What To Expect Your First Year – Part One

Dear Husband,
So. Here we are, 52 + weeks down this path called marriage, but very much still at the beginning. I’m sure that some erudite scholar would deem that what we have together is still in its infancy stage and on that note, I’d have to agree. Especially since I have also found that being married to you has made me feel at times as though I have an infant. Albeit a big one. But that’s another story. In regards to our marriage though, I was warned I’m sure of certain things to expect going in, but like so many other aspects in life, you really just have to figure it out when you get there. There are occasionally however some guidebooks around to help you along the way. Out of curiosity and boredom the other day, I came across What To Expect Your First Year. Which would have been quite useful I’m sure if it actually had anything at all to do with matrimony, which it doesn’t. It is quite clear once you have gotten past the title that this book has precious little to do with marriage itself yet looking at the index, there are some curious correlations…
For the first month, some of the “concerns” listed were sleeping patterns and positions. In hindsight I can definitely identify with that. After we got married, all of a sudden I was sharing my bed with someone else every single night and I couldn’t just go back to sleeping by myself to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. We each had to re-negotiate the long term positioning of limbs and figure out how far we could stretch out into someone else’s personal space before we were likely to cause a physical injury. Which doesn’t mean that I won’t still kick, slap, hit and thwack you every once in a while with a knee (unconsciously!) in a slightly inappropriate place thrown in for good measure of course (as you have delighted in telling me). Or that you don’t in return bean me in the head occasionally with your elbow (as I enjoy pointing out to you – how I have survived so far without a bruise I don’t know!) but I like to think that it doesn’t happen now as often as it might if we weren’t used to sleeping together.
Some other concerns for the first month were exposure to outsiders and coping with crying which oddly enough also struck me. Your social development seems to change once you get married. Its not the same for every couple I know but there is usually something that shifts. I am not the sort of wife who wants her new husband to stop speaking to other women and in fact I encourage you to maintain your personal friendships (whatever the sex of the other person) but when one or the other of us makes new friends, they quickly seem to become “our friends” to some extent and we often end up entertaining as a couple, if not with couples. That’s not to say that we don’t know some great single people but by tacit agreement, once we become married, its like we joined the ranks of some secret club. Now we know. I’m not sure what exactly we know but it seems whether you’ve been married for 50 minutes or 50 years, the jokes and insinuations start and you tend to gravitate towards those with whom you can share. Maybe theres just an identification with other people whom you know are living the promise to willingly stand by another that they understand will completely and utterly at some point in time try their patience to the point of distraction. Maybe that’s what you know?
As for the coping with crying thing, well I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I have since I got married and I’m pretty sure that you haven’t either. Which probably sounds quite horrible really although its not actually that bad. Although sometimes its not actually all that good either because not all the crying jags are brought on by those fluffy Hallmark or Huggies moments where you are supposedly emotionally enriched or deeply honoured. No, sometimes they come about when one of us just feels quite inadequate or we think the other is being a complete and utter tool. Or maybe that was when one of us feels inadequate because the other thinks we are a complete and utter tool? These occasions are usually when there is a lack of sleep involved or other pressures around as well but nine times out of ten in these situations, we have one of those pivotal discussions afterwards and we’re both better off and stronger for it. The rest of those times I’m probably just being overly susceptible to emotion or a big girls blouse and I’ve been coping with that just fine for the past 30 years.
And that theme has continued on throughout the previous year of marriage for us I think. Not the big girls blouse bit or even necessarily the coping bit because I don’t think of our marriage as merely something that has existed but the communication followed by the moving on to a better place bit. That is what I remember about our first year. That and I feel like I should have been running around with L Plates on my back. You, dear husband, frequently insist that I am the best wife ever but even though I think you’re biased and you don’t really have much of a frame of reference, I’m not sure how you can possibly think this. Its flattering nonetheless however and I hope that you never stop thinking that way.
Totally yours,
Your Loving Wife

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