***WARNING: THIS IS KIND OF A NOVEL***
People have been asking me what it's like to be married, so here, on our one week anniversary, i'm trying to pen my answer. Well... It's totally normal and completely shocking at the same time. Anyone for a little complexity and contrast? Read on...
For as much as I like to be spontaneous and try new things, I also need to get my feet wet on certain topics (I can be completely black and white sometimes. Poor Ben will just need to learn the difference). I knew getting married was a big deal (to say the least), so I didn't want it to take me by surprise. For months we have moved me out of my mom's house and rearranged Ben's apt. to feel more "homey", we have spent every day together since the beginning of December (stupid scuba trip. Just kidding.), and he has spent a few nights at my mom's house when we have early morning plans so I'd even experienced saying goodnight and him waking me up in the morning. I am so glad we did things that way! By the time our families left town and we were settled and alone in OUR apartment, it wasn't anything new. I was familiar with the space because I'd helped create it. We had already brushed our teeth using the same mirror. My clothes were in the closet and my scriptures were by my designated side of the bed. We had already fought and seen each other in a variety of moods. I didn't automatically love him more or less or have a difference outlook on life. Our relationship was mostly the same. The only difference was the lable.
When other people make a big deal about us being married is when I make a big deal about it, too. Yeah, it still sort of startles me to call Ben "my husband." or to hear people ask if we're planning to have kids any time soon. My first reaction is still "Kids? But we're... oh yeah. We ARE married."
Someone at the temple on Tuesday asked me about being married and kept saying, "But are you happy? Are you happy?" First of all, no one word can describe getting married. (If you are just being polite and want the simple, "How are ya?" "Good." conversation then avoid the "How's being married" question to the newlywed.) If it did, 'happy' wouldn't be the very first word I'd come up with. Sorry. I described my feelings as content and relaxed: we have been thinking about and planning our marriage for a long time, and it's very comforting to finally enjoy it instead of pondering it. I can actually sleep well at night. I don't have to worry about keeping any stressful rules. All my belongings are finally in one place. I have something to take pride in, nurture, and love (everyone needs that sense of purpose). It's just... relaxing! Yes, of course I'm happy, but that is just so not the only word that I am.
I've already learned a lot about compromise and trust. I don't have to make every decision by myself. Ben deserves to be invovled in design, dinner, schedule choices, etc. I am used to doing things myself and worrying about myself, so I still battle the urge to just take care of things alone, but, though challenging, it's nice to give up some of that control. Besides, Ben's point of view, opinion, desires, and comfort are as important as mine. He deserves my sincere interest and to get things his way, too, because he is an amazing person with a lot to offer and needs his own support. I used to think no one could handle something as well as I could or something, but Ben keeps surprising me and surpassing my expectations-- we are enough alike that when I ask him to make a decision he often chooses something I would have chosen myself. Yay! Giving some trust is paying off :) (For the record, I wouldn't say I am anywhere close to perfect on this topic. I still have a lot to learn about compromise and trust, but I have to admit I'm just super proud that road has begun to get paved.)
It's a good thing we are similar and are learning to trust each other, because we are now sealed FOR-EV-ER (anyone else picturing the kid from Sandlot?) and that is a long time. I said to Ben the other day, "We will be married a year from now and 625,000 years from now." I was about to add, "Isn't that scary?" When he jumped in with, "I know! It's so great!" Phew. His confidence and love help me overcome my initial surprise and overwhelmedness. I can't help it-- Forever is a long time! It has nothing to do with Ben or me or marriage or anything, it has everything to do with the fact that NOTHING has been that permanent in my life. I constantly move around, try new things, make new friends, and explore. I have no concept of "forever" yet. But I don't have to, I guess. I'm trying to focus on the here and now and just build my marriage one day at a time. It's ok that Ben and I still have a lot to learn about each other: we were sealed in the Lord's house and I am very very confident that Heavenly Father will help us accomplish our goals and overcome our shortcommings as individuals and as a couple. He wants this marriage to succeed, and Ben and I both want this marriage to succeed, so it will. No questions asked. But boy, forever is a long time. Just one of those things I'll need to get use to...
I have totally, and sort of surprisingly, accepted my role as domestic goddess. I take a lot of pride in that little apartment and appreciate coming home to it clean, so I take a couple mins. to make the bed in the morning and put things away at night. I enjoy impressing my husband with culinary masterpieces, and daydream about what to make for dinner or buy from the Farmer's Market on Saturdays while I'm at work. I love to take care of him and enjoy doing our laundery (which includes laying out our clothes on a drying rack in leau of a dryer with care) and picking out clothes for him when he forgets we are meeting somewhere after work. Don't get me wrong, he is really hands-on, too, and does as much for me, but I love thinking that I have control over making our home Christ-centered, beautiful, and comfortable for us both. Plus, Andy got us a Dyson Ball which is so incredibly cool that anyone would enjoy cleaning :)