• Wednesday, 12 August 2015

    Things I've learnt from a year of (really young) marriage!

    It's been a whole year (and a month) since I married Jay. Two birthdays, one honeymoon, many road trips, a few haircuts, one ugly diagnosis, one three hundred mile move, two Ikea trips and several pairs of shoes later and here we are. Can you believe it? (Well, you probably can, it's mostly me that will suffer from disbelief.) I'm not going to lie, it hasn't always been easy. That, I was prepared for. Other things, not so much. Here are a few things I've learnt so far, about marriage, life and the weird domestic habits of men...

    1. Life is not always Instagram-worthy. But getting through ugly things makes you better.
      It's a given fact that the longer you've been together, the less romantic things get. Running off into the sunset after your 'perfect day' - or whatever you want to call it - does not mean that the pretty sky is eternal.
      A few months in to our marriage, I got diagnosed with an IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder, for the lucky ones of you who didn't know what that means). Now that will end the honeymoon period fast. On top of that I've spent the entire year looking, unsuccessfully so far, for a full time job; Jay's grandfather passed away; and we've been broke, so broke that we had to move back up North because we couldn't afford the South coast anymore. But that is life. And as a good friend pointed out, if you start out going through rough patches, you'll be better prepared for the future. He probably put it much more eloquently than that, but you get the idea.
    2. Making 'your stuff, your money and your family' into 'our stuff, our money, and our family' is the tougher than you think it might be.
      Now bear with me on this one, because I may be about to come across as a smug married person. No matter how comfortable we were with each other and our families before we got married, no matter how little it mattered who paid for what or how happy we were sharing stuff - including the duvet - it did change when we got married. I fully believe you can experience the same commitment without the marriage license, but it solidifies things in a way that's hard to explain. Because, before we were married, it was a gift and a nice gesture to share things with each other. Now, it's an obligation and it's legal. Plus, it makes shopping really weird. I suddenly feel the need to justify frivolous spending in a way that I never did before, which probably isn't a bad thing.
    3. Being dependent on someone doesn't make you a failure. And it doesn't make you a bad feminist.
      Jay does a lot of things for me. He changes lightbulbs, he scares moths away from lamps and he turns off the big light when I've snuggled down in bed. Clearly I have issues with light related situations, I should probably work on that.
      The point being, I rely on Jay for a lot of things, big and little. And I really struggled with this for a while. I'm an independent woman dammit, I listen to Beyonce.
      I mean, I am sure that if I had to I could learn how to operate a drill and be brave enough to deal with flying creatures, if I had to. But I don't want to and I don't need to. These are trivial examples of course, but I've realised I don't actually agree with our culture's obsession of independence. Like, really, nobody is independent. You cannot function in life without other people and so what if one of the people you can't get by without is a man? This does not make you a bad feminist. Repeat. This does not make you a bad feminist. Maybe I'm the only one that's felt like this, maybe not. But giving up my obsession with my independence has been a struggle.
    4. Do what makes you happy.
      It's safe to say that getting married at 20 was a bit unusual to most people in my life. And the ones that didn't find it unusual generally thought I was older than that anyway. It's still pretty odd to most of my friends. And yes, it does feel weird when I'm getting ready to go out for a drink or two and the rest of them are discussing boy problems and there's me with my husband and his annoying domestic habits.
      But it was my decision, a really big decision, but I had to make it for me. Sharing a home with a man who I intend to spend the rest of my life with is not where most of my friends are. Most 21 year old girls are not thinking about mortgages and opening joint bank accounts. But (and I'll try not to get too soppy here), I share a life with someone I really love, who makes me laugh and always makes my days better. And that's worth feeling a little strange about. What's right for other people may not be right for you and that is perfectly fine.
    5. Living with people is tough. Even if you really, really like them.
      People are annoying. And unlike with university housemates, you can't really leave a passive aggressive note when your husband does something that bothers you. I mean, everyone hated that person in the house anyway. Husbands do silly things, as do wives of course, and there will be many times when you'll have to bite your tongue. There will also be a few times when you have to express your annoyance, very, very politely. There may even be some occasions when you, very accidentally of course, shout your annoyance very loudly at the end of a really long day. Just make sure you say sorry when that does happen.
    6. Changing your name is a faff and a half. 
      Seriously, don't bother with it. New passports cost like a lot of money. Tradition be damned.

    Here's to many more years and even more lessons. x

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