As most of you know, prior to being married I was single for a very long time. I was the Serena Williams of dating, the undisputed champ, the Grand Slam Winner. For more on that period of my life see here or here or here.
I thought I was prepared for being a married person. I had been given advice, observed actual marriages in their natural habitats, and asked, what I thought, were thoughtful questions. Of course you know where this is going…I was shocked, yes shocked, to discover the truth about marriage.
I was told, more than a few times, “Once you are married, men will start hitting on you all the time.” Now, when I was single I was never hit on. Okay, maybe once or twice, but not often, and not by anyone who didn’t require a giant dose of penicillin and a breath mint.
It’s not that I am actively seeking to get hit on, but I confess, I have imagined a slew of charming men, fawning all over me at a bar, diving to get my attention, pleading with me for a date, a word, anything. In response, I would tilt my head slightly, let loose a deep sigh, and woe to their ears, announce I was happily married. They would cry “oh what a lucky guy” and I would agree, but because I was so delightful, they would buy me a drink anyway, then hasten away so I would not see their tears. It would be awesome and make up for all those years of only being hit on by Bud Light swilling slugs. Not once have I been hit on since I’ve been married. Not once. Wedding ring as a magnet? Malarkey!
On day 365 of our marriage (we are now at a delightful 376) I was informed by multiple people, that Jon and I were no longer newlyweds. Wha? There’s a time limit on that? Don’t remember that important tidbit ever coming up… Why does it matter? Because I still haven’t fully adjusted to actually being married, I need more time.
Being a newlywed means it’s still new which inherently means I’m still reading the manual, assembling the pieces and working on this new vocabulary that no one told would be so hard to integrate!
The word ‘husband” does not roll trippingly off my tongue. I still feel like I’m talking in the third person about someone else. And I have yet to introduce myself to anyone as Jon’s wife, because…well, come on…it’s the word wife. And also, for some odd reason, the word always makes me think of Judy Blume.
And let us not forget the addition of: in-laws, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law; And then there’s mutual decision; and joint as in joint taxes and joint bank account. But the strangest of all is what I call The Pronoun Swap.
It’s no longer I, it’s we. It’s not mine, it’s ours. (I’m talking metaphysical here, not stuff. I’m fine with stuff being ours, heck he brought the Kitchen Aid into the relationship). I’m not saying I want to go back to I and my, but when, for over two decades every decision big and small was mine mine mine, and then, what feels like suddenly, it’s ours ours ours, a shifting of perspective is required. I need to adjust to envisioning a shared future and I don’t feel a reasonable grace period is too much to ask for. Three hundred and sixty-five days does not a reasonable Grace Period make.
Once married, people don’t ask about these things, they just ask is it harder or easier than I thought – not about the important things, like language and my ego. So, to answer that, Is my non-new marriage hard? Compared to what? Making a croquembouche? No. Making a croquembouche is hard. Compared to living a fairy tale where Mr Darcy takes me to Pemberley and I have my servants make a croquembouche? Then yes, it is hard.
But I’m thinking, as long as I keep my marriage in constant perspective with dessert making, master the new language, and get over my non-swinging single days, I’m pretty sure Jon and I will be the next great doubles champions, just like Margaret Court and Ken Fletcher.