The Monogamist: What Marriage Feels Like
Well, I did it. A couple of weeks ago, I tied the knot. Got hitched. Became a ball and chain. And got my own ball and chain? People make it sound so weighty. When we got engaged, it did feel huge, like this gigantic life-altering decision that was so…permanent. And it is. I’m not saying it’s not. But you know what? It feels exactly the same as it did before. Yes, it’s still weird to refer to Andy as my husband, rather than boyfriend (never fiancé), and when I called our car insurance to tell them we’d gotten married, they sent us a $13.14 rebate check, which will buy us about four gallons of gas or a week’s worth of coffee, depending on our mood. A few years ago, I asked a friend who’d recently gotten married but had lived with her boyfriend for a few years how it felt, and her response was, “Exactly the same.” I didn’t believe her then, but now I get it. We’re living in the same house, have the same dog, same friends. The only major life change was that we had a party in our honor where we wore fancy clothes, ate good food and got drunk. The ceremony was amazing, and it feel very solid and real, but there wasn’t this gigantic lightning bolt that hit us and made us feel like adults or a married couple. I think that will come with time, and when we finally do some proper decorating and expunge the post-college frat-boy décor we seem to have going on in our place.
It must be different for couples that didn’t live together before they’re married. I can imagine that there’s more of a sense of permanence and finally feeling settled, but couples who don’t live together are becoming fewer and fewer. The one relief for me was finally merging our finances, which makes household expenses a thousand times easier (maybe worrying more about household expenses is the sign of a married person?). But in terms of monogamy and commitment, it feels like it did before. Some people might say that this is a dilution of the meaning of marriage, but I don’t think so. I think it’s actually better. Marriage shouldn’t be this big, scary thing, nor should it be taken too lightly. I think we took our relationship when we were just living in sin as seriously as we do now. We’re just as committed to each other as we were before, only now we have both church and state backing us up on that.
Bottom line, it feels good to know that we were both at a place in our lives where we wanted this to happen and that he’s better off with me, I’m better off with him, and we’re better together.