Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Being Married...Happily So

Why do people say that the first year(s) of marriage are the most difficult? Is it the common experience of most newlyweds that their first years of marital bliss aren't quite so blissful? It stands to reason that merging two lives into one household (presuming no pre-existing cohabitation occurred) might require some compromise and adjustment, but is it really that hard?

Perhaps the statement is a bit of a misnomer, and misleading; perhaps one should instead be saying that each successive year of marriage is better than the last. And perhaps the statement should be qualified to only apply to those who make the effort to invest in, and build on, their marriage.

Hubbs and I are entering into year 3, having celebrated o
ur 2nd anniversary back in July. I can't say that our first year was super difficult, though of course there were moments of negotiation that had to take place as we learned to live with each other as man and wife. Since our first year, which was awesome, our marriage has only gotten better with time. That doesn't mean that our first year was fraught with insane levels of difficulty and challenge; it only means that something amazing has become ever more so over the years

To me, a marriage is what two people make of it. If their goals are aligned and they both wish for their marriage to remain intimate and affectionate like it was during their honeymoon, then they will take the steps necessary to ensure that this occurs. The so-called "honeymoon period" only ends when one or both parties decide to end it and to live differently than they did during the honeymoon phase of their relationship.

I've seen couples married from 5 to over 50 years remain on honeymooning terms with their spouses. The lovey-dovey affection hasn't appeared to fade in spite of age, time, children, or grandchildren. I've also seen people married for less than 5 years, who live as though they are merely roommates sharing a home and a bed, and who do not appear to nourish and cherish their couplehood as they would have done when they first got married. In the end, I suppose it is about choice, and how these spouses have decided to cultivate (or fail to cultivate) their marriages.

As for me and my Hubbs, we belong to the former category. Hubbs asked me a long time ago, "Why does the honeymoon period have to end?" It doesn't. We are committed to making ours last as long as we last in this life, and so we can quite confidently say that every subsequent year of our marriage will only be better than the last. :)

My mentor teacher laughs at me all the time when I tell her about Hubbs and I going on dates, or taking getaway trips, or generally being romantic. She teases that we're still on our honeymoon, because we're still newlyweds. I daresay that, after 2 years of marriage, we're technically not newlyweds anymore. That said, we'll always be like newlyweds, because in our minds, our honeymoon isn't ever going to end.


Cristina :) said...

I hope not! But the first three or so years were bliss for us! Four was hard....then great again and its been hard the past ...two or so? it goes in cycles and life and work and children complicate things. Varying schedules and financial difficulties can make life very hard too. You guys are blessed in that last regard, not having to scrape to get by, which I think, can sometimes lead to the stress that can erode at things. Its a really complicated thing that does take constant work and nurturing. Glad you are enjoying the ride :)

Natalie said...

Although not married Tony and I have been living together for about two years and together for three. I think we are somewhere in the middle. We aren't as excited and amazed at the fact that the other person is around as we used to be but we still cuddle and compliment each other and are very affectionate.

I do think the relationship has changed somewhat having lost some of its newness. We are better at compromising than we used to be and don't try to impress each other quite as much. I guess we have gotten comfortable and that isn't a bad thing.

Wynn said...

Honestly... the first five years of our marriage were the hardest years of my life... I was a new Christian with four toddlers and Himself was busy in a lot of ministries... I think I was also battling depression at the time too...

The next five were hard, but we started learning to work together on stuff and Himself learned to pray for me.

The last seven have been wonderful! We still have some hard days, and arguments. But we love each other more than life! More each day.