and different recipes. We call them an experiment. If it didn’t work out – oh well, we’ll do something else for dinner. Not too many flops thus far but lots of adventure. Who knew cooking could bring so much laughter?

    Being loved for exactly who I am gives me the security to take new risks. I always know that she’s in my corner. Seeing her smile makes everything worth it.

    • Aly

      “I always know that she’s in my corner.”. This. This is my favorite part of being in a partnership. :) Seeing that little sentence typed out just filled me with happiness.

    • Moe

      We blame all the farting on the dog, even when she isn’t in the room. It’s awesome.

      • Catherine

        so do we!

      • Memo to self: get a dog.

        • Karen

          No dog necessary (although we have two). A great sense of humor is!

        • Or a cat.
          Or a fish.

          All things we have blamed farts on.

        • “Barking spiders” were always my dad’s go-to response.

          Personally, I’m just looking for more excuses to get a dog. :)

          • Paranoid Libra

            My husband uses the barking spiders, or mud ducks. And for the the ones that I wonder if he accidentally shat himself is always blamed on Sasquatch(it’s how it says it so that’s how I’m spelling it).

        • Mira

          This is off-topic, but last week’s Fresh Air was about stinky farts (haha), and they quoted a gastroenterologist who said that getting a dog was what he recommended for his patients. The whole interview is really worth listening to.

          • Kate

            That was about Gulp right?

      • We blame the cat.

      • Lisa

        We blame it on the dog even though we don’t have one!

      • MDBethann

        We blame it on whichever cat is in the room.

    • Farting is an excuse to say “I love you” and a burp results in being called “sexy”. Sometimes it’s more of “oooh it’s a good thing that I love you” but I love that we have that as part of our relationship.

    • Sheila

      I love that even in a high-minded community like this (at least compared to your typical internet comment zone) there are so many comments about farting at the top of the thread.

      My two-year-old frequently proclaims: I tooted! So clearly in our house, farts are to be claimed proudly.

      • One More Sara

        My 4 year old always (fake) laughs really hard and yells I FAWTED!! EXCUSE ME! HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAA.

  • The good thing about marriage I realized after the fact was that because my husband loves me, he wants what I want. I’d feared marriage would be all the crappy versions of marriage I’ve been exposed to but it turns out that being married can actually be fun, fulfilling and it can give you a greater level of security than you’ve ever had before. Who knew?

  • Moe

    I had heard so many stories about the adjustment period when two people first move in together. I think movies like to play up the difference too. We didn’t live together before getting married. I was convinced there would be a rough period of learning to share chores, medicine cabinets and closet space.

    None of that. So anti-climatic.

    • ANDREA

      Yes, we had precisely the opposite adjustment period. “Oh, we’re just cooking dinner and its basically an automatic nice date night?” “Oh, we can talk like grownups about chores instead of making passive aggressive comments about dishes like in my student houses?” “Oh, we have a bedroom with two closets?” (okay, that one was a bonus.)

      • Moe

        oooooooh! Two-Closet-Envy!!!

    • I found this to be true as well. There was definitely an adjustment period of figuring out who was better at doing what chores, determining what we each prioritize, and compromising (e.g., it’s okay if the clothes don’t always get folded, but make sure they at least make it into the proper drawer). But living with my husband is a vast improvement over my last housemates!

    • Since he had lived in the house for almost three years when we got married, I worried that he’d feel like I was barging into his space and taking over, especially when I rearranged the kitchen cupboards within a few weeks of our marriage. He’s reassured me several times that it wasn’t the case. He’s even stopped looking in the wrong cupboard for the glasses by now. :)

    • 39bride

      Us, too! This has been such a wonderful surprise. There was stress early on as we were topsy-turvy in our routines, etc., but we handled it like grownups and had zero arguments of those kinds of things.

    • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

      This made me feel so much better! I was just having ‘moving-in anxiety’…

  • and

    Marriage has made me grow and stretch emotionally and mentally further and faster than any other experience in my life. In the beginning I didn’t think this was necessarily a good thing; but now I wonder would I have just stayed the exact same person and refused to grow in the big important ways that I have if it weren’t for my partner?

  • Granola

    One of the best things has been how subtly easier arguments and discussions feel. If you’d asked me pre-marriage if I thought we were both on the same page and in it for the long haul, I’d have said “yes” and I really think we were.

    But something about crossing that rubicon has really allowed (forced) us to raise our level of discourse and figure things out. Its as if we’re finally free to acknowledge that these decisions are going to be The Way Things Are in our family and give them their proper due. Which doesn’t seem like it should make things less fraught, but it does.

  • kathleenicanrah

    I thought getting married would mean that fights and differences would be fundamentally more important and immediate (you CAN’T be like this- I CAN’T be with someone who is like this forevvvver) and instead, getting married has taken AWAY the immediacy that often spiraled normal differences into huge fights. Now I’m like, eh, we have a very long time to figure this stuff out. Moving from the short game to the long game has done wonders for my stress level, and need to fix things now now now.

    • Wish I could turn my brain into this mindset. Instead I keep thinking when problems arise, “Noooo! I don’t want to be stuck in a dead end marriage – RUN!” Luckily I think my husband is in the much healthier realm of your mindset. I’m working on changing to be like you guys. It’s definitely a lot less scary a place to be in.

      • Granola

        For what it’s worth, I had/have those moments too. They were most intense right after we got married, but have seemed to decrease with time, and perhaps given me the space to work through things more calmly (not that we don’t still fight..).

      • kathleenicanrah

        For me, the long game means incremental change is okay, and things don’t have to be perfect immediately. Like, I HATE that he doesn’t “do” birthdays (in the perfect world, I want 10 presents, a fancy dinner, a surprise birthday party and maybe a hot air balloon/unicorn), he would rather say happy birthday when I woke up and be done with it. Rather than needing to “do it right” this year, I think if he does a little bit more this year than last? We’re good. For me, marriage surprised me by meaning tiny steps are allowed, and celebrated.

        • Whoever claimed, “Patience is a virtue” never met my virtuous ass.

          • kathleenicanrah

            ha!! I love it.

          • My dad tried to tell me that patience was a virtue when I was five. To add to the wow factor, he noted that Ben Franklin was the one who came up with that quote. My five year old response? “Ben Franklin’s dead.”

          • Kristen

            You should write a blog, “things I said when I was five.” no way was this the only gem you came up with!

      • Laura

        Oh man so this. In general things are good, but when they aren’t (like last week when we argued over who would walk the dog) I’m ready to pack up my car and go stay with my parents. I didn’t feel the need to flee so badly in the 4 years before marriage but in the last 9 months since the wedding I’ve definitely felt the way you do.

    • AshleyMeredith

      That’s such a healthy mindset. I can’t say I’ve managed that (and it will still probably take a long time to manage it now that the possibility has been pointed out to me), but it will be helpful to try to remember this. So thanks!

    • This was a huge revelation during our first fight after getting engaged- a mere week after he popped the question. It was one of our worst fights, but somewhere in the middle of arguing he stopped me and asked if I was worried about us. It turns out that it was the first fight we had where we weren’t worried that it would break our relationship- we had decided to be together, realized that we both wanted this to work, and that we had plenty of time to figure it out. Our minds were collectively blown. The feeling that we were in this together, both working to find a solution- it was pretty fantastic.

  • Erin

    I see him every night. Every. Single. Night. With no effort. I can look across the room and share some silly thought or ask a question. Or we can sit in the same room browsing the internet. Or we can be playing video games in different rooms but I can yell a question to him or go peer over his shoulder.

    There is a lot of joy to be found in just being together so easily. In getting hugs when you want them and an extra hand doing the laundry and an unexpected brush of my hair over the back of the chair.

    I like it a lot.

    • Moe

      We text each other from the same apartment. Or we post to each other’s FB page when we’re both home, much to the amusement of our friends who have replied “do you two ever talk?”

      • My mom gets a real kick out of following our comments back and forth to each other on my blog.

      • Jeanne

        Yes! Sometimes I’ll ask, “Would you like to stay tonight?”, and he’ll reply, “Are you sure?” Even after 12 years together, his smile and care for my feelings takes my breath away.

    • Maria

      Every. Single. Night. Yes! There is such a big difference between “going out” or “staying up” with him and “going home” to him. (We didn’t live together before we got married, but we lived next-door to each other, so I didn’t think it would be that dramatic of a change)

      I think it’s actually made me start going to bed earlier, because if I’m getting tired I can change into PJs and still hang out with him (so weird and fun), and then go to bed just a room away.

      • I definitely go to bed a lot earlier now that I’m married. I always told my dad, who always got after me about how late I stayed up, that when there was something more exciting than my pillows in bed I’d go to bed earlier.

  • KE

    I’m getting married Saturday so I’m excited to read all of these.

    • cathy

      @KE – Me too! Congratulations! <3

    • Congrats and best wishes, KE and Cathy!!

    • SarahT

      April 6 is going to be my big day too! Great timing on all the posts!!

    • That’s so exciting! Congrats!

  • SarahToo

    Leading up to the wedding I was full of doubts about our relationship. I was scared because I thought I had to feel “certain” that he was “the one” yet I felt anything but sure. In the course of many pre-wedding counceling sessions, I discovered what I was actually scared of was committment, and even of marriage itself. I had been secretly holding on to the possibility of bailing if things didn’t work out, and this was subtly undermining our relationship in ways I didn’t even realize. Post-wedding we’re at ease with each other in a way that has made our love feel solid and amazing in ways I never suspected it would. There’s this sense of coming home to each other, and of choosing to be in it for the long haul. Our love and intimacy has blossomed, and I have this feeling of confidence in “us” that I’ve never had in any other relationship. It’s truly amazing! Instead of being sure I wanted to get married, I got married and it helped me to feel sure.

  • KC

    No more dating options. It may just be me, but it is *awesome* to have at least one area of life that is settled/decided/finalized. It’s like certain forms of poetry – life creativity is sometimes actually *easier* to express within minor constraints, rather than when absolutely everything is up for grabs.

  • Teresa

    After living together for 4+ years before we got married, I truly did not think that I would feel any different. Boy, was I wrong. I felt different when we got engaged…after being pre-engaged longer than I want to be, when he finally asked and I got over the shock, I felt more comfortable because I knew where we both stood. I thought that would be the only change. But, once we got married, I felt that, magnified by 10. I feel like we are an unstoppable team. That as long as we are together, we can do anything. We have each other’s back in all situations, we communicate so much more easily, even when we are annoyed with each other. We cheer each other on, we celebrate each other’s little victories, we take risks together. Coming from divorced parents, I really didn’t know what a truly happy marriage would look like, so I was a little apprehensive. Realistically, I know not every moment will feel quite this wonderful (and not every moment of our 7 month marriage has been rainbows and unicorns), but I feel stronger because I know my partner believes in me and believes in us and that has been the most wonderful, unexpected feeling.

    • Mountaindoozy

      My parents divorced at young age and my mom’s remarried and divorced several time since then, I have so much anxiety that I won’t “know how” to have a good marriage. Your post gives me hope.

    • Jessica

      This makes me feel so much better. I feared that nothing will change for the better after we get married because we’ve been dating and living together for so long.

    • I agree with every part of your comment. I think the part that surprised me about marriage is that it DOES feel different than not being married! I kept thinking- after 4 years of living together…how could it be different? But it is. And that is good.

    • Sandy

      A long, long time ago, Meg wrote about “ambition squared” after her wedding. She said she felt that she could accomplish so much more now, thanks to David’s support and love (I’m paraphrasing. Everyone should read the post). When my graduate career gave me the opportunity to travel and present on my research area, I told my husband how much I felt like “ambition squared” really applied to us too. That was a year ago and I still feel it.

      The best part, however, was 6 months ago. My husband is also a grad student and had been encouraged by a number of professors to pursue a Phd after his MS. When he finally decided that this was the path for him (He’ll be applying in fall!), he told me that he felt he could do it because I was there. He turned to me in the car and said “Ambition squared, right?” and I totally burst into tears.

      So that’s the good in my marriage: someone to listen to me rant about something I read on the internet and then remember it 6 months later.

  • Though we aren’t yet married, my partner and I moved in together in October, which adds a whole new dimension to a relationship. It is much more Real and feels like The Most Right Thing Ever, but sometimes it is hard to remember that you love another person when that person keeps. leaving. their. mail. everywhere. Everywhere!

    We are also in the midst of a marriage-prep course, which highlights our ‘strength’ areas and our ‘growth’ areas. Now that we live together, it came as no surprise to me that we really struggle in communication and conflict resolution (which it turns out, are essentially The Things You Must Master To Have a Happy Marriage, according to the infamous “They say.”) This probably all sounds doom and gloom, and I’ll admit for a while I wondered what kind of barrel we were looking down- 2 people who communicate questionably, are terrified of conflict, and annoy each other with our bad habits.

    Then a shining light of the marriage-prep course came through. We both indicated (and the online “Couple’s Inventory” confirmed!) that what we love most about being together is that we have fun together. Like, serious amounts of “grab your bike! Let’s have a 2 person bike parade” kind of fun. And a little, “don’t you think it would be funny if?” kind of fun. And even a heartfelt sprinkle of “I want to do this very big life changing adventure, and I want to do it with you” kind of fun.

    The good thing about living together, and wedding planning, and (hopefully) marriage is that I really have entered in to it with The Most Fun Person Ever.

    • The “grab your bike! Let’s have a 2 person bike parade” kind of fun really, really made me smile. So sweet and so true, and I can definitely relate. My fiance and I have fun together doing all the silly things that we enjoy, even if we seem “quirky” to others.

  • KC

    Oh! And, if a guy hits on you, and he knows you’re (monogamously) married, you can shoot him down without worrying about being mean. I used to worry about too-brusquely responding to a nice-but-shy guy who had possibly spent a lot of time trying to gear themselves up to ask someone out, but… if someone is trying to net already-married ladies, their feelings become a very low priority for me. Very, very low.

    • Moe

      I’ve been out with co-workers who do the shooting down for me. “She’s marrried!”

      What? The guy was asking for directions! Geesh!

    • Not Sarah

      In college, I sometimes made up fake boyfriends to feel less guilty about turning nice guys down. I refuse to do that anymore though…

    • Laura

      I staved off a creeper by flashing my ring for the first time the other day! It was ah.may.zing. So incredibly efficient! Ah hah, *that’s* the purpose of the tangible external symbol.

      • angela

        the *only* time i’ve thought to do that (ring flashing), my engagement ring was at the jewelry store for repair, and i only had my (very plain, yet perfect) band, and i felt like it didn’t really make the point for me! plus the spouse was already back at our hotel and i was getting frozen yogurt with my single friends. *sigh* next time…

  • Emmer

    Maybe sometime you guys could do an open posting like this about having kids? I’d be interested to read that.

    • Mer

      Me too.

      • SLG

        Me three.

    • lindsay

      Can we do one about the good in not having kids also?

  • You know when you were younger and your friend(s) slept over and there came the time (usually in the wee hours of the morning) where everyone was in agreement that yes, you should all go to sleep now…but you couldn’t stop talking/being silly?

    We do that sometimes. I love it.

    • kathleenicanrah

      YES. yes yes yes. this is the biggest surprise and one of the best parts of being married.

    • THIS! We sometimes describe marriage as the best never-ending sleepover ever. :-)

    • Yes! Except now that can lead to the most hilarious wrestling matches, which generally lead to being tired enough to actually sleep.

  • I worried that marriage would make me less focused on my creative goals because I’d be dealing with the enormity of being married, or I’d be dealing with all the “have tos” of what other people expect from me as a married person, or that being married is all serious business all the time.

    From the other side, I can say those fears were all kinds of silly. Getting married didn’t make either of us less ourselves. We still watch Disney movies, read comics books, and debate the merits of eating chocolate cake for breakfast. We still visit totally random cities pedling comics, and spend long road trips talking and creating completely outlandish scenerios that are probobly only funny to the two of us.

    It just solidified what we already knew – the two of us are in this for the long haul. In terms of being serious business, the only effect it has was fairly positive. It opened up a few more serious conversations about kids, where to live, retirement plans, budgets, or health insurance.

    It also made us more audacious in the goals we wanted to chase. My boss retired right before our wedding, and if I’d been on my own or not married, I would have gone out and found another job. But with the realization that our individual money was now our money, we both decided it was worth the risk for me to NOT find another job, and put full time efforts into building our photo and comic businesses instead of building them while working full time for someone else. It was the scary/serious part of marriage that made us feel like that wasn’t a crazy thing to do.

  • Our communication vastly improved (and I had thought it was decent enough to begin with) because vulnerability suddenly became a safe state. Being vulnerable is still HARD, but now it’s also liberating.

  • I wondered a lot about how much we would stay the same as our pre-married selves, how much of each other’s habits and interests we’d absorb, whether married-us would nullify the separate passions each of us nurtured before. Turns out I’m 500 times more brave in pursuing trickling inclinations that have turned into full-blown passions, because of him. I know neither of us would have done the exciting, self-affirming things we’ve each done the last few years without the other saying, “Do it! You will love it! You’ll be good at it! It’s important!” and making time/space/money available to make those things happen for each other.
    It’s been good.

    • Liz B.

      This has been my experience as well!

  • Sara

    It’s a small thing, but I love always having someone to share dessert with.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      One of my favorite things about dating is being able to split entrees at the restaurant. I get to try so many more things!

  • Liz B.

    I was terribly worried that if things weren’t perfect on our wedding day, it would be a reflection of our marriage.* And in a way, that ended up being true because life happens after all and none of us is ever perfect. Realizing that those things that didn’t go as planned (or right at all) didn’t make the day less amazing gives me a good perspective for the rest of our lives together- there will be good days and bad days and a lot of days that have some good and bad. Our marriage isn’t a reflection of each moment individually, but the accumulation of all of the moments. It’s okay if some of those moments are duds.

    *An irrational fear I had despite reading this blog, the book, and having a level headed fiance. I knew better, and yet…

  • Elaine

    While I was adamently in the “marriage doesn’t change things” camp for the first year and a half of our marriage, when my father-in-law passed away suddenly last year, it became clear that I was an integral part of my husband’s family. I spoke at FIL’s funeral, I called most of the extended family to tell them about his passing, I helped take care of tying up loose ends for his business, etc. I don’t know that this would have happened if we weren’t married. Before, I’d always thought of them as “his family” – his spoiled little sister, his well-intended but flighty mom, etc. – but, through the experience, I realized that they now belonged to me, too. Through this incredibly challenging time, our unity as a family was a tremendous source of strength. So, while it might not be rainbows and smiles-good, I’d definitely characterize gaining a new family, in addition to creating our own baby family, as “the good.”

    • I have to ditto this. One of the sweetest things was when my husband cried when I told him my grandpa had died. And his sisters have become my sisters as well, including bonding over the crappy things in life and pedicures after a day of shopping.

  • Lily

    I am way more daring in my life now. I always worried that after getting married I would feel super limited, but now I feel WAY more able to take on things I never could have handled. I write poetry, I apply for jobs I would have been too scared to apply for, I try interesting sports, I even voice my opinion more strongly. I do all these things that I would have been totally afraid of failing at. Something about knowing that even if I fail, my husband is not going to judge me AT ALL. He even encourages me to try things I didn’t think to try. And even if I don’t actually try things, I can talk about them and get a realistic but non-judgmental or fearful opinion. I love it.

    Also, I love having inside jokes with my husband. Giggling together about something from a long time ago is the BEST.

  • I thought getting married would take away my independence. It actually gave me this amazing, indescribable sense of freedom. I don’t know if it was the support and stability (probably), but having that in my corner made me feel like I could do anything and be anything – free! (and therefore, super happy and super good)

    • We need a LOT more of this out in the world. Goes against the whole “ball and chain” rhetoric that’s all too common out there.

  • Amanda

    I wasn’t sure that marriage would change much of our already-amazing relationship, but it sure did – and certainly for the better! Like many of the other commenters have said – the never-ending sleepovers, someone to always laugh with, eat dessert with, play with… So many ways marriage has underscored the love we have, the foundation we are building.

    I find myself saying very often these days (3 years into marriage), that I am so glad someone didn’t tell my single self how truly awesome being married is, otherwise I would have tried to rush it, and likely end up with the wrong partner. Not that I didn’t have great marriage role models – I did! – I just didn’t realize the magic that was there. And our marriage is truly magical.

    • KateM

      I agree! But I have to make a point too of telling my single friends that is totally worth the hard work to get to the right person. When we see so many people complaining about their spouses and how hard marriage is, I want to re-affirm that it is worth it, and while hard sometimes, I think the “I am an island” feeling of being single is so much harder. And I loved being single.

  • Christina

    We aren’t boring or bored just because we had our wedding already. I thought after the wedding without all the planning to do I would be thinking of what is next and anxious to start a family. But it turns out things are great the way they are and there is nothing dull about being married without kids!! It is nice to just enjoy this time of peace and quiet together reading books and working on our house just the two of us, it might make my facebook page a little boring but my day to day is full of life.

  • i have found subtle (positive) shifts in the way i/we/our relationship is treated by my wife’s extended family, which i didn’t really expect. none of them came to the wedding because of the gay, but knowledge of the event has clearly made me “part of the family” rather than “her girlfriend”. they’ve always been nice, but things seem less awkward…and i get birthday presents (i joke, but i almost cried; i am not a crier).

    • Getting presents from the in-laws is surprisingly huge. I feel ya <3

      I remember how absolutely floored I was the first time his mom bought me a birthday present (while we were still dating, at that). I can't even imagine how it would have felt if she didn't like me, or support our relationship. It really is a moving gesture.

  • I love that when someone asks me to schedule something or do something and I say “let me check with my wife,” they totally respect it. No one is like, “GOD WHY CAN’T YOU MAKE ANY DECISIONS OUTSIDE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP CRAZY PERSON!?!” Everyone is like, “Oh, of course, you’re a team, and you’d want to check with each other before booking a house guest for the weekend or changing drinks plans.

    • Tess

      Justin has been calling me ‘a shareholder’ for years – if he is going to make a decision about joining another committee or organising an event or taking a job far away he has to check with the shareholders first. It was kind of a joke but I love that he started using it long before proposing. It makes it clear that whatever he decides will affect me, and in a way that even the crazy committee colleagues can comprehend. In a way I’d be disappointed if he started calling me his wife in those conversations.

      • Flood

        I love this.

  • I can tell her the deepest, darkest, stupidest, most embarrassing or terrible things that come into my head, and when I look into her eyes it’s just love looking back. No laughing, no shaming, no mocking. And the *BEST* best thing is that, after nearly 8 years, it doesn’t surprise me anymore – that’s what I expect to see.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Favorite comment of this thread. Thanks.

  • Sarah M.

    My husband and I lived together for 6 years before getting married and even bought a house together, so I didn’t think much would change when we got married. On the surface not much has, but our relationship feels different in ways I didn’t foresee. Instead of “I love you” it’s “I love you forever.”

    It’s so comforting to know that we’re both in this for the long haul. We feel stable and more connected. We plan for our future together and look forward to growing old together.

  • Carisa

    My partner can make me laugh, and she knows when I need it most. This also means all of our arguments end in jokes. It seems weird but I actually love the way we fight. After 5+ years we know when we need space, when we need to push, and when we need to eat a sandwich or have a beer and just laugh at ourselves.

  • Shauna

    After our wedding, we got many questions about the quality of married life and we replied over and over that being married is as great as being engaged, except you no longer have to plan a wedding. It’s true that it felt GREAT to have that great project completed and we felt a sense of achievement after pulling it off.

    More seriously, one of the hugest benefits has, for me, underscored the importance of marriage equality. After our wedding I was able to quit my wretched and soul-sucking job because I gained access to my husband’s health insurance.

    • “Being married is as great as being engaged, except you no longer have to plan a wedding.” YES!

  • Amanda

    Our communication that we worked hard on throughout our engagement has become the foundation of our relationship. It didn’t come naturally but it was so worth and it resulted in things I didn’t expect. We have intense intimacy. There is so much trust and safety in our relationship. We know each other so well and as we continue to discover ourselves and share ourselves with each other we are affirmed. We are supported. We are safe. The safety, honesty, transparency, and intimacy in my relationship awe me. Like I can’t even believe that I am lucky enough to get this, I didn’t even know it was a possibility. We are one hundred percent ourselves with each other.

    And through a year of unemployment/housewife, through coming to terms with possible step-in-laws for him, through being brave enough to start a small business and ditch it when I found it wasn’t what I wanted, through sharing one car, through all of a sudden becoming an interfaith marriage 2 years in when he realized he no longer believed in God, through balancing finances, refinancing our home, him starting a small business, inviting in a roomate….

    This foundational support of personhood that exists in our marriage has sustained us. We still feel so loved and supported and encouraged. We urge each other towards greater freedom and honesty with ourselves. And we are giddy with joy about who we get to spend our lives with despite all changes so far. Here’s to a life of it!

  • Happy

    I am newly engaged (by that I mean I’ve been engaged for five days! Squee!) My partner and I have been together for four years, lived together for two, and we wondered if we were going to feel different after getting engaged and eventually married. But, we DO feel different! We feel so very different, in the best possible way. No matter how committed I was to this man before, now that I am making it legal, it all feels REAL and HEAVY and CRAZY and COOL.

    Edith Windsor, who has been all over the news for challenging DOMA and the federal definition of marriage, said in her npr interview that she always asks newly married couples who have been together for a long time if they felt different the next day, and the answer is always yes. “Marriage is magical,” she says. I believe her, and I am so excited!

    • Rosie

      Congratulations! There’s some really interesting posts on this site about people who did feel a huge difference after getting married, people who didn’t, and experiences in between: I’d recommend them!

      • Happy

        You raise a good point! While feeling different was surprising and exciting for me, it is certainly true that we all experience engagement and marriage in our own different and equally awesome ways. Besides, there is already so much good in committed relationships that feeling “different” definitely does not mean feeling “better” than those who didn’t experience a shift.

  • kelsey

    He gets along so well with my family. Last easter, my mom had to work (she’s a nurse), so he brought home a big box of pastries to visit her with. I didn’t even think of visiting her! She was so happy she got teary-eyed. Later seeing him smoking a cigar and drinking cordials with my dad and uncles while I sat inside drinking wine with my aunts, I felt like I had snapped into place, like we really belonged. Not to bring any sense of heteronormativity into this or anything, but that is just our reality and how we see ourselves.

  • I am able to be braver (in doing new and risky things) and also able to get over some of my anxieties (of which there are many, and usually center around not being good enough/ strong enough/ capable enough to succeed at something I desperately want) because no matter what, even if the risks are bad ideas and the anxieties prove themselves true, I still have my husband and my marriage which are the most important things to me. I feel like I have more tolerance for things going “wrong” in my life because it doesn’t seem so bad with my husband there with me and the stable foundation of my marriage to turn to when things get really awful.

  • Brenna

    I did not believe anything would be different. We eloped in January for mostly “practical” reasons. BUT the single most dynamic shift in our relationship is that we are FAMILY. A brand new baby family. I’m his primary person and he’s mine. Its been a powerful realization.

  • 39bride

    The good thing about marriage is, it’s no longer just you. For many, many years I felt like someone standing on a pillar, buffeted by the winds and storms of a very challenging life (terrible, unoriginal imagery, but is exactly how I felt).

    Now, having just lost my job days ago, it’s no longer just me standing on that pillar. It’s an us standing there. And somehow that makes all the difference in my strength, resilience and stress. That job was a horrible, confidence-destroying, baseline-stress-level-raising nightmare that I felt financially trapped in. Looking back at the relationship with my husband, whom I met only 2.5 years ago, I realize I never could’ve survived at it as long as I did without him.

    Now that our lives are truly combined–we moved in after the wedding seven months ago–it’s even moreso that it’s not just me out there. As I said the other day to a well-intentioned person trying to warn me about hard times in a marriage, “We’ve already been to hell and back alone. We’ve decided it’s gotta be better together.” It’s only week one of unemployment, but so far that’s definitely true.

  • Elsie

    Neither of us were super affectionate, touchy, cutesy people before… but now after 3 years of marriage, I’m pretty sure anyone would find us nauseatingly lovey-dovey if they caught us at home alone. :-)

  • I read all the comments and didn’t see it, but one of my favorite parts is our inside jokes. They just keep coming! It’s like we have this secret language/life that nobody else knows about it. And they don’t get old either.

  • Many previous comments have spoken to me, but there was one huge thing that really floored me with how GOOD it has been post-marriage, when I really thought it’d be a disaster.

    Money. And sharing it.

    Even though we’ve never bothered to combine accounts, getting married really just flipped a sort of switch in both our brains so that no matter whose account we’re using, it’s “our money”. Going out to eat is less stressful because we’ve stopped caring who pays or if it’s equitable. He used to feel so guilty if I paid for things too often (even though I’ve always made more money), but now that it’s “our money” he doesn’t feel the same shameful sting of me picking up the tab 80% of the time. Now that any and all income belongs to both of us, any money spent is a joint decision–regardless of which account it came from.

    I really thought figuring out money and letting go of the tight control over my own expenses would be awful and hard, but for us–marriage made the money issue rather freeing. It’s insane.

  • Sam A

    The knowing that even when it isn’t good… it’s still ok. That’s good.

  • Laurel

    I’m not QUITE married yet (50 some days to go), but I recently had this realization that there is finally a person in my life who I don’t have to keep it all together for. If I’ve had a shitty day at work (of which there are many lately) and I’m stressed out from wedding planning (like when my mother insists daily on trying to complicate everything possible about my previously not very complicated wedding), I don’t have to come home and be on, in any sense of the word. I don’t have to perform for my fiance. I can just own that it’s a crappy day and I need some time to go hide in my bed and watch Gilmore Girls reruns until the feeling passes. Possibly an episode that could lead to tears, because I think that might be cathartic. And not only does my fiance let me go being a crying mess, he brings me ice cream, or brings me a drink, or takes care of chores that are technically mine so I don’t have to think about them that night. And I’m pretty sure that’s the Good, for me.

  • I will be the first to admit that I am a neurotic, Type-A, overachiever with an over-responsibility problem and a tendency to catastrophize everything. My husband is one of the most laid-back people in the history of the world, I think. The most pleasant surprise about our marriage is how much he’s rubbing off on me! Even my brother (and best friend) mentioned how much happier/calmer/less insane I am. It’s the biggest blessing. <3

    • meg

      We are the same person, in the same relationship. (catastrophize is my number one verb.) Love everything about this!

  • Hope

    In my first marriage we fought about chores. I was worried this might happen this time around especially as my now husband and I work more hours.
    However my husband’s attitude of servanthood has instead made this a “kind of awesome” area of our marriage. On his day off he washes all the dishes from the week and he is the only one who cleans the bathroom. He consistently puts my needs above his own. His example inspires me to be more selfless. When he works a full day and then has to work in the evenings I know that by making the meals for the week or doing the laundry I am contributing to our team. I no longer think everything has to be shared 50:50 to be fair. I love being part of the Buck-minguez team (as we have named ourselves).

  • I worried that getting married would mean that I would have to sacrifice my career goals to accommodate my husband’s career, but it turned out that my husband is the number one supporter of my career goals and will do (and already does) everything in his power to help me achieve them. Best husband ever. :)

  • NB

    My husband swoops in on a regular basis, and does some awesome thing that I didn’t even *know* I needed or wanted him to do, but delights me anyway.

    Like, today: He sent me an email informing me that he’d volunteered to travel with my (scared, adorable) little brother when he visits a graduate school he’s considering, because “He didn’t seem to talk about it very much at your parents’ house, and I thought he might want a friend.”

    I freaking love that man. I love him, and I love how careful he is to toe the line between “Our baby family is special and we need to build it together” and “Your people are my people, and I will love them like you do.”

    Also, he cleaned up massive amounts of dog diarrhea this morning and then came into the bathroom to make poop jokes while I was showering, so he’s basically winning gold stars all up in this place.

  • I love that we have our own little bubble in our house. It doesn’t matter what’s going on – friend/social circle upheaval, work stress – with just the two of us, we have this comfortable life in a safe place where can depend on each other and just be and have our own little secrets and inside jokes.

    Plus, it is awesome that his idea of fun is the same as mine, including where and when and how often we go out.

  • I’ve only been married 3 days (including today), but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few things.

    1. I didn’t throw up, pass out, or run away at the wedding. I actually wanted to be there, and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

    2. I was afraid that getting married would somehow fundamentally alter and ruin our wonderful relationship. This is not the case. It’s basically the same, but with different adjectives to describe each other and a new last name to get used to. Whew!

    3. The sense of security and permanency that envelops my thought processes about the relationship. Prior to the wedding, I was afraid that I would be tying myself down and relinquishing all freedom. Rather, the security and permanency gives me a solid foundation to work from, and I have more freedom than ever. Had to make a difficult decision about cherished plans today, but knowing that I have a safety net in my partner made it doable.

    4. We spend a lot more time in just our underwear. (It IS still the honeymoon/vacation period, after all.) A pleasant, comfy surprise. :)

    • Lauren

      Congratulations! I am looking so forward to endless days of undie-lounging.