Married Life. One Day at a Time.

I’m having a bit of a quiet day here. Apparently running around like a mad-woman, trying to get every possible last thing taken care of, working two jobs, and getting ready for vacation can do you in a little bit. So, today seemed the right day to share a bit of quietness with you. To share a bit of what married life looks like after the storm of wedding planning.

A gaggle of my dear blog girlfriends all sent out similar dispatches on married life via Twitter over the last few weeks, and it seemed right to collect them. So for you, a collection of small tales, shining in the sun. And just for fun, I linked to all our weddings. The before and after, if you will:

First, from me (my wedding)

Reading decorating magazines with my husband at the river. I feel so happily domestic. #marriedlife

Then from Cate (her wedding)

What did we do with our child-free hour? Sit on the beach and throw stones at a can. #simplepleasures #marriedlife #bliss

And from the lovely Kristina (her wedding)

I’ve got the baby laying naked on the kitchen floor whilst I drink a beer and read recipes with him. Summer is good.

Then this particularly joyful message from Marchelle this weekend (her wedding)

A day of fun & laughter at the river festival + an evening on the couch of hopes & dreams & plans = best day ever.#marriedlife

Which was quickly followed by…

Those poor women who think their wedding will be the best day are totally missing the point. Hopefully, it’ll just be one of thousands.

So all that for you, today. I think sometimes we forget, in the whirl of wedding-ness, in the whirl of fear, what we’re really aiming for. We worry that we might end up as one of the many unhappy couples, and forget to spend time thinking about how we could end up like reader Rachel’s grandparents:

Last week, my husband and I visited my dad’s parents, who have been married 57 years. Cooking breakfast in the morning, she would call across kitchen to the living room, where he was reading he paper. “Joseph!” she sung. He would pick his head up and beam at her while she waved her fingers back at him. When we went into town, they walked with arms around each other’s backs.

Some marriages don’t last. We know that, and it’s scary to begin this journey with that in mind. But there are also people like my Nana and Pop-Pop, who have lived through the murder of a sister, deaths of their parents and many of their friends, a quadrupal bypass, three sons and 8 grandchildren, and a rash of mental illness, and who still behave like two teenagers in puppy-love. There is hope, and if we don’t leap because we’re afraid love might not be there tomorrow, it won’t.

And you know how you get there? One quiet day at a time.

And PS, if that isn’t enough… remember Christina & Patty’s wedding? The one with the original bridal brigade? The wedding graduate post that made me ugly -cry in a good way? Here is Christina glowing and very pregnant in the very same back yard, there own backyard, the one the married in.

Picture: Me, from the river. I took it on my iPhone, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

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  • Bless you, Meg. Thank you for sharing this. After a day of frustration caused by some coworkers telling me that marriage will ruin my life, I needed this. Thank you.

    • liz


      • dev

        Liz is absolutely right. These people sound like jerks.

        • Some people are just unhappy with their lives, so they have to make others unhappy as well.

          Keep filling your head with positive thoughts!

    • *What* compels people to say things like that? My coworkers had the same reaction, and some had the gall to ask me if I “needed” to get married (insinuation: pregnant). Ignore them!

      • Jamie

        My fiance and I were doing the long distance thing until recently. But before that, I had to quit my job and move to a new state. I told my students and wrote a note to their parents and guardians telling them that I wouldn’t be their teacher next year. And I had a guardian write back to me. I kept the letter and here’s what she said:

        “I sincerely wish you a lifetime of happiness. Marriage is amazing, and I say that because you will have people who will tell you that marriage is terrible and marriage ruins your life. It’s not true. Maybe it’s just their marriage. I did have a terrible marriage, one that ruined my life. Now, I have a wonderful marriage, one that makes me better. It’s possible, so don’t let any of the buttinski’s (and there will be a lot of them) tell you that it isn’t great. Because it’s awesome when it’s right. I hope you have the kind of marriage that Jeff and I have, because if you do and you work on it, you will be truly, to the bones happy (not movie happy, there’s a difference) everyday of your life.”

        I think back to that every time someone says “Don’t do it! Or at least elope so it doesn’t cost as much!!”

        • ddayporter

          oh my word what an amazing note! I want to give that lady a hug.

        • That note rocks! I had the same reaction by certain people at my office. Turns out the people who were totally stoked for me have amazing marriages themselves (20 and 30 years under their belt) and the others who gave me the “really?! don’t do it!” are those who are very unhappy in their current unions. So don’t listen to them…. they’re just projecting their unhappiness onto your situation (which is what most unhappy people do in general!).

          Marriage is what you make of it. And for me (and a gajillion others) it’s amazing! :)

          • Oops – to clarify my comment above – the “don’t listen to them” part was in reference to Angie’s post above about people’s negative reactions…

        • englyn

          I was already misty-eyed about Rachel’s grandparents, but this comment about to-the-bones-happy has me sniffling :)

    • Angie! That’s horrible. Don’t listen to that gaggle of bitter divorced women. Just because they made poor choices doesn’t mean you are.

      • Haha! Thank you, Sarah! :)

    • Meg P

      I can totally relate! After I got married I was telling a coworker about the process of changing my name on all documentation and a “buttinsky” told me “Yeah, the only problem with that is that when you get divorced you have to change it all back!”


  • dev

    Gah. This is almost too much joy for one day. I’m sitting at my desk all teary, trying not to break into full cry-mode.

    • OMG. I know, but I can’t stop reading APW first thing in the morning!!! Haha!

      • j

        Right!? Tears of happiness, tears of hope, tears of optimism.

        THANK YOU for this post.

  • I love beign reminded of all that is to come! Thank you!

  • Amy

    As much as I love posts about weddings, I love posts about marriages even more. Thanks for the uplifting start to my day!

  • I don’t know how common this is but when I was single I was always trying to fill up every ounce of time. Plans every night. Now married (and truthfully since we have been living togther over the last couple of years), there is a certain quietness and peace. Doing “nothing” with my guy is the place that I always want to come back to. I don’t feel that same need to go, go, go anymore.

    From our weekend:
    “Lunch by the reservoir.
    Sticks for Lila to fetch.
    Back to the ciy and the heat.”

    And our wedding:

    • liz

      i really relate to this, meghan. there’s a peace- a quiet contentment.

      i never was quite on board with the concept that finding a husband was finding your “other half” or this missing piece of you.

      but somehow, i feel more complete. more at peace.

    • I was also busy all the time. As in, at one point last summer I had plans every night booked three weeks out. Now I still have a couple nights a week that I am busy, but the nights I love? They’re the ones spent with my husband. Often quiet, sometimes not, but almost always good. And definitely not so crazy and hectic.

    • Yes. My almost-marriage finally allows me to be quiet (when I’m not being pulled in 18 different directions, of course.) I’m not searching anymore. I don’t *need* the plans. I make them because I *want* to, but I can really appreciate a Friday night or Sunday morning by ourselves instead of feeling like I am missing an opportunity for fun or meeting new people or whatever. It’s magical.

  • This almost brought me to tears this morning! I love love love LOVE the reclaiming wife/marriage posts! Thank you Meg! All you soon-to-be brides out there read this post over and over and over and over whenever you get a little too wedding focused – because it is so true! You think the wedding will rock your socks off? Just wait until marriage. :) *sigh*

    Hope you don’t mind if I share my hubbie’s recent status update – It made me smile:
    “I’m looking forward to the memories of right now… Never forgettin from where we came.”

  • Erin

    Quiet days are my favorites.

  • These kind of posts make me so emotional! I am getting married this year and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!! I am so giddy with excitement already and I just can’t wait to marry my mr right! Thanks for sharing this and for such a lovely blog!

  • This might have made me cry a little bit at my desk. That’s not awkward at all.

    53 days left and I literally cannot WAIT to cross over to the other side of just throwing stones at cans and and reading deocrating magazines and…being.

    • Kim

      Ditto. 31 days from today, for me. One month!

      I’ve been crying all night because another one of my friends can’t make it cross-country to our wedding. The majority of my friends can’t come – my bridesman had to drop out, and my dearest friends from college can’t afford airfare or to take time off work. So I’ve been wallowing for days.

      My fonz doesn’t know what to say – almost all of his friends are closer and able to come. And I just feel so hurt, because I have/would move mountains to be with these friends for their weddings, and this time there are some mountains that just can’t be moved, I guess.

      I just thank my lucky stars that I have such a wonderful, supportive (large) family and cannot put into words how much I appreciate and love my friends who are able to come. I need their support now more than ever.

      And I cannot wait to get to the other side of this…to be married, content and quiet for a good long time. To let our souls become quiet and peaceful together.

      • Virtually none of my friends were able to attend my wedding. With the first “no,” I wasn’t too upset, but by the 10th+, I was feeling a little stung.

        I cried over it. I think you have to let yourself feel sad about it, because it hurts, and it also (for me) came with a boatload of anxious questions (“Do I have ANY friends? Does our wedding sound boring? Have I not been a good enough friend to them over the years?”)

        And then on the day of, two sort-of-friends showed up, people I’d not been looking forward to seeing *that* much… but instead, I was grinning from ear to ear and felt a renewed connection to them… their presence meant so much to me that day.

        And I also realized that I had, like, 5 minutes to talk to/hug everyone, that’s it. And I was actually GLAD some of my broke, cross-country friends didn’t spring for the trip because I would’ve felt guilty about not getting to spend time with them. Don’t get me wrong–it still would’ve meant a lot to have them there, but it wasn’t quite the heart-wrenching sorrow I thought it would be.

        (I hope this comforts in some way…)

      • KENDALL

        Oh Kim! Cheer up! I had the exact same cry a month ago. Friend after friend of mine couldn’t make the trip, had major life conflicts, etc… and all of his friends were moving mountains to attend. Awful and very wallow-worthy.

        But then the actual wedding happened last week and it was just so ridiculously happy that it didn’t matter a bit. I watched my (wonderful, supportive, large) family grab his (quiet, conservative, surprised) family and drag them out on the dance floor with giant grins. And I felt so buoyed up by all of his friends who were so clearly supporting US not just him. It really stuck with me how it didn’t matter in the end whose guests were whose, because in the end, they were all there for us both. Really cool.

        So, yes, look forward to the quiet and peace of the other side. But I’ll look forward to the wedding for you, too, because that sensation of being cared for as a pair is like no other.

      • @ Kim, Margaret, Kendall…

        Thank you for sharing! My fiance is understandably upset that his best friends from high school and SEVERAL family members cannot attend. He’s very pissed off at them (which is really just his version of being sad). I’ll show him your posts. It won’t change the situation but at least he’ll know that this is a more common experience than he thinks, especially for those with fam & friends all across the country.

        By the way, were any of you angry at one of your guests? Like, in a “dude that is NOT a good reason to RSVP ‘no'” kinda way?? Or “I travel to see you and you never do the same for me!” kinda way?? If yes, how did it get resolved (or not)?

        • liz

          ugh, kim! i felt this way!

          only it wasn’t personal for me- it was my husband. his brother/groomsmen called the DAY BEFORE the wedding to tell us he wasn’t coming. and it was a pretty ridiculously lame reason. what’s unfortunate is the way it has inadvertantly affected their relationship- and in my little mother bear way, i’m super suspicious/cautious around this dude- like im afraid he’ll hurt my josh again.

          conversely, i’ve also been That Girl. two very good friends of mine got married, and i tried to go, but couldn’t move hell or high water. i to this day regret that i couldn’t be there- and again, wonder if our relationships haven’t been impacted somehow. so from that perspective, i hope you have a… merciful? perspective on them. i certainly wish these girls had been more understanding, or recognized how much i had wanted to be there.

        • Anna

          Kim, I had one friend RSVP “no” and was very disappointed… I’m European and we went to grad school abroad together and were really good friends for years. After I moved back home, I went to visit her approx 5 times over the last 7 years and she not once came to visit me… she initially said she’d definitely come over but then 6 weeks later said she couldn’t take 1 day off work to fly over.
          I was pretty pissed off initially – if a wedding isn’t enough reason to fly over to see someone, then what is…? So I eventually came to the conclusion that she probably just doesn’t want to put the effort in and though it wasn’t a surprise, it still bums me out a bit. Nothing I could do about it though… so sorry, no resolution, but it did give me some insight into our friendship, I guess?

        • Amy

          Kim, a year later, we’re still wading through the fallout from my husband’s family missing our wedding. Out of his huge family (he has 8 sets of aunts and uncles and the associated cousins), the only person who came was his brother. (Even his sister-in-law and nephew stayed home.) This past month, his cousin got married, and the support that she got was really painful to contrast with our situation. (Thanks for bringing that up Facebook!)

          Sadly, I don’t have much advice to give…it hurts and it’s the kind of thing that impacts those relationships for a really long time. Be prepared for the feelings of being let down to resurface in the future, and take comfort in the fact that you don’t spend any time at your wedding thinking about the people who didn’t bother to come.

        • Jo

          Man, it totally sucks and is great that we can all relate to this, no? I am married as of last fall, and many of my friends who were super close/old buds missed the wedding, some for great reasons (um, giving birth the week before??), and some for unmovable mountain reasons (med school eats people), and some for crappy or never shared reasons. As for what happens to each friendship going forward, it’s what you decide to do. For me, I had to be angry/sad for a while. And then, I had to realize that some of these people really do want to be in your life, and really did suffer for not being able to come, and they are worth welcoming back in, perhaps with a little honesty about your disappointment, but also with willingness to forgive and patch up. And others… well… relationships change. People change. The beauty is, as Kendall wrote, that once you marry, you then have double the people to share things with in your life. So maybe some of the losses start to hurt a little less, when you have new people to welcome in.

        • Marina

          There were quite a few people who didn’t make it to my wedding for whatever reason–some had reasons I could understand, some didn’t. And most of them I was pretty pissed at for quite a while. But… I’m starting to realize that the wedding was the center of my life for a really, really long time. It was hugely important to me. For other people? It was one day. One party. A meaningful party, sure, but one day out of the hundreds and hundreds of days in our friendship. So… I’m beginning to accept (a year later!) that regardless of whether I think they had a good reason or a stupid reason for missing it, it’s my CHOICE about whether that affects our friendship. And really I’d rather it didn’t.

          • Interesting point, Marina.

            Thanks for your input everyone. (Oh, how I LOVE this site!) I’ll share your insights with my guy.

  • see that last paragraph is *kind* of what i was trying to say in that email. ;)

    very nice.

  • ElfPuddle

    “Those poor women who think their wedding will be the best day are totally missing the point. Hopefully, it’ll just be one of thousands.”

    Yes. This is what I’m looking forward to.

    • That was my favorite, too. :) Beautiful.

    • Sarah

      I’m not terribly fond of that statement, though. A little smug? Married people have the wedding to look back at, it’s done, a memory, working on other goals and enjoying other things. We “poor women” are still working hard to get to the point you’re at. Encouragement rather than condescension, please?

      • meg

        You guys still have a wonderful wedding in front of you, so not a lot of pity from me.

        Besides, she said this privately, I’m the one who quoted her publicly. And I KNEW people would get offended, but I did it anyway. So, not her fault.

  • Jamie

    My grandparents were married for 53 years. (Grandma just passed away in May). Statistically, they shouldn’t have made it at all. My grandma was divorced with two children. Grandpa had been married twice before marrying my grandma. They had 5 children together, watching 2 of them die in infancy and 1 die as an adult.

    They still held hands when they walked together. Grandpa got two rocking chairs (grandma had a hard time getting up from thickly padded chairs) one year for Christmas and they rearranged all the furniture in the living room so that they could sit together and hold hands when they watched TV. Grandma made breakfast for grandpa every morning (“Why? Because he needs his breakfast and I love him”). They were the kind of couple who would switch glasses when they were trying to read small print. Grandpa always got grandma’s coat for her. They sang together at the piano all the time. But mostly, they sat in their chairs reading newspapers and doing crosswords. Grandpa says that’s on of the things he misses the most, the sound of her just sitting next to him.

    I’ve heard people say things like “Oh, people don’t love like that anymore.” And I keep thinking that that is a load of horseshit. Before grandma died, she told me that there would be days where I would be so pissed at my fiance that I would have a hard time deciding if I even liked him. That doesn’t sound very old fashioned, I think we’ve even heard that phrase or something similar right here on APW. But she also told me that we should be careful with each others hearts, be nice to each other, no name calling, fight fair, don’t scream loud enough that the neighbors could hear. Always make sure that there is plenty of food in the house so that no one is ever hungry because hungry people act crazy. None of this sounds old fashioned to me so where is that “People don’t love like that anymore” bullshit coming from?

    • “Always make sure that there is plenty of food in the house so that no one is ever hungry because hungry people act crazy”

      Now that is some sound advice! It’s so true — when you’re hungry, everything gets blown out of proportion.

      (loved reading about your grandparents! :))

    • andthebeautyis

      Amazing, Jamie.
      Really, this could be a blog post right here. Your grandparents are inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to give us a few of their moments – and your gran’s advice is well taken!

    • So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us Jamie. I shared it with my husband, hope that’s ok. I have a general policy of sharing anything that touches me enough to make me tear up at my desk, or that I think is really great advice. This was both.

    • This post is amazing. Your grandma’s advice is priceless. Thank you for sharing!

  • Alyssa

    Oh, this was nice. Just what I needed for today.
    I’ve been running around like a chicken with her head cut off and stuck up her behind lately, so this is a nice, NICE reminder to slow it down.

    Thanks, Meg, and all you lovely tweeting ladies who shared their lovely married-ness with us.

  • 17 days out and this post excites me more than any wedding aesthetics ever could. :)

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve had two days of total freakouts about my upcoming wedding… Two months to go and I’m not sure I like my dress anymore… I needed to be gently reminded of the fact that the WEDDING is hardly it.

    Thanks. Breathing slower already :)

  • Marina

    We celebrated our first anniversary on Monday. I keep thinking about how perfect it was for us, and how our evening would have seemed so unremarkable to anyone else. We went out for Indian food at a nice-for-us restaurant, then got takeout dessert from our favorite dessert place, and lounged in bed eating chocolate. Pretty straightforward, right? But I just had this moment, walking back to the car after getting our dessert, holding hands with my husband and looking at our beautiful city in the evening light… I felt like I was just overflowing with pure happiness, that this is my life, that I am in this time and place with this person. If every anniversary has a moment like that, I will have lived a good, good life.

  • Couldn’t EXACTLY this one enough. Take it easy (at least try!) and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

  • Allison

    I’m getting married in 11 days and I am SO READY. But it’s not the Wedding that I’m ready for, it’s the marriage.

    I am so nervous about the wedding and the fact that there is still so much to be done, and our piano player flaked out so now we’re trying to fix the ceremony music, and my future sister in law is bringing her boyfriend that no one likes, and none of my friends seem excited about my bachelorette party on saturday and I could go one but I’m just going to breathe and find my zen.

    I am looking forward to married life where each weekend is taken up by board games, family dinners or home improvement projects instead of frantic phone calls and expensive crafting projects and crying because we don’t have a “song” that is appropriate for a first dance.

    Speaking of bachelorette party…any of you team practical members that live in or around San Francisco want to go out on Saturday night????

  • Lor

    This post and half of the comments made me want to cry…but they are also inspiring!

  • How do you do it? How do you always manage to magically post things exactly when so many of us need to hear them? I’m sitting here weeping with the knowledge that it’s all going to be okay after spending the past month stressing. Not really just about the wedding. About the fact that my credit cards and twenty bucks were stolen from the green room of our amphitheatre (thankfully by a passerby who had the balls to sneak in and not a fellow actor), and the fact that I’m still having to deal with bullsh*t from that because of bank mistakes and forms that never made it to me. About the fact that our minister fell through and so, 66 days from the wedding, we have no one to perform the ceremony. About the fact that I am desperately unhappy in my job and need to find a new one because the business might be going under anyway, about the fact that we don’t know how we’re going to buy wedding rings because we have no money at all, and we’re trying to find a new apartment to move into that’s closer to his work, and I have my fingers in too many pies because I volunteer the hell out of myself, and we still haven’t sent out invitations. It’s nice to come here and read something that makes me feel able to breathe for a moment.

    • Camille

      I think sometimes when you’re drowning in work and anxiety, you are that much more aware of the graces around you. Even more, you can take them to heart (or clutch them, whatever needs be). A Practical Wedding is definitely one of those graces.

      It may not help, but when I’m in a similar state of mind, I find relief in two techniques: 1) walking past a coffee shop and watching people who are happy, lazy, and content, and remembering that one day (personally in 32 days) you will be just like them. And then I spend days visualizing that to bring my heart rate down. 2) reminding yourself that you can only do such much, and that is that. No officiant at 66 days? people can plan weddings in weeks! there’s bound to be someone who can do it. no invitations? google docs has a wonderful selection of pretty forms that file themselves into spreadsheets with little time/no money (highly recommended!). Stuff beyond your control? refer to #1!

      ps: we’re 31 days out, and we don’t have an officiant yet either. Or chairs for that matter. ;) but it will all work out.

      • meg

        It’s true. And this is one of the many reasons I bang everyone over the head about the honeymoon. By a week out, I was like, “Whatever. The wedding can go up in actual flames and I’m still taking an international vacation.”

        Which totally works even if it’s a staycation, fyi ;)

      • ka

        Yessss, I totally do the coffee shop thing too! And while I’ve been walking by with more than a bit of jealousy, I’m very much going to start looking at it from your attitude of relaxation.

        And thank you, thank you, thank you Meg for this lovely post, especially for the link to Christina & Patty’s beautiful wedding so I got to it sooner rather than later as I work my way back through APW archives. The “Bridal Brigade” is EXACTLY what I have been searching for in lieu of a “traditional” wedding party!

  • Very sweet post. There’s nothing better than doing nothing with your loved ones. It’s when the sparkles fade away and the music is silent that you realize what you should truly be thankful for.

  • For me, marriage means that when I have a bad dream where bad people are chasing me, I can roll over and stroke my husband’s arm until he wakes up just enough to roll over and hold me. When I have a bad dream, there’s always someone there who likes me.

    • meg


  • Love, love all the snippets on married life but my favorite:

    Those poor women who think their wedding will be the best day are totally missing the point. Hopefully, it’ll just be one of thousands.

  • i was just thinking today (11 months after our wedding). that i am bummed that we STILL don’t have our professional wedding photos (very long story)….

    but what i do have are tons of photos we have taken over the past one year of married life together that have documented the absolutely unfortgettable times we have shared. and in a way, those mean more to me than some silly wedding pictures. because i have this version of our wedding in my head that no photographs can capture, and maybe i’d like to keep it that way..

    married life is fabulous..

  • All the wonderful grandparent marriage stories are KILLING ME.

    And you guys have seen this, right??

  • this was a really nice post. fun, creative, but simple, lovely — quotidian, even ;}

  • The little day-to-day things of marriage make me smile. Like when my husband offers to get me ice cream because he somehow just *knows* that I need some.

    Just the words “Christina glowing and very pregnant” gave me chills and made me happy-gasp, but then the photos – !!!

  • Margaret

    My grandfather just died. He was married to my grandmother for over 60 years. The last ten or so years, her mind and health was declining and he was her sole caretaker. He gave her ten great years at home when any other pair would have moved into assisted living.

    This is normal, life stuff. It’s still really sad, but it’s incredibly normal. I think every day about the way my grandparent’s marriage worked. It wasn’t flashy. It was just a normal life built day by day on a foundation of love. He loved her so much. He sacrificed so much for her. And they raised good kids and passed on their values. Respect for others, humility, grace, and decency. In their small way, they left the world better than they found it.

    To me, weddings are important because families are important. In our families we make the foundation for everything that takes us out into the world. Getting married gives us the chance to start a new family, and build that marriage and that family from the ground up and live the values that matter most to us.

  • From this weekend – It also means I don’t have to suck it up to kill the evil wicked moths any more. There’s someone else who will do that while I cower under a blanket on the couch and scream about how it’s going to get me. And then he tells me I’m cute when I’m paranoid.