Hitched: Reflections On The First Six Months Of Marriage

On Sunday, Patrick and I celebrated our six-month wedding anniversary by watching nearly seven hours of what Netflix claims are “Halloween favorites” and eating a delicious homemade caprese salad, as Patrick decided that six months is the “caprese anniversary.” No doubt he has some culinary deliciousness planned in six more months.

How has my life changed since April 21, 2012? In some ways, not at all. In other ways … not a lot. In still more ways? Not much. In fact, the manifestations of marriage in my day-to-day life are almost negligible, and perhaps because Patrick and I already lived together and wanted to be with each other forever before we decided to put a piece of paper on it. But also perhaps because, after you spend months planning the hoopla of a wedding — even a small one, even an inexpensive one, like ours was — almost anything would seem banal in comparison.

Some changes are negative, such as the fact that I actually, seriously cannot just run out and adopt another cat at random from the ostensibly no-kill shelter just because they’re starting to euthanize them because they’re overrun with cats. (Are you reading this Patrick!?!? Overrun with cats! Killing them! Think of their little meows! Their tiny paws!) But Patrick has (thus far well-managed) feline allergies and we’ve already talked about getting a dog as our next pet. We live in a 700-square-foot house and more litter boxes would not be a lifestyle improvement. No more cats for me, however much I might want them.

Other changes are neutral but interesting, such as the fact that I give fewer shits about my body hair than ever, which I’m almost afraid to admit since wives are, in the popular consciousness, guaranteed to “let themselves go” at the first opportunity. Of course, “letting myself go” only counts in this case if you think body hair is gross or inappropriate, which I do not. And if Patrick were scared of ladyfur, he’d have hit the road years ago, anyway. So we can probably tally this one up to “Getting older, lazier and more inclined to tell anyone who cares about other people’s body hair to eat a bag of dicks” more than anything else.

There’s also the fact that now I have joint financial ruin to consider when managing my money, despite the fact that Patrick and I very happily do not share a bank account. This week, Patrick needed a whole bunch of work done on his car; it was the first time since our wedding that we’d run into a financial situation that might require joint effort for an un-fun thing. I found myself pleasantly surprised to be happy to give him — give, not lend, I said to myself, in awe of the way my mind suddenly grouped us as a unit rather than two individuals — whatever I could.

Sex became a concern to me, after a few months as husband and wife, in a way it hadn’t been before. Were we having enough of it? With the right levels of enthusiasm? Was it becoming routine? Complacent? Never before in long-term relationships had I worried about how much and what kind of sex I was having — I was always having girlfriend sex, the sexy kind! Married sex is supposed to be the boring, infrequent kind. I found 50’s housewife narratives I didn’t even know I’d internalized bubbling to the surface about how, as a wife, it was my duty to keep things spicy in the bedroom (or the kitchen! Or the living room! Oh god, what if we are having too much sex in the bed and not enough sex on the desk!? Boner apocalypse!). Luckily, the solution to this problem is just to have more sex, which is the best solution to any problem, ever.

Some changes seem to have happened to other people rather than to me or us. For example, my parents: they now intend to give us joint birthday presents instead of individual ones. To be fair, Patrick and I have the same birthday, so this makes some degree of sense. But it also makes me feel weirdly like they think we’re twins, instead of married people. [Although twins really deserve their own separate presents. Come on! — Jessica]

The positive changes? Small, yes, but mighty. There’s almost always a pot of coffee waiting for me in the morning. I’ve got someone with which to devise elaborate Halloween plans involving a camouflage bush costume and scaring the pants off some little kids. Someone to hand me my bath towel after a shower when I realize I’ve left it in the other room  … for life.

And because Patrick and I grew up in wildly different places — at least, I consider suburban North Texas and San Francisco to be wildly different — I’ve acquired a whole host of new and respectable sports alliances, which any North Texan can tell you is useful when you’ve been depending on the Rangers and the Cowboys for long, sad, disappointing years of long sadness. So let’s go Giants! Oh lord, it still hurts a little, though.

There’s also the sense of groundedness I now feel. Throughout my adult life, I felt excited by my lack of ties to any one person or place, but also a little bit unnerved by it. Now, with Patrick as my husband, I feel like I have an anchor of sorts. Not one that weighs me down or keeps me static, but one that can be my support no matter where life sweeps us.

The biggest change, I guess, is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

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