Quite some time ago, I read an article on the naffness of wedding speeches. It went on to describe the oh-so predictable vocabulary on the day of matrimony: the cheesy “always and forevers”, and the “I will always love you’s”. Of course there’s rarely any mention of ugly 3am screaming matches or sobbing phone calls back home to your mother.
From day one, society grooms us to have these high and totally unrealistic expectations of marriage as some sort of mystical, perfect experience where the toilet seat is never left up.
Perhaps the most honest wedding speech I’ve heard to date was given by a small-town minister who opened up his ceremony with: “There are four types of people here today: those who’ve walked this aisle and are happy; those who’ve walked this aisle and aren’t; those who can’t wait to walk this aisle; and those who walked this aisle and sadly are divorced.”
I have always been so painfully aware of all of these possibilities, so aware of how society has painted this rose-tinted picture of the whole thing, that I deliberately had no expectations of marriage before going into my own.
I woke up and got married to a man I love very, very, very much because my guts said I should. That was it. No plans, no expectations.
Society grooms us to have these high and totally unrealistic expectations of marriage as some sort of mystical, perfect experience
I found it strange how people would ask, “How does it feel to be married?” Like I would answer with some profound revelation on how I suddenly understood the true meaning of life or that I had been changed in a truly radical way.
It was a huge adjustment to become a married woman, the same way I guess it is a huge adjustment to have children or grow old. Ask my husband, he’ll probably say exactly the same thing.
And still, with no expectations and no preconceived ideas of how the marriage chapter of my life would feel, I have to say I have been blown away by the utter beauty and complexity of life partnership. I remember waking up next to my new husband in a shoddy B&B in downtown Genoa, Italy and saying, “Älskling, it feels amazing to be your wife!”
Sure, marriage does come with its share of adulthood, some seriousness and a slap of normal life. But it can also mean mad adventure, true partnership and utter ridiculousness. Marriage is not one thing. It’s many things.
Looking back, our first year as newly weds has not been all smooth sailing. I doubt the first year ever is. If anything, life threw us some of the toughest hurdles of our entire relationship. Sometimes, I think we made it through that year because we were married. When times got tough, we had each other, we had marriage. There’s something about being husband and wife that means not giving up easily, and wanting to work at it.
There will be days when you don’t give much to your marriage and days when you take the other person totally for granted. Days when you’re not in the mood, days when you’re sick and miserable. On those days, the other one will have to give so much more. It won’t always be pretty and perfect and Facebook-esque.
It’s about understanding that you are not your relationship; that you are you and he is he
It’s give, it’s take and it’s some things in between. It’s about understanding that you are not your relationship; that you are you and he is he and together you’re reaching for the clouds and falling on pin cushions all at the same time. It’s about communicating, and not hurting each other. It’s about staying interested and interesting. It’s about being on the same side, not opposite sides.
All-in-all, marriage hasn’t changed me, it’s made me more of who I am as a person. Everyday, my marriage encourages me to become a better version of myself, for me and for my husband. And however the cards will fall, I am deeply happy for giving this marriage thing the chance.