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On Being Married Practically a Year

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So far, we've been married 11 months which is pretty bizarre to me.

I still turn to say to Brian, "We're married!" on a regular basis. As if by saying it over and over, I will somehow be able to wrap my head around the idea of being married. It's too huge for me to really understand in one day or 270 days, but I feel like maybe that is the whole point—marriage is supposed to be understood only over thousands of days—millions of minutes.

When Brian asked me to marry him, it felt like he'd invited me to sit with him on a back porch somewhere—something that equaled peace and gorgeousness. Some thing as natural and as easy as taking a drink of water. It felt good to make a choice that didn't make me feel chills or hyper or scared or overly star-crossed romantic. It felt good to love him—to be loved by him.

When we got engaged, it was important that I didn't need to marry him. It was important that I could actually live without him. I'd had so many dating escapades where the stakes were really high and spiked with adrenaline. It felt good to know I was choosing, not being fated to the altar based on a feeling I had on the first or second date.

It was a relief to say out loud: If I broke up with him, I would marry someone else good and kind. I can live without him, but I want to marry him.  I don't have to marry him, but I choose to love him forever.

A year ago, I may have apologized for how anti-romantic that might sound to someone not inside my brain. But, I won't ever apologize now.

At my reception, my best friend Emiline read Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. When I originally asked her to read a poem she loved about love, she immediately started speaking the words, and then my friend Mary chimed in. It was a pretty magical moment.

And, it was a magical moment when she prefaced her recitation at our wedding by talking about how love should be rational. Then she talked about lichen, and how it is two living organisms that combine. She talked about how lichen can survive the harshest climates and conditions in the world. Then, she recited the words:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no; it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests, and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass come; love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 
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The day we got home from our honeymoon, Brian went to the grocery store to purchase food and tampons. While I slept off cramps, he made me dinner.

A few days later, when I clogged the toilet, he went to the hardware store to buy a plunger.

He now knows that I sometimes set my alarm a full hour before I need to get up—just so I can go back to sleep, and that I often leave my belongings all over town. He also knows I have to go to the bathroom, sometimes, twice a night.

I know that he always eats breakfast. He is particular about where he buys gasoline, and he loves nature documentaries.

We do each other's laundry. We make each other dinner. He makes me breakfast. It took us five months to sleep through an entire night without waking each other up.

We fight about downtown parking and carbon caps, and I feel perpetually guilty about the time I spend online when maybe we should be having a conversation.

We're still working on organizing exercise into mornings filled with each other and after-work evenings of dinner and errands and other things. We have "drawing" time recently, which means he draws and I write blog posts. He does not start the timer until he hears me actually typing on the computer because he knows I will procrastinate until the bitter end.

I make him listen to Dave Ramsey. He tells me about stories he hears on the news. We pray for each other's family members and friends because now they are ours. The best: when we can pray in gratitude for answered prayers for people we love together.

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This is all to say, mostly songs and movies lie about what romantic love looks like and what it feels like.

It's okay to choose to fall in love. And, it's okay if you don't feel desperate or star-crossed about it. In the words of my cousin, Sally: Find someone who is helpful. Find someone who nourishes you. In the words of my friend, Samantha: Find someone who is kind to you. As my friend Carly says, Balm to your soul.


Marrow to your bones. 

Find someone who is your equal.
As Emiline says, A collaboration.


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Dear readers, what do you say? What is your advice on finding and/or creating a marriage of "true minds"?

What surprised you the most about being married?

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Reading List:
The article starts out slow but gets amazing real quick. Presents research by John Gottman on how he could found physiological factors predicted how a marriage would end (or continue). Basically, the couples who were feeling a lot of adrenaline—didn't make it. The couples who were calm and generous—still married and happy.

Favorite quotes: 
"In other words, it was in the practicality that I found the love I was looking for."
"Imagine a whole nation of people constantly chasing the emotions they had when they were dating.  A country of people trying to live a Disney movie."

7 comments:

  1. i have a few boys that i dated seriously before i met my husband and i really feel like i could have married any one of them and we would have led a perfectly wonderful life together (they were the ones that broke it off). i used to feel guilty for thinking that, but the longer that i'm married, the more convinced i am that it is true. yes, our marriage works because we have things in common and because there is physical chemistry, but mostly it works because we are selfless with each other and because we are facing in the same direction and striving for common goals. those goals become more common the longer you are married and as your lives become intertwined. but above all, service and selflessness is what makes you love each other and what makes you comfortable in a relationship.

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  2. I loved your essay though it made me cry. It chronicled the kind of things I miss most since Papa Tam's passing. It made me grateful for "the magic of ordinary days"- grateful for the many days I feel him near and still part of my life.

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  3. This spoke to me big time! I cherish the practical in my marriage. I love that I love to be around him when it's not something super romantic going on. I'm grateful everyday that I found happiness now in such a sweet and simple way.
    My advice would be to always look for the positive in your partner. Assume that they are doing their all and don't murmur. Try to embrace and appreciate your differences. Learn about things they love that you don't know about yet. Serve without expecting or hoping for something in return. We're coming up on 5 years and I can't believe it! Its flown by and at the same time it feels like he's always been by my side.
    Happy Birthday Emily!!

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  4. I love this! When Micah and I were dating I remember thinking that maybe something was wrong because I wasn't having crazy extreme feelings or twitterpation (as one of my college roommates liked to call it). Then I was talking with my Mom and the word that came to mind to describe how I felt was Content. At first I didn't like using that word since I typically associate it with "average" or "just okay", but as soon as I said it out loud, I had a similar feeling of peace and happiness that you described. For me it is like the stripped down, pure version of happiness - being content - and I love it! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I'm so grateful that you decided to join our family! :D

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  5. For now, I'll just have to be the kind of person who could do this...Happy Birthday Emily!

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  6. Oh man, Em. Thanks for posting.

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  7. Welp, I'm not married, but this sounds pretty accurate to me. I've been learning a few of these lessons. Love is learning a person and loving what you find out. Building each other up. Serving each other. I'm glad you're happy with your choice. Thanks for the post. :-)

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