I was really sure that being married would feel the same as not being married. But in reality, I can't believe how different my relationship is. It shouldn't be, logically speaking. We'd dated for five years before tying the knot. We'd lived together for two of them. We'd had our dog for a year. After we got married, we came home to the same apartment and the life we'd already built. It was all very familiar. But it was different. It was better. Here’s a few more things that happened after I got married that I truly didn’t expect.
Safety in Numbers
I feel safer. I can't explain this. Where once I used to worry about earthquakes and fires and escape plans, now I just...don't. It could all still happen. My marriage didn't stop natural disasters. I mean, obviously. Come on. And theoretically, I even have more to lose with each passing day. But it's like that part of my brain just got quieter. I sleep easier. I don't panic much anymore. I really wonder why this is the case, but I’m mostly just stoked that it is.
All my little regrets morphed into possibilities. I didn't study abroad in college, for instance. I used to think “you should have done that!” And now I think, “we’ll go wherever we want for as long as we want.” Like somehow marriage has bestowed upon me riches and limitless time.
Live Long and Prosper
Life feels long. I have a friend who told me that when he proposed, he was crushed under the weight of his own mortality. This was the person he’d die with. Life would end! It freaked me out when he told me, which was like a year and a half before I actually got engaged, because I was already living with a pretty firm grasp of “BUT SOMEDAY I WILL DIE” and applying it far more liberally than is wise to every aspect of my life. (See above about how much I used to worry about natural disasters.) I think my husband has some of this too. For how quickly these first months have gone, it's like everything slowed down at the same time. Our marriage stretches before us. We have so much time together. And I no longer feel like my life’s motto could be summed up in a giant musical montage called “Death Is Just Around the Corner.” Are you seeing a theme to the ways in which I've changed? I literally just saw it.
Though Some Things Will Never Change
I am still the worst blanket-stealer this side of the Mississippi. I am also offended every single time someone brings this up. Some things just don't change, apparently.
Children on the Horizon
I feel fine about having kids. I think I'll be excited about it someday sooner rather than later. I was always on the fence about it, and was always going to come down on the same side as my partner, assuming I wound up with one. I think I'd also genuinely be happy without kids. But ever since meeting my husband, who loves kids and wants them badly, I’ve really started to see myself with them. I'm surprised that I am actually looking forward to having them in a few years.
I'm freer. There's a lot being said right now about the importance of single women (HIGHLY recommend Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of the Independent Nation) and I agree that now that women aren't financially dependent on men and don't really NEED them to have a perfectly fulfilling life, the world is a far better place. I think those same principles apply to how marriage has changed for the better. It's no longer the end of adventures. The end of fun. It's also no longer relegated to just a man and a woman. All those things tie into each other, don't they? We’re all freer. Get married. Don't get married. Live your life. But if you do want to get married, it isn't the end of all things. For me, it feels like the beginning. Here we are, together, and we get to decide now where we want to go.
Did things seem unexpectedly different for you after tying the knot too? Let us know in the comments!
Sara Kendall lives in Redwood City with her husband and dog. Her main hobbies are coffee, books, and musicals.