Blog piece: “What’s it like to be married?”

*Re-posted from my now retired personal blog,  The Unconventional Newlywed.

The other day, a coworker friend asked me if anything changed after I got married.

You’d think after being the oldest person in graduate school, I’d become accustomed to this question. But, it has been a few months since then and my brain has since aged exponentially (due to the oldness).

As a result, this question completed voided my mind of understanding and I was dumbfounded.

What has changed? Changed, like…my name? I just couldn’t think of anything big that is different in life now, that was not so different with that other last name I had, oh whenever that was.
Just two years in, I act like a tenured ball and chain. 
It’s just that once you get over the baffling sloppiness of living with a man, life resumes as before. There are times both your names fit into the same addressee line on bills,  and that whole M-R-S concoction is unsettlingly old-sounding, but these things settle quietly atop life as it always was.
Okay…that’s not entirely true.
For example, today I woke up early and went to the gym. Then I returned home and ate two donuts. Had a cup of coffee, then ate a chocolate chip cookie.
Single girls don’t do that shit. 
Girl, if you had my husband, you could have the whole baker’s dozen.
Alex is forever reminding me how great I look, even as the second Krispy Kreme donut enters my mouth and spills frosted sugar chunks all over my stupidly smiling face.
EXACTLY.
There are more serious changes, too.
My least favorite is finding the leeway between “nagging” and “doting,” aiming to err to the former in attempt to perpetuate myself as The Pants-Wearer. I almost always fail.
 
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Being called nagging is among the worst things to do to a wife, yet what is my retaliation? I am legally, contractually obliged to grin and bear it.
There are books aplenty reminding women that they are not supposed to fly off the handle at their inevitably ridiculous husbands. Instead, we are to learn to channel the seething irritation into baking or how to master the elegant quip.
Marriage is an endless game of strategy.  Monopoly that never concludes.
It’s a test of the wits and the pride. Similar to how going to graduate school made me wonder if I ever deserved any degree, marriage makes you question your self-worth.
Sure, you were the shit in your early twenties. Probably were a nice piece of intellectual curiosity in college (see what I did there?).
But then, you got engaged. You said, “Hey, this person, this guy/gal/thing is a KEEPER! The One.”
Now, take a moment and pull yourself aside to say goodbye to those rollicking days of whimsy and adventure that fed your ego and inflated your sense of personal uniqueness.
Yes, you are still you, you are special, blah, blah, blah.
Fascinating or insipid as you may be, your marriage will not add value to yourself, and it does not remove value. It will, however, make you share everything. Including your reputation and your perception of what’s worth your time, with your partner.
You will have to work harder to stay in touch with your individuality. 
It’s a daily exercise. It makes you stronger if you remember to do it regularly. Just do it a few extra times if you’ve got a soft spot (or a couple pounds of soft spots?) for donuts.
Other than that, life is exactly the same as before but with better company built in…for better or worse.
And look at how happy people are when they take the plunge. The Mr. & Mrs. Morrison, April 2011.

 

Get the postings as I write ’em at the source: The Unconventional Newlywed blog.