Monday, August 25, 2014

What is it Like Being Married?

As a newlywed of just over two months, I get asked a certain question quite a bit. Of course, sometimes the question is phrased slightly differently but it's ultimately the same question.

What is it like being married?

To be clear, the individuals asking me this question are not asking in the sense that a child might; blissfully unaware what a life commitment to someone else feels like. For the most part the people asking me are married themselves, and so the question boils down to several completely different questions such as:
  • Do you regret getting married?
  • Are you happy being married?
  • Is it difficult being married?
  • What has changed in the relationship?
  • Does the relationship feel different than it did before?
The thing is that for my wife and I, marriage is no different than engagement was. We were engaged for three years, lived together for four, and had been together for six. All of the milestones that were expected of a traditional marriage had already been passed.

And isn't that the way it should be? One family friend of mine, after asking us this question and hearing our response, was genuinely surprised. But why should being married be any different than being engaged? Shouldn't we be just as emotionally and physically comfortable and committed to each other as we were the day before we said our vows? Why leave anything a surprise after we had been together and in love for so long? By experiencing everything in a relationship that we could with each other before marriage, we were that much more prepared to be with each other; our fears were settled when our separate lives mixed perfectly together, and when they didn't we worked hard to learn how to make them mix.
  • We both like keeping our living space clean and tidy? Perfect!
  • We have different preferences for how to spend our free time together? Okay, let's figure out a mutually beneficial compromise to avoid further conflict!

If nothing changed, what's the point?

I don't think I've actually gotten this question, but I'm sure there are some people who may think it, so I will address it thusly:

When I was young and did not understand homosexuality, I asked someone why a man would marry another man, "for the tax breaks, which is why they shouldn't be allowed to" they told me. Could the same be argued for my wife and I? Should we not have been allowed to marry simply because the only thing that changed was that we are now financially and legally responsible for each other? Were we wrong to want to marry simply because nothing in our relationship would change?

To digress for a moment; in my opinion, marriage is such an odd thing for the government to be involved with in the first place; as my wife and I signed up for our marriage license I couldn't help but wonder what business the government had why people got married? Does it really make a difference if they're not man and woman, in love, and living and sleeping in separate bedrooms?

In our case, we married not only for the tax breaks, but also for the symbolic gesture of committing our lives to each other. We have made a loud and clear statement in front of all of our family and friends that we will be monogamous to each other and care and love for each other for as long as we live. We married to celebrate and reaffirm the promises we have made to each other every day. That was the point.

Aren't you missing out on something?

Not even in the slightest. I've got everything I could want out of marriage; a fantastic party I'll remember forever, a ring on my finger, a new perspective on our relationship, and all the legal stuff that comes with it.

Honestly when I consider the relationship I have with my wife and compare it to others that I know, I'd say that I've got it even better than most do. Corey and I are not only husband and wife, but we're best friends. We rarely argue, we never get tired of "hanging out" with each other, we can rely on each other when we need each other the most, we still surprise each other with how in sync our thoughts are at times, and overall we make each other's lives much easier to live and deal with than anyone else.

I've met people who talk about having a "love/hate" relationship with their spouse, people who don't talk to their spouse for hours on end out of spite, and married couples who seem to get along fine but don't show any sign of the "spark" that some don't even believe exists. None of those applies to me. When I think about the relationship I have with my wife, I can easily relate it to the best of marriages that you see in the movies; the ones that are supposed to be works of fiction. Granted we have our share of issues, but the positives so much outweigh the negatives that they seem to not exist at all most of the time.

In short, my wife is the best thing that's ever happened to me, and asking her to marry me was the smartest thing I've ever done.

Wait, what do you mean by "a new perspective on our relationship"?

Sorry, you're right; I didn't explain that. While nothing has physically changed in our routines and lives, I must admit that I feel a bit different since getting married.

I feel like a wolf.
A wolf howling.
What I mean is that, like a wolf, I have chosen a mate for life and I feel a strong natural urge to protect and care for my pack.

Update September 2, 20141: Since publishing this post it has been brought to my attention that wolves do not always mate for life. I feel like one of the wolves that do.

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