Having now been married for a grand total of two and a half months, I’ve decided this fully entitles me to write a post about what I’ve learned being a wife (!). It will be long and exhaustive to represent the many, many hours of married life I have under my belt. So here are the Top Five things I’ve gathered so far….
1) When I was younger I often read Erich Segal’s novel Love Story – mainly because it was pretty short and our copy had a wonderfully 70′s pop art image on the front. It had all sorts of wonderful elements to it – college life, young marriage, hidden illness and death – oh the delightful tragical-ness of it all. It also tried to teach me that being in love, means never having to say you’re sorry.
Well, 2 months of marriage has taught me that this is bullshit. While I can see the romance of that sentiment, you absolutely need to say you’re sorry. Speaking from experience, we tend to be far more ghastly, far more vicious, to those we love best; as opposed to work-colleagues or strangers. Yet, we are quicker to apologise to those types, never mind that they aren’t going to cook us dinner, dry our tears or split the bills (well not often anyway). Far more prudent to apologise to a spouse, who, let’s face it can turn the life-support machines off. I have a fear that the consequences of not saying sorry for bad behaviour or misdeeds can ripple down the ages and I want lots of ages.
So apologise and mean it when you ought. The making up is rather fun.
2) Compromise is not a mythical and far away kingdom. It’s more like the name of the next street over, you actually have to walk up and down it regularly, especially if you’re popping to the shops.
I learnt more about this when we were planning our little celebration recently. The celebration started life not having anything to do marriage, it was about growing hair etc. I had secret Pinterest boards and fantasies about flower crowns, it helped brighten the vegetative post chemo days.
Then we eloped and boom the party had another meaning too. Which meant another human (who I’d just promised to share everything with) suddenly started having opinions! I mean WTF?!? It took me a little while to get used to this new state of affairs. Obviously I was gracious and accommodating at every turn, it definitely was not when I learnt the importance of an apology.
However, at some point, when my version of events was not entirely tallying up to A’s version. I realised how lucky I was to have such a hands-on and interested partner. It would have been awful if he cared not a jot, simply grunting in response to the hundred paper cranes I folded.
3) Apparently married couples who hobby together stay together. I can testify to that – even when A and I split up, we still co-managed our allotment (which probably was an indication that we weren’t entirely done yet). The was often a lot of angry digging or weeding but neither of us backed away.
You always have something to talk about with shared hobbies but what I’m learning the other side of “I do” is; that having separate hobbies can be jolly useful too. While I’m sure A wishes I was more interested in bikes or space and while I sometimes wish I’d never pointed out to A. that he swims like a frog. The time and space away from each other means we are ever so pleased to see the other upon our return. Plus, as we don’t have a TV it gives us more topics to talk about…
4) That song from Guys and Dolls is wrong, you can’t “marry a man today and change his ways tomorrow”. Thankfully I figured this out pre-wedding. The fundamentals of a person cannot and will not change. You marry them and their inability to navigate (me) or their need to hit an inanimate object which has some how wronged them, e.g. the chair they stubbed their toe on (A).
It is far, far better to try to find these quirks endearing or, in a pinch, ignore them all together. But seriously folks, you picked the strawberry, if you really wanted the apple, pick the apple because flambé, bake or liquidise – that strawberry ain’t never going to be an apple. You and your fruit will end up rotten, and mouldy probably with incredibly low self-esteem, for reasons of poor fruit choice. (I’m writing this on a fast day and clearly have food on the brain)
5) There’s a scene in When Harry met Sally where Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby’s characters have been listening to the angst of their dating friends. Carrie turns to Bruno and says “promise me, I never have to be out there again”. The best bit about marriage thus far? Being legally bound to my best friend, who also happens to be really rather yummy. It’s awesome. I recommend it to anyone. While I don’t think it has entirely changed our relationship or how we feel about each other. The safety of never having to be “out there” – be that dating or job-hunting or a hospital waiting room – alone is liberating. But please pick someone as opposed to anyone.
Now A. is nearly home from work and I’m going to have to put all of the above into action because I nearly burnt down the flat today (electric stove vs. plastic chopping board). So perhaps number 6 on the list will be that you can’t divorce someone for being scatty. A is a subscriber to little blog so I’m hoping he’ll read this, shake his head and thank his lucky stars he loves a scatty woman or shake his head and realise that he loves me despite of my culinary pyrotechnics.