I've been struggling to express this idea for a while now, and still am, but here goes...
People always ask, how's married life? And my answer is always, pretty much the same as non-married life. Not much has changed. But the thing is, while that's true, it's also not completely true and it's taken me a while to figure out why. I mean, we lived together beforehand, we were committed beforehand, our moneys were shared beforehand... so ostensibly, nothing has changed. But it has, and I've finally figured out why.
While we dated, I asked myself a lot of questions like "are you sure?" "is this the one?" "can you live with his flaws, and he yours?" "do we argue well together" etc, etc.... Admitting this to others was always somewhat of a challenge for me because I always felt like it would be perceived as unhappiness or dissatisfaction in the relationship, when really, it had nothing to do with that. For those who know me personally, of course, the amount of over-analysis that went into these questions bordered on being manic, which probably acerbated the concerns they felt when the questions were raised.
However, throughout the marriage preparations something changed. I continued to ask these questions, most often to Paul (yes, you should feel sorry for him and applaud him for being such a patient and brave soul!) but somewhere in there, the questions were answered and now that the decision has been made, a sort of calm has set in. There's a sort of peacefulness in me and in my perception of the relationship that wasn't always there before. Which is weird really because on a logical level marriage has changed nothing. We were committed before the "I dos" and marriage really is no guarantee of anything other than saying that you'll fight it out before you walk away. Yeah, I know there are those who disagree but I'm from divorced parents and I know that some marriages last, and others don't - it depends on the work that the couple in question puts in... but that also holds true whether you're married or not (so I'm totally contradicting myself to some extent). And I don't know if it was really the wedding itself or the process leading up to it that brought about the change, but the change is there so the question is moot.
But who knows, maybe it's as simple as the fact that on some level I feel reassured that if the going gets tough, or we have some terrible argument, that he's committed to working it out and trying everything before walking away (and vice versa). Maybe not being married but having a child together would create that same sense of security. Maybe just knowing that the commitment was that solid, regardless of marriage, would have created that security and we would have gotten here anyways after a period of time and having really merging our lives together fully. The end results are the same regardless of the personal path that led us here, for me (and us, cause we've talked about it) marriage has changed us, albeit not in the ways that are tangible or even measurable.
So I guess when people ask, how's married life, I should be saying great, never better, never happier. Because it's true. Nothing has changed, yet it has. And I feel more at peace in my life than ever before. Will that stay? Who knows. Am I just in the honeymoon phase? Possibly. But since I am not really the gushy type, I don't say these things. I don't know how to explain the why behind the happiness ... at least not until now (and even now I'm not so sure that I've done so without muddling things up). I know that a lot of newlyweds say that marriage did change something, maybe it's for the same reasons or maybe it's for entirely different reasons... but I guess that am officially added to the crowd of couples out there that believe that there was something transcendent about the ceremony itself and that on some level, though I struggle to express it and end up sounding like it's all about reassurance and security when it's more than that, that getting married has had an impact on us and our relationship.