Friday, May 27, 2016

Thoughts on One Year of Marriage (Or What NOT to say to the Happy Couple)

This week marked one year of wedded bliss for my husband and me.  We celebrated by baking a cake the same flavor as our wedding cake once the tradition of year old wedding cake was deemed "gross" with the freezer burn forming puddles of water on top of our actual wedding cake.  We also went out to eat at a restaurant where we had won a gift certificate.  There were a couple kids screaming that had they been drunk adults they would have been asked to leave.  (In fact, most drunks I have ever seen have behaved better than these kids did.)  We killed two bugs at our table, and had mediocre food.  We have decided that after our wedding night in the ER and then later a trip to a resort that looked like it could have staged a 1970s horror film or 1970s porn movie, we're not going to try to do anything special for our anniversary again.  

It seemed that nearly everyone who gave us advice when we married was negative.  The last year we were dating we dealt with blackmail, slander / libel, 9 family friends and neighbors passed away (including my mother who was my best friend and my husband's beloved WWII veteran grandfather).  We were renovating the house, and had burst water pipes with no water for over a week in the winter.

Yet, we were told all that was "normal" and our first year of marriage would be harder.  I am thankful to say that everyone who said that lied to us.  (Just kidding, they probably had NO idea how difficult it was when we were dating.)  I am happy to say that we had running water all 365 days of our first year of marriage.  There was no tearing out carpet that was 50 years old and discovering that the electrical wiring was unsafe.  My mother didn't die again.  There was no slander, libel, or blackmail.

Because of all the "well-meaning" advice, I nearly didn't want to get married.  I thought if marriage meant life would get worse than what I had been through the year previously, I didn't want to get married if that meant more chronic disease diagnoses or cancer scares.

Where we had our biggest difficulty in our first year of marriage was financial.  I landed in the emergency room on our wedding night.  I had no health insurance, and I wouldn't be covered by my husband's insurance for about a week.  Add that to the fact that the average wedding gift to us was $3.  (We had a huge amount of people who came to the wedding who didn't give us anything.)  As I'm sure you can figure, $3 a person doesn't even cover the cost of the meal.  We assumed our wedding gifts would cover at least food expenses, and so we also started marriage in debt because we had anticipated a little higher of an average wedding gift.  (Please, if you attend a wedding, give at least a small gift, or if you can't afford it, write a letter wishing the couple well.  That would be cherished probably even more than a gift.)

I was encouraged by the older couples, however.  There was a lady who was recognized at our wedding for being married the longest.  She was celebrating 58 years of marriage and she said "Aim for 60!  I am!"  I informed her I would be 102 years old if we had 60 years of marriage and she said, "Still aim for it."   That had to be my favorite advice anyone gave.  Those married less time, even those married 25 years, seemed to be full of gloom about the journey we were beginning.

Has it been difficult?  At times.  Has it been more difficult than burying two very loved family members?  NOT AT ALL!  I would take financial difficulties any day over multiple phone calls to the police because of blackmail, etc.

I know that these people thought they were wishing us well, but in the end, it made me dread marriage.  Being married is a wonderful thing when you are married to the right person.  Don't heap gloom on a wedding day by being a naysayer, even if you don't believe that marriage will work out.  Please let the couple be happy anticipating their wedding and life together.  

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