I was asked about how I am handling married life this morning while in the break room at work.  Attempting honesty, as opposed to the typical “great,” I replied by saying that it is nothing like I expected.  It seems that no matter how much you prepare for marriage, you are inevitably left feeling like you have no idea what you just got yourself into.  You really have no idea until you’re in it.  The way your relationship changes, the way your sex life changes, the way you change, the way he changes, it’s quite unbelievable.  In fact, sometimes I think things have changed so much, I don’t even know who I am anymore.

People are waiting longer to get married these days.  You see it more and more that men and women are postponing marriage until their 30s or beyond.  In fact, I thought I’d be one of those people, until I met the right guy.  I thought I’d be going on fun vacations with my single friends, buying cute shoes whenever I wanted, filling my free time with whatever sounded like a good idea.  Even though I’d heard that after the wedding I would become a “we” and have to compromise, I didn’t know how that would translate into my own life.  And let me tell you, it’s a huge adjustment.  It’s not necessarily a bad adjustment, it’s just a sort-of strange, sideways adjustment.

My husband confirmed it for me last night.  He said, “Relationships change after you get married.  Everything’s different,” like he was some kind of marriage expert.  But, I get that things change.  I just didn’t realize how much things would change.  I didn’t realize that every time I wanted to do something for myself, it would affect him in some way.  Either it would affect our budget, or it would take up my time and he would miss me.  In a way, it’s a loss of freedom.  If I impulsively want to buy something extra at the grocery store or eye a pair of heels at a boutique that I may have bought had I been single, I have to think twice now.  I can’t just do whatever I feel like doing unless I want to explain my behavior, or purchase, later.  In some ways I equate it to the feeling you have when you’re young, you haven’t left home yet, and you had to ask your parents for money to go to the movies or justify buying a new outfit to your skeptical father.  The difference here is that you have had the taste of living by yourself and have been able to do whatever you want whenever you want.

That’s the problem with waiting several years before getting married.  The more time you spend in the real world fending for yourself, the harder it is to compromise or adapt your behavior.  After you enter the real world, you create a set of goals and set up a life path.  When you get married, if you’re lucky, you and your spouse have similar or complimentary life goals that will mesh as you grow together.  Even if you do have these similar life goals, the way you go about achieving them may differ from the process of your spouse.  That is what creates the period of adjustment.  Like I said earlier, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just… different.  As things have begun change in our relationship, I have found my own personal goals begin to change.

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