Today marks week two whole weeks of picking up someone else’s socks… or being married, as it’s called in the legal spheres.
I had always thought marriage would be a sort of natural, easy transition- especially for my husband and I. We were inseparable while we dated. In fact, since we met, I think there have been about 13 days total where we haven’t seen one another. We lived down the hall from each another during the school year and always ended up at one or the other’s house during the summer months. I’d seen him shave, he’d seen me without my hair brushed (which unfortunately is a large portion of my time). I felt totally prepared to move in with him, and he with me.
When you are dating, it’s easy. You don’t have to be around for the other person’s Nazi cleaning regime or their 15-minute showers (seriously men, what do you do in there? You have no hair to wash!). If something they do bothers you, you are free and unencumbered to go home to your own space to think and relax. In my college years, I loved doing that. Perhaps it was the little feminist in me, but I became convinced that I could do anything I wanted and I could do it on my own. I loved my quiet time for reflection on lessons I had taught that day. I loved a night after a stressful day, to think or to pray about what was on my mind. I could have this time while I dated someone; it was simply when we had to part or when I “needed my space”. But married life is different. Suddenly, your home is their home. Your quiet time doesn’t always match up with their quiet time. The husband, the man you love more than anyone else, has become the ideal roommate- the one you actually feel comfortable telling to do the dishes or to take a shower. But he is also the roommate that will argue about it, too.
This transition time for us has been rough on my end, and I can’t help but think about how important it is to be totally dedicated to your spouse when you move in with them. I recently had this conversation with one of my friends who is moving in with her boyfriend of three years after living by herself most of college. “My parents are making us live together before we even think about getting married,” she told me. I have plenty of unwed friends who live with their boyfriends for reasons from finance to convenience, but as I look at my experience, I don’t know if my relationship would survive that way. Living with your significant other requires sacrifice, determination, and ultimately compromise. For me, I have had to go about it looking at it from the “This is our life now. How will we work this out?” perspective. When I want to sleep and not cuddle, or when I want to go out and not sit at home, or when we have an argument that seems unyielding- I can’t just leave to sort it out in my own space- which I find so difficult. I am either a Sherlock Holmes, pointing out every aspect of a case I see flaws in, or a reluctant Watson, following Holmes through the process though I feel I have done nothing to deserve this or feel that nothing is wrong as I grumble about it. And maybe it’s just me, but this pursuit of compromise came with the resolve of marriage, the ‘forever’ bond between my husband and I that we won’t stray from one another.
It’s really a balance. Everyone needs their alone time, and it’s mostly just a matter of not being offended by your spouse needing it. Walking away from arguments no longer makes them obsolete, as it seemed to during the courtship, but if you are patient and loving with one another, it always seems to work out. I think the best advice everyone gives me is not to go to sleep angry (This works well for me; I get so tired sometimes I just have to give it up so we can go to sleep). I’m still learning a lot about what it means to be married, and still messing up from time to time, but I have confidence in our commitment- and I think that makes all the difference.
Perhaps I should log off now and pick up the socks that are lying next to the bed…