A Wedding on Your Terms

The Newlywed Years

August 1, 2012 in
Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Meg Keene
Meg Keene

Meg Keene is the founder and executive editor of A Practical Wedding and Reclaiming Wife. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was released in January 2012.

Three years ago, I got home from my honeymoon and I, the veteran wedding blogger, looked around to find the online community that was talking about marriage. Friends, there were crickets. There were some blogs about buying pillows for your new married nest, and some blogs about getting knocked up. I already had pillows. I did not, at the time, want to get knocked up. I didn’t know where to turn.

With no chattering companionship for the journey, it suddenly seemed like I had no clue what I’d gotten myself into. I mean, yes, I was lucky enough to have some idea of what it meant to have a long and successful marriage thanks to my parents. But I had no idea of what it meant to have a young marriage in our particular generation, in this present cultural moment. And it turned out, there were not a lot of signposts, and hints about what lay ahead were pretty thin. (Unless, of course, you were looking for signposts pointing to doom and gloom, and hints about your probable impending divorce. Then, there were plenty.)

And then, there was the fact that the word “wife” made me uncomfortable. It seemed so negative. So laden with ideas that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, subscribe to. So I started an online conversation about marriage, under the title of Reclaiming Wife. Over the past three years, we’ve tried to tease out what on earth being a wife might mean. It seems that it’s complicated.

As I sat down to write this piece, I decided to poll my section of the Internet, via Twitter and Facebook. What was the most surprising thing about the newlywed phase? What was good? What was bad? And the answers that rolled in are enlightening, if only in their contradictory nature. It turns out there is no one answer to what being married means, but there are many hints and sign posts (thank goodness).

The standard cultural narrative is that you’ll feel depressed that your wedding is over (you might), or that the first year will be really hard (also possible). But it seems that for many of us, the first year was a joy (it was this way for my husband and I, perhaps as a counterbalance to the really difficult emotional work that our engagement involved). The first year can mean putting down roots, finding a deeper sense of belonging, and relaxing into a new sense of security (kept lively by the stress of doing a variety of things like merging finances, moving in together, dealing with brand new in-laws, and wondering how the hell we got ourselves roped into forever). But I’ve also heard tales of the newlywed phase being surprisingly difficult, or married life not feeling at all different from the way things were before. [pullquote]The reason marriage works as in institution is that it’s as different as the people in it.[/pullquote] It’s perpetually surprising.

So when I asked Twitter what had surprised them about newlywed life, good and bad, I got an earful — a wonderful, really smart earful. And not one person mentioned pillows.

Weddings are a community event. For better or worse, a whole ton of people are involved in your life during wedding planning, and people want to celebrate you both. Many people mentioned how, when returning to civilian life, the silence felt a little deafening. Some single friends stopped calling. No one was around to help them write those final thank you notes and organize the gifts. Sometimes, there was a bit of post-wedding depression. A time consuming life event was over, and it was time to figure out what was next.

The New (Tiny) Community
But as much as the big community celebration was over, people spoke of the creation of a brand new family. They talked about suddenly feeling a sense of responsibility for that family’s happiness and protection. They mentioned feeling a responsibility to set and reach goals, both together and apart. They said they felt more like a team: from feeling more comfortable merging finances to suddenly being willing to move to Africa for their partner’s work. And people talked about their new role in their wider community: their ability to provide more emotional and tangible support for friends, given stability that marriage offered them.

The Hard Bits
But the other side of the wedding isn’t easy for everyone. For some, the new-found sense of security served as a license to be less kind to one another, or more fearful of what being in a relationship for the long haul really meant. Others spoke of the way the world suddenly intruded upon the private boundaries of their relationship, with parents questioning your life choices, and strangers constantly asking you if you were going to get pregnant any time soon (hint: back off). For some, the public and permanent nature of marriage was not, at least initially, a blessing.

The Truth
The important thing to remember when you’re sorting through your feelings after the wedding is that it’s all normal. It’s normal if you feel a little blue post wedding planning. It’s normal if things in your relationship change somewhat. It’s normal if your first year is full of totally unexpected joy, but it’s also normal if it’s full of new fears and challenges. The little discussed truth is that when you get married, you’re making a big life change (and not a purely symbolic one). It’s probably going to take you a little while to sort out (and discover) what your feelings really are. And that’s not just normal, it’s a once in a lifetime chance for self-exploration.

But it’s also smart to listen to yourselves and your wisdom together as a couple. Before, when you were dating (or single), chances are the world at large didn’t have much of an opinion what you did. So you put everything you owned in storage and went to India for a year? People just chalked it up to youthful exploration. But after the wedding is over, everyone is invested in you, and that investment often looks like goading to meet other people’s standards for adulthood: house, car, good job, kids, settling down, less adventure. Ignore that (as much as you can).

Just like wedding planning allowed you to create the kind of wedding you wanted, marriage should allow you to intentionally create the kind of life you want. Maybe that’s living in a tiny Manhattan studio with no kids. Maybe that’s moving to Africa for a year. Maybe that’s having three kids in three years. The truth is, only the two of you know.

For more wedding advice, visit Meg’s blog or check out A Practical Wedding, available from Amazon or an independent bookstore near you.

  • TypeTen

    Tara from TypeTen says:

    Perfect timing on this post, as I just returned from celebrating our first anniversary. Loved your insights, Meg!

    11 years ago

  • chezviolette

    Coco Flower from CocoFlowerShop says:

    Nice article and beautiful rings

    11 years ago

  • Monstermatti

    Marije Koopmanschap from Monstermatti says:

    Good post, nice to read about the live after the big day. I got married June 27th with my big love. I just made a post on my website http://monstermatti.nl/Blog with nice pictures of our wedding in the forest.

    11 years ago

  • keelywheely

    Keely Malady from ModernMalady says:

    great post! great reminder - just messaged my newly-married friend for a catch up :)

    11 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    Great post! I just celebrated my 9 year anniversary and remember how hard it was in the beginning. Although the first year or two were tough we will be going on 10 years next July and I feel that those early times have made us so strong as a couple.

    11 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    My boyfriend & I have been living together for 3 years, so sometimes it feels like we are married. I think it is imporant to have a break from the routine & do something fun & special together, but don't forget yor camera! I love filling up picture frames of our adventures!

    11 years ago

  • soohappytogether

    Sharon and Shelly from soohappytogether says:

    So true! It's been almost 3 years since I said "I do" and although I experienced that "silence" with friends and even family, in time most of those same people have come back around. It helps to remember that all relationships work both ways- if your friends start drifting, make sure that you aren't just "letting" them drift! Make plans! Keep in touch! Find common interests! :) Married life = boring life? NO WAY! :)

    11 years ago

  • evrbn2paris

    Anitta Trotter says:

    While we have celebrated our 30th anniversary this spring, in my head I am about 28 and it seems like we are just getting started! He is 65 and I am 60. We have lived below the poverty line (with 3 babies) and also very well. Three babies in 3 years. This year the first 2 grandbabies arrived in 22 minutes (different moms). There is always something new, life is always busy. Intimacy continues to get better - different from the early days. Don't give up when life seems tough - that's the time to remember your commitment (the biggest "C" word!) and just keep slogging - it is worth it if you both row in the same direction. Skin is sagging, body's a little lumpy, but he thinks I am still the most beautiful woman in the world. We travel as much as possible while we are able. All the credit goes to our awesome God who took two totally different people and made this beautiful life tapestry. Without Jesus, our marriage would have crumbled years ago, especially when one of our children got into really serious trouble. (Made it through!) Empty nesters and loving it.

    11 years ago

  • essentialimages

    Kate from essentialimages says:

    The always-wise Meg strikes again! Being married is not just about feathering a nest or hatching new life; the nurturing of your couple-family is your full-time job for a bit. Growth and change as you become One. Go Meg!

    11 years ago

  • michcoy

    Michelle Desch from CorkandShell says:

    Thank you! Been married just under 5 months and this was just what I needed!

    11 years ago

  • TheHickoryTree

    Linda from TheHickoryTree says:

    This year we will be celebrating year number 30 for me and my husband. I can't believe it, I still feel like it's only been a few years. My newlywed years are a blur. Sure we lost the friends we had when we got married but we gained a lot of better ones. We spent our first 5 years having fun; traveling, moving, meeting new people, losing the high school friends and moving on to the friends at work, our neighbors and the ever changing career. The next 25 were spent raising the kids and having fun with them, their friends and sports. Now we are home alone again and we pretty much picked up where we left off 25 years ago. This year we will be grandparents so that is going to be a fun addition to our lives. Not much has changed. Our friends are different now, and our dogs are back to being the new kids on the block. We are no longer broke and have more money than we owe. Life is always changing and it's been fun to look back at everything we've done.

    11 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    @ Annitta Trotter-You said it ALL! Thank you-that is what marriage really is!

    11 years ago

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    Annette from TheLeveretsNest says:

    LOVE - love every day as if it is your last, give thanks that your soulmate married you, chose you, love and cherish them with all your heart and soul as long as there is love, endless, unjudgemental love then the marriage will flourish and you both will be happy no matter what you do

    11 years ago

  • CornerChair

    Katie from CornerChair says:

    When I got married I had a LOT of adjusting to do... I went from being in constant "girl world" to constant "man world"! I come to work with my hubs, and there are men everywhere there! It was totally worth every little bit of change, though. I love being able to be with my hubs every day, and have learned so much about the man I love. We're coming up on Anniversary #1, and I hope and pray that we have MANY more to come.

    11 years ago

  • FalconandFinch

    Lynelle Miliate-Ha from FalconandFinch says:

    My husband and I were married a little over a year ago, and in the weeks before the wedding, I was totally worried about all this stuff! I thought I'd get depressed, that we would be suddenly bored with one another, that we would wake up one morning with a horrifying sense of regret. The first months after the wedding I spent so much time looking for imaginary cracks in our happiness with a big ol' magnifying glass - anytime one of those "Is your relationship at risk" headlines would hit my Yahoo news feed, I poured over it, examing myself and my husband for all of these flaws I was so sure I would find. But in the end, I had to admit that I was being crazy. We both were, surprisingly, amazingly happy. And we still are. It turns out that the things that made us feel safe enough to wed each other - patience, generosity, a strong partnership, good communication and just good old giddy head over heels mad love, are the things that keep us feeling safe, happy, and strong. Together, we hope to have an entire lifetime of Newlywed Years together.

    11 years ago

  • StephaneeJohnson

    Stephanee Johnson from StephJohnsonDesigns says:

    My husband and I are quickly ariving at our 1 year mark. We only dated 2 months before we got married. Just like you mentioned, every wedding, every marriage is different. Our young relationship grew in an atmosphere where we understood we were in it together forver. So we treated every situation as such. That's my advice. Treat this person, your life as if you will be in it forever: with kindness, patience and more gentleness than you think you need. Wonderful article!

    11 years ago

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice says:

    We recently celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, and (almost) every minute has been fantastic - friends still tease us because we hold hands in the street and in the supermarket! Treat your partner as you would like to be treated yourself, and always with respect. The greatest danger comes from that old saying - familiarity breeds contempt :)

    11 years ago

  • rmaru001

    rmaru001 says:

    Variety for sure - my husband and I jumped in as 30-somethings 2+ yrs ago and only dated 1.5 yrs. before - to us that seemed quick! And in that time it seems like we've done most of the hard stuff: long-distance dating and wedding planning, dissertations and new careers, moving to another country, 4 moves, first time home purchasing and a major medical diagnosis... and we've both had periods of depression to show for it. And yet, here we are, finally seeing some benefits from all that hard work! Although I can firmly say that the first few years have been crazy hard, I am more hopeful, willing and committed than ever! It's great to hear that anything goes - it gives me confidence that we can find our own solution no matter what the problem at hand.

    11 years ago

  • Ridgevales

    Lindsay from SweetThreesBoutique says:

    I just got married last April, and so its been a little over 3 months now. However, my husband and I dated for over 9 years! Yes, ladies, 9 years. I have felt like we were married for a while now, and now I guess its just official! Point is, it has only gotten better with time. You cannot replace the memories and the bond that time creates, so here's to many more years to come!

    11 years ago

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore says:

    Our anniversary was last week. I am still so happy to be married to my best friend. :)

    11 years ago

  • thefrontera

    Johanna N. from thefrontera says:

    Wow. Insightful. Thank you for sharing.

    11 years ago

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage says:

    I am happily committed to the most wonderful man for the past 15 years without marriage. We raised my daughter together and he's sending her to college as his own and then we plan to start dating again, after all I'm 52, he's 40...and who knows, maybe we will get married one day and I know the perfect place to shop!!

    11 years ago

  • 26Sorts

    Alexa Sheraton from 26Sorts says:

    Great article! I've been happily married for going on 2 years now. We've had plenty of ups and downs these past couple of years - but every silly argument leaves us knowing each other deeper, which makes it all worth it! I totally agree that marriage is definitely a transition and it's taken some time to figure out who we are as a married couple, but that exploration is an adventure I'm learning to love more and more each day. Living and doing life with your best friend is the best!

    11 years ago

  • passtheteapot

    J.T. Siems from SweetTeaApothecary says:

    I love this post. I am a newlywed - our first anniversary will be in November - and while we had a rough patch for about a month after the wedding, ever since then I'm amazed by how much marriage rocks! I feel our love has grown stronger by a sense of security in that we are now a team who are up against the world - he has my back and I have his. The rocky patch immediately after our wedding mostly had to do with me finally letting it sink in that we were together forever, something that I didn't think about when I got swept up with wedding planning fever. Once we talked about my jitters and anxiety (and went on our honeymoon to London and Paris over New Years!) we've been on a path growing stronger ever since. I'm sure we'll have ups and downs along the way but for me marriage is not the crisis situation that the media often likes to portray it as. My hope is that soon marriage equality will become a reality so others can experience the love :)

    11 years ago

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth says:

    Love this post. Marriage is such a blessing and above all it's goal to glorify God is a journey worth taking with highs and lows and everything in between. The most exciting part is knowing that while we're married forever, it's not all about us. ♥

    11 years ago

  • thehappycouple

    Brianna from thehappycouple says:

    We just celebrated three years and I think it has been our best year yet. We took a big leap of faith when we got married, moved away from home, and started everything over, but it's been wonderful. I think at first we were a little afraid we would lose ourselves in being a pair, but we've worked our way through it. I think respect and commitment are key.

    11 years ago

  • RacerWife7

    Janet Wilson says:

    I enjoyed this post. :) Here's my take on the ideas expressed here: Depressed that my wedding was over??? Hell no! I was happy that my “official” marriage had just started (we’d been together for 4 years before marriage). First year really hard?? Seriously?? It was lovely! Definitely NOT hard at all. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We were, definitely, as you said, “relaxing into our new sense of security”, I believe. Isolation: None. My husband and I, solely, planned our wedding down to the last detail. We did everything the way WE wanted to and, luckily, we had no intervening relatives to tell us how it “should” be done. So, it had been “us” all along. And that’s the way we like it. J No isolation felt anywhere before or after. The New (Tiny) Community: I don’t know…. We had our own little ‘community’ before – I don’t think it was all that different. I just LIKED knowing I was his wife and he, my husband. I like doing things together even more once we were married. I liked being “Mrs. Wilson” even though I didn’t feel AT ALL like a “Mrs.”. Even though I was 33, I felt too young for that title. HAHA! The Hard Bits: The only hard bits we really came across didn’t actually happen until after our first child was born and we were working on baby #2. 2 miscarriages really ARE the hard bits. Other than that?… the hardest bit: our younger child being diagnosed with a life-threatening, incurable disease that he will endure for the rest of his life. Talk about the hardest bits?! Yeah. That takes the cake. The Truth: Yes. Things in the relationship do change. You just have to learn to go with it. After all, it’s the journey that’s the good part rather than the destination, isn’t it? 14 years later, we’re still as happy as anyone can be – and I often wonder if others have as close and strong a relationship as we do. Sadly, I doubt it. But, I wish they did because they really are missing something if they don’t.

    11 years ago

  • katiepiloseno

    Katie Piloseno says:

    I love this!!!! I am marrying my best friend in March and just caught myself telling a friend that "I want to be engaged forever" because I don't want our wedding to come and go....this gives great insight, truth in a positive light. No couple is the same...all you have to focus on is eachother and thats all that matters. Thank you!!!

    11 years ago

  • AllisonBDavis

    Allison Clements says:

    Thank you! I have been married for 7 months and a lot of these things happened to me. Thank you! Thank you!

    11 years ago

  • Katia11

    Katie Carpenter says:

    I read so much of my own story in this. I love my husband but no one talks about the level of isolation of married couples. Or marriage in general other then the certainty of divorce. Thank you for this wonderful article!

    11 years ago

  • TheTwistedCrafts

    Kim Monroe from TheTwistedCrafts says:

    Ahhh marriage...my favorite subject. No really it is. My husband and I went and took untraditional paths with our relationship. We eloped 2.5 weeks after meeting/dating to Vegas. He was 20, I was 21. He was(and still is) in the Air Force, I had just gotten out. No he wasn't being deployed or anything, we just knew from the moment we met we were meant to be together. Sounds sappy huh? Yeah our kids our tire of hearing it too.... In January we celebrate 18 years together. And there is times I want to chase him with a rolling pin, and I know he has his moments too, I wouldn't trade one minute of these years with him.

    11 years ago

  • skrocki

    Amy Skrocki from skrocki says:

    Our first anniversary is in September. Our first year of marriage has been amazing. But we have been together for 12 years. For some reason marriage made our relationship even better.

    11 years ago

  • ethoscustombrands

    ethoscustombrands from EthosCustomBrands says:

    Wonderful article! A few months ago, someone ordered two cuffs off of us to use in place of wedding rings. Blew us out of the water! What an honor it was for us to know our cuffs would be used as this eternal symbol!

    11 years ago

  • katerbirch

    Kate Downes says:

    Our first year of marriage has been anything but dull. Three days after the wedding we packed our bags and moved to Ireland so I could work on my master's. We moved into a TINY studio apartment, and commenced living on the Emerald Isle. Six months later we found ourselves pregnant with our first, and much to everyone's surprise, we're staying in Ireland to have the baby. So, while we've since upgraded our living situation to a small, but adequate 2 bedroom, people still can't believe we're here, working, studying, living, and are now afraid, we won't return to the states. What a grand adventure for our first year!

    11 years ago

  • smarkel

    smarkel says:

    Ahhhh, perfect timing! The wedding was July 28th and we are in the final days of our honeymoon. So far married life feels the same (we've lived together since 2009), but we are contemplating some big life changes and it's a bit scary. Live reading other people's perspectives on this exciting and potentially nerve wracking newlywed period. :)

    11 years ago

  • BabyWilde

    Megan Wilde from BabyWilde says:

    Loved this! Very true. Personally, I found marriage very freeing. In a lot of ways, the first 2 years of our marriage felt like the easiest times we've ever had. We did a lot of fun stuff just because we wanted to. Wal-mart at 1 am? Why not? Spend an entire evening making dinner, and then watching movies in bed? Absolutely! Buy that beautiful candle holder and rearrange our entire living room around it? We didn't have kids to break it, so go for it! I love our life now too, but those first years were special in their very own way.

    11 years ago

  • emmysopera

    Emily Solt says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I just got married on July 21st, and I admittedly have felt a twinge of depression mixed with the obvious exhaustion when we got back from our honeymoon. I wasn't expecting that. Frankly, being married pretty much feels the same as not being married with an added feeling of security. I think what I personally underestimated the amount of time, thought, and energy went into the planning of the wedding. It was so much fun and people were around all the time. When my wonderful husband and I got home I realized that I was left with a whole different set of things to do (like preparing to finish my exams so I can officially be a PhD candidate) that are not nearly as fun as the wedding.

    11 years ago

  • jefrist

    Jenna Frist from FristVintage says:

    love this so much. well written and lovely.

    11 years ago

  • adelinejewelry

    adelinejewelry from adelinejewelry says:

    Wonderful, thoughtful essay. Hubby and I just celebrated our two year anniversary a few weeks ago. What has been amazing is how different the last two years were from the previous two years living together, and the three years before that when we were dating. The thing that touched me the most was the (Tiny) Community section. I am more ambitious, responsible, and far-sighted than two years ago -- in my own life, in our life together, and in our community. Having so many other married and long-term committed friends around me, I see the effects of positive partnerships in every area of my life. We are each building our own families, and building up one another in the process. Thank you for expanding the repository of experience, stories and advice that is out there. What a wonderful idea!

    11 years ago

  • prettystardesigns

    Pretty Star Designs from prettystardesigns says:

    Brilliant post. Being married is lovely, so different though from life before, getting used to a new name and being together forever as husband and wife. The first few weeks are very odd when you have nothing to do, no big event to plan and questions coming from every direction about when you're going to have a baby. Over 8 years together, just over 3 years married and the up and downs of having a special needs newborn life, our life is wonderful and filled with joy. Being married just means I have someone special to share it with :)

    11 years ago

  • goldenyearsvintage

    Libby Sanders from goldenyearsvintage says:

    Oh. My. God. This is so insightful. I experienced this as a 21 year old bride, and yet there was no warning for it. I had a slight depression from the fallout of being the 'bride' to being the 'wife' (I also felt uncomfortable with this word - it's definitely not got the same pizaz as bride!). A sense of a loss of friends. My best friend, my maid of honour, disapeard from my life when I got married, though the suprising part was that she too was married young about 18 months before me. Now we barely speak and when we do it feels so awkard. My twin sister dispises that I'm married as she feels that my husband (and yes, she ACTUALLY said this) 'has taken me away from her'. She was never close to me before this, even pushed me away from her life, but has since felt lonely now I am married. I also learnt in my first year of marriage that I should not share a single part of the joy of marriage to anyone not married. They tell you it hurts them to see you so happy and not have that in their life. I only have a few people who I can share the joys of this wonderful part of life with, and when i do I feel it must be hushed over quickly in case someone hears. From this experience I have learnt that I desperately want to be there for my friends as they enter this stage of life. I'm sure they'll experience the same and it's so tough when the greatest joy of your life is other people's sadness.

    11 years ago

  • kellyjohnson353

    Kelly Johnson says:

    Interesting blog that I felt caustious reading, perhaps as its so fresh for me, I am a newlywed, we just married at the end of June and there has been an element of quietness after all of the excitement and energy that goes into planning and experiencing getting married. Overall after working through the changes and the feelings, (figuring out what the term 'wife' means to me (we are parents too so this adds to the dynamics) I came to a place where I feel such an enthusiasm for 'intentionally creating the life that we want' as we did create the wedding that we wanted. I feel lucky as though we have bought upon ourselves a great opportunity of love, security and happiness that it is our job to care for and nurture.

    11 years ago

  • ironweeds

    Keiry from ShopMINIM says:

    I loved when you said that just how you get to planyour own perfect wedding, you should also plan your own dream life after marriage. There is so much social pressure as to what is expected once you're married. IGNORE IT! Amazing post!

    11 years ago

  • catcancrochet

    Cat Tatsch from CatCanCrochet says:

    This entire post was really well expressed, especially the last section. Live your marriage fully and do not allow outside influences to affect how you experience each other. This is your life together and no one else needs to approve or even understand how your relationship works. It's far more important to understand each other than to try and make the world understand what you have together.

    11 years ago

  • Messila

    Messila says:

    Oh how I needed this. We got back from the honeymoon last night and I am at a loss for crafty diy projects and wedding shopping. It is nice to know that the isolation feeling is normal and almost peaceful now.

    11 years ago

  • heatherdowney

    Heather Downey says:

    That was so amazing. I really needed to read that. Thanks for bringing that topic up:)

    11 years ago

  • cassiepetersen

    Cassie Petersen says:

    I really needed this. I'm getting married this Saturday (eek!!) and am starting to get the nerves. We already have the cars and the house and the dog but making all of this even more official scary! I'm going to need lots of articles like this over the next few months .

    11 years ago

  • peacebird

    Amy from PeacebirdStudio says:

    10 years into my married life journey, I am so grateful to have my very best friend by my side!

    11 years ago

  • lesyeux

    lesyeux from lesyeux says:

    great idea for a post but seriously lacking depth! After our wedding (we're now just on the other side of the terrible 2 - first years, that is) I wanted to write a book about what it means to be married in a world where marriage is quickly becoming obsolete and futile. Why get married anymore at all? And if you do, why follow the rules as they've been established (combining finances, shmombining finances!) etc...So much to discuss about marriage in a 2012 world!

    11 years ago

  • kwernebu

    Kate Werneburg says:

    This is great! We returned from our honeymoon a little less than week ago, and this is a great reminder that marriage is what you make of it, not what other people expect you to do.

    11 years ago

  • SassySisterVintage

    Kim Strozewski from SassySisterVintage says:

    Very interesting reading everyone's thoughts! My husband and I knew each other 4 months before we got married. Yep, just 4 months! We've been married more than 16 years now. My husband and I are very different people and this has proven to be difficult sometimes. A successful marriage, I've found, is with 2 people who are willing to be a little less selfish, thinking more of what they can do for their spouse instead of themselves. Remember, most divorces are caused because of one's own selfishness. Remember this when times get tough. Just hang on a little longer than you want to, Somehow things have a way of getting better. I do believe that's how my parent's and my husband's parents have both been married almost 50 years.

    11 years ago

  • mylittleaddiction

    melanie from mylittleaddiction says:

    Love it! My husband & I were together almost 10years before he popped the question, lived together more than half that, and post wedding we still had some interesting times. Always good, some bumpier than others, but our love is stronger now than ever for it!

    11 years ago

  • KnowBetter

    Betsy Ramsay says:

    I waited until I was almost forty to marry. All of the things I read or was warned about regarding the loss of independence never prepared me for the reality of it. While sharing your life with anyone provides a wide variety of learning experiences and requires a willingness to compromise, change and evolve, that is not what I am speaking of. I am referring to how your legal rights, your legal independence in the world, change once that marriage contract is signed. I'm sure that anyone that has gone through a divorce is chuckling to themselves reading this but I don't think most women give this a second thought when considering marriage. I was only woken up to this fact when I called my auto insurance agent to resolve a billing error a month after I married. The agent informed me that because I had added my husband to my policy, it granted him the same control over the policy that I had. He could even cancel the policy and they were not legally obligated to notify me. I was completely dumbstruck that this form of coverture was still in existence! We are still discovering how pervasive it is in society after several happy years together. I believe that the marriage license application and certificate is generally thought of as just another "task" on a wedding check list. Why is there no legal obligation for those that issue these contracts to notify us of the changes to our rights upon signing? Why are we not prompted to consult with a lawyer? Am I the first to question and confront this? It feels that way.

    11 years ago

  • hchildress12

    Holly and John from ZCreateDesign says:

    What a wonderful post! My husband and I got married a year and a half ago. I honestly credit our Etsy shop for lending a hand in many of the learning experiences and the deepening of our relationship in that first year and beyond. The fact that something we made together for our own wedding was the basis of our new business venture has kept our wedding, and in turn our love, somewhat fresh in our minds and has certainly been a romantic conversation piece. That, in addition to the strengthening growth as we face a new world in business as a team - making decisions together, making mistakes together, learning and leaning on each other as we grow and as our shop grows - has been such an integral part of who we are as a couple. It certainly wasn't easy going from engaged to married, and absolutely not easy going from newlyweds to business partners... but I wouldn't change a thing as every smile and every tear has led us to where we are...and that's a pretty wonderful place. :)

    11 years ago

  • yparharidou
  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    I love it, such great advice!

    11 years ago

  • surlefeu

    Kristine Fachet from surlefeu says:

    What a timely and thought-proving article. We celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary in just a few days, and I feel like we're finally settling into married life! We were going through the process of buying a house while we were preparing for our wedding (we actually closed on it literally one week before the wedding), and right after the wedding we jumped into restoring the house and making it our own. Our honeymoon period was spent sanding, painting, and tearing out old carpet (as well as our hair!). Plus, we had not lived together before the wedding as many young couples do these days. It was rough dealing with so many changes at one time, but we made it and are ready to tackle anything together now. I agree that marriage can feel very isolating sometimes as you move from being single to being part of a "package deal" - unless you had couple friends to begin with, most friends seem to drift away. But the great thing about being in a marriage is that you are never truly alone - your partner will always be there for you when you need them.

    11 years ago

  • berrymorin

    Rona B says:

    16 yrs ago my husband and I sat at the kitchen table to discuss what type of marriage would we have. We were going to create our marriage from scratch. It's been loads of fun and tears. We've raised a 20 yr son, fostered a 18 year daughter and moved several times. Make it work for you.

    11 years ago

  • nicolanis

    Michelle from FoamyFactory says:

    lovely story! I'm not married, but hope to experience it soon!

    11 years ago

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jackie b from jewelrybyjackie says:

    This is an amazing article with real advice and awesome insight. I will be married in less than a month's time and this is very relevant and appreciated. Thanks!

    11 years ago

  • Toxicguineapigs

    Maggy O'Reilly from OReillyInk says:

    This is a wonderful modern take on being newly married. Well done.

    11 years ago

  • coleyclothing

    coleyclothing from ColeyClothing says:

    My husband became ill from a chronic illness 6 months into the engagement. Two and a half years later, he is finally doing better and back at work. Now I feel like our real marriage can begin, where as before we were in crisis mode.

    11 years ago

  • rfkrocklk

    Nechama Leah Kocheran from TheInspiredOwl says:

    Marriage is one of the most interesting things I think any of us will ever experience. There is no normal. There is no "what to expect". And in some ways there isn't much good advice that isn't very general. People told me the first year is the is the hardest! The first year was an opening to a whole new world of knowing self and conquering little fears in the back of my personal psychological closet. It was beauty. It was freeing. It was a fun ride with my favorite person in the world. Then some other people told me that the second year is the hardest. The second year was an adventure. Conquering things and moving forward in life together. Becoming more of a team. Learning about being real adults and managing all the hum drum money this and that while still being so happy to share it with one another. Then they told me the third year is when real life kicks in and it's a major bummer. I never really listened to "them" but by this time I really wasn't listening. And this time "they" were not any more right than before. Sure marriage has it's discomforts. But where can there be growth without discomfort? And where can there be deep happiness without a fight to get there? I always think that the things that may hurt the most are the things that are most worth it. It all depends on your viewpoint. Tying yourself to another person can either feel like entrapment or like freedom. It's the most beautiful when you come, firstly, to the realization that you were just a half a person before and now your finally complete. Whether there are moments when they completely exasperate you or you don't understand them at all it's still you and there are moments when you have, no doubt, not understood yourself and been completely fed up with "you"! I am you. You are me. We are we. It's work. It's a lovely lifelong work. Marriage.

    11 years ago

  • kathleenloree

    kathleen Stephenson from BlackRabbitSociety says:

    We are less then a year into our lifelong commitment. We still have a lot of growing to do, both together and seperate. But I look forward to it, with all my being.

    11 years ago

  • vevela2012

    emma zhang from vevela2012 says:

    very good,I love it!!

    11 years ago

  • TheArtofHintz

    Jen Hintz from TheArtofHintz says:

    Wonderful and thoughtful post... I find myself in a strange place as I am newly engaged to the man I've spent just shy of 9 years with. He helped to support me through college, we settled into "adult" jobs and learned to pay (our own, no joint accounts yet) bills. We just bought our own home and for the first time we get to live together, no roommates, no parents down the hall - just us. It's amazing to me where we've gotten to and now that I'm staring at the idea of planning a wedding it seems a bit odd that we don't have all of those "firsts" standing on the other side of the wedding date. But I feel far more comfortable in our decision and our readiness for the titles husband and wife having spent time practicing our roles, we'll see how that perspective changes as we go...

    10 years ago

  • mlezcano

    Mary Lezcano from BellaBboutique says:

    I'm going on 6 months as a 'wife', and in my instance it doesn't feel like there has been much change at all with a small exception, the 'team' feeling. That team feeling makes you act as a unit versus acting alone. I take have to take my husband into consideration when making most decisions now, it's not just me anymore. Decisions that each of us make affect each other and that has both been an adjustment but has been really unifying as a couple. I don't expect the growing pains/joys to ever end, it's a part of life!

    10 years ago

  • StayArtisan

    J.K. Ramirez from HudsonBlueArtisans says:

    After 12 years.. I can say: two great boys, and many joyful days past and still to come.

    10 years ago

  • nutshellcards

    Stephen Bushnik from NutshellCards says:

    Wonderful sentiments! Keeping "love communication" lines open with your partner is precisely why Nutshell Cards were created...to fend off divorce and keep couples engaged. Valentine's shouldn't be celebrated 1 day a year! https://www.etsy.com/listing/118404731/in-love-couples-cards-15pk-bundle-of

    10 years ago