Several people have asked if married life feels different so far. Truthfully, I can’t say that it does. We live in the same home, have the same jobs, and I have the same last name as before. The only thing that has changed is what I call D to the people I buy produce from at the Farmer’s Market. But I guess that’s something. The reality is I still leave my clothes on the bedroom floor and D pretends not to notice. (Much.) He still forgets to wipe his hands after working on the bikes and I pretend I don’t see grease smudges on the doorknobs.
On our flight to Boston to get hitched a flight attendant saw my dress bag and blurted out “Don’t do it!” before letting me hang it in their mini-closet. I nervously laughed and found my seat, wondering what she knew about things that do not always work out despite your pledges to be supportive when it’s hardest to.
The first leg of our trip home D and I sat apart. The man occupying the window seat to my left told me his story and then asked for mine. When he learned I was newly married his tone changed. Who can you really trust these days, he asked? I looked down and noticed a gold band hugging his left ring finger. Your spouse I suggested? He conceded, but only because it seemed he should.
He told me that his wife did not accompany him on his trip to Maine for his grandmother’s 90th birthday. And that she didn’t join him for his cousin’s wedding the week before. He was disappointed, but it was okay because they were independent people and he liked that about their relationship. I wondered perhaps if they were too independent. And if he had told her any of this before he left. When we landed I said it was nice meeting him. What I meant was I hope I learn from you.
D and I sat together on the next leg. The man to D’s right engaged him in conversation and learned that we were newlyweds. Instead of a congratulatory handshake or smack on the back he told us he was married for 16 years and had been divorced for one. Then said nothing. At this point I was annoyed and decided that all these folks were divorced or on the way to it for the same reason: they haven’t yet learned when to just shut their mouths and say something polite. As I debated whether to share this with our seatmate, D asked him for advice.
What will you do differently next time around? The man said the same thing my parents have been saying for 35 years: communicate with each other. He added a few other tips which I will paraphrase. Essentially, don’t be a douchebag. Noted.
When you consider modern marriage statistics, you might say we are gamblers. The odds tip slightly in our favor, but only by a coin toss or two. With rates like that, why bother to take an expensive trip down the aisle? Why didn’t we just invest in a decent set of knives and a new cheese plate ourselves? Well. Partly because I am 31 and I already own a nice cheese plate.
And because I like to think we are brave. Because loving someone is not easy. And promising to love someone when you aren’t your best and he isn’t either is even harder. But I guess that’s why I signed on to the whole marriage thing. Because I like to think that it is possible, and I understand that it involves work. Plus I like to think that swearing certain things aloud and in front of your parents holds you to them. Or makes you try when you finally mention the grease stains on the back door and he’s tired of picking your jeans off the floor.