Day 1 of Marriage
Note: This is absolutely not addressed to or inspired by any specific person, nor am I thinking about marriage or looking to get married any time soon. I’ve never been married before so this isn’t marriage advice either. I am just answering an interesting writing prompt using a particular tone of voice. Enjoy.
ps. Thanks to the folks who gave feedback. You know who you are.
Holy shit, you’re now my wife.
What have I done?!?! Jokes, I love you.
Wow, we’re really married. Not just symbolically but legally. The “till death do us part” kind.
From here on, it’s about growth at the maximum capacity. A kind of growth that cannot be done alone because marriage forces you to be completely naked in every literal and metaphorical way. It’s about creating as many peaks as possible in a lifetime guaranteed to have valleys. A promise to be emotionally present at a level no other person in the world can provide. A journey to endure a life together until one of us passes in the dust hopefully with the same longing affection as the very first day we fell in love but has crystallized into a quiet glowing intensity from a lifetime of partnership and visceral understanding forever etched in time.
The thing most people say is “I’m the luckiest man/woman on earth.” I will temper that high by saying: Honestly, I don’t know yet. Yes, I feel incredibly fortunate the stars aligned the way they did, but we both worked our asses off to be attractive enough to land a desirable partner, pursue a relationship together, and be able to take a bet on each other—the most important bet of our lives—together. Only time will tell and we are only at the beginning.
Marriage is basically saying: “In an infinite sea of possible futures, the one with you is the only one I want, because I see the best possible version of myself with you, and I don’t even want to imagine the alternative.” My jokes are funny but it’s your laughter I yearn for most. I’m extremely passionate in bed, but it’s only your body I crave. Hugs connect humans ever so briefly, but none would ever have the same warmth as yours. And take away all the extraordinary moments, sitting next to you doing absolutely nothing is the most exciting version of mundane I can think of.
In that sense, maybe I am lucky. But so are you with me. We’re in day one and marriage is more akin to tending to a garden constantly exposed to the harsh elements of life than a dish once prepared then consumed with delicious satisfaction. A dish has defined ingredients with the final form crafted with precision both in flavor and appearance. A garden has none of those things. There will be sunny days, there will be stormy ones. The soil won’t always be fertile, the flowers won’t always bloom. But as long as we plant seeds to cultivate it, get rid of the weeds and snakes that threaten the beauty of our oasis, and prune out old leaves that no longer serve the greenery, then we’ll bear plentiful fruit and wonderful shrubbery enough to give us joy for the rest of our days. But I can’t nor will I do it alone. And neither can you. The day that one of us quits on caring for this joint garden, we risk it wilting into a sad slow death. I am not, was never, and will never be a quitter. I married you because I assume that neither are you. I married you because I thought you’d be a great gardener yourself, that we’d make a damn good garden together, and we’d make little versions of us who will eventually grow to become great gardeners of their own, hopefully even better than we were. And of course, because of your fine ass that I just can’t keep my hands off, you sexy thing you. Get over here so daddy can have a bite.
Wait, I was writing a letter. Sorry I got sidetracked.
Anyway the point of this is to list out expectations of our life together as a married couple. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I have none. I only have expectations of myself: I will do my best to be there for you emotionally, to listen to you compassionately, to communicate with you honestly, to love you fiercely, and to continue to find ways to want you and for you to want me. I can also expect these things from you, but expectations kill relationships. I’d rather us always talk about what we want and how we can do better, than sulk in silence and develop silent resentment overtime. Communication with the intent of understanding is the lifeblood of relationships and exponentially more so in a marriage. There’s no games anymore like when we were younger because we will both suffer. I’d rather both of us win.
There will obviously be concessions from both sides, and the people we are today will not be who we are in a year’s time, in five years’ time, or a whole decade’s time. This comes with the territory of marriage: two ever-changing individuals entering matrimony to infinitely learn from each other and contribute to their personhood. They must develop an endless curiosity for each other, be intimate with their quirks, accept them for their flaws, and help each other get better as people, as spouses, as parents—if applicable.
The whole concept of “But he/she is my husband/wife, he/she is supposed to just get me!” is stupid, outrageous, and nonsensical. Neither of us have telepathic powers (it would be terrible if either of us had it actually; part of what makes it fun is there’s so much we still have to figure out about ourselves and each other). If I did something stupid, tell me so I know it bothers you. If I did something good, also tell me so I can do more of that for you. Expressing gratitude says, “I see the little things that you do and I appreciate you for them.” It’s crazy how simple things like “thank you,” “sorry,” and “please” do wonders for any relationship. Know that I will do the same for you: I will never hesitate to call you out on your bullshit, but I will always do it politely and with love. If I didn’t like something you did, I will look at and criticize the action performed and not immediately judge your character. If there is something you did that I liked, I will thank you, praise you, kiss you in return, and I will do this abundantly, generously, and exuberantly.
At the end of the day, all anyone ever wants is to be seen, to be heard, to be felt, to be held. I will do all of those things for you, even on your worst days. I trust you will do the same for me on mine. I will do everything in my power and God-given abilities to hold us down. You are my wife because I know you will hold me down.
Honestly, I don’t want to glamorize marriage too much. We are now in the greatest challenge of our lives and there will be a million trying times (on top of the thousands of trying times we had while we were dating) and we will endlessly annoy, frustrate, and anger the living shit out of each other. But so long as we choose to keep coming back to each other, we’ll be fine. I don’t believe in “Don’t sleep mad.” Whoever said that has never been in an argument where both sides were seething and want to choke each other out. I’d rather we sleep it off if we can’t stand each other’s guts, but wake up next to each other thinking how blessed we both are because it means we must care that much for each other to have been that mad. And then we can figure it out rationally without the burden of heightened emotion, without the risk of blurting out words we wish we could take back, and instead find a way to truly listen to each other’s grievances and fix it together. Of course, this is all easier said than done. Like everything else in a marriage.
As far as plans, those too are premature. Marriage is a day-to-day thing, heck, even an hour-to-hour thing. There may be things we want to do right now, but life is a moving target with absolutely no certainties. Goals may be renewed, careers can change, children may come, struggle can arise. All I can promise you is this: You will never be bored, because I would rather die than be boring. I’m not saying every moment of our lives will be this exhilarating ride because it won’t. What I’m saying is, as we build a life together, I will never stop playing with you as if we’re the little boy and the little girl on the sandbox building a castle together, or like two teens chasing each other on the grass laughing our butts off rolling in each other’s sweat, or two elderly people slow dancing at a wedding as if it was our first dance as a married couple. You see, people grow old and lose their youth. I’m telling you that we don’t have to. I’m telling you that I won’t allow it so long as I’m on your side. I’m telling you that I am in this to grow old with you, but more importantly, to grow young with you.
All this said, I do hope you feel that you’re the luckiest woman in the world today on the first day of our marriage. But it would mean a whole lot more to me if you feel that on our very last day together, when death eventually does us part.
August 1, 2019