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The First 100 Days June 22, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings.
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So what’s it like to be married?

That question’s been flavor of the month lately, and I don’t know if there’s a satisfactory answer, though my repartee that “I’ve been domesticated!” does seem to appease most comers. The question’s up there with “How do you feel to be a graduate?” or “How does it feel to be [insert age here]?” Impossible questions with equally impossible answers, because one just is.

Perhaps I can answer with a story: sometime back I was with a friend who was also about to tie the knot when he was asked how he thought his life would change after the big day. His reply: it wouldn’t. Since he and his fiancee had known each other for a while, he reasoned, and had been making all important personal decisions together for the past year, marriage would be no different. I was skeptical. Logic dictates that it can’t be that easy. You get married, you know your life will change, plain and simple.

Turns out that I was right. A hundred days in, and it’s a lifetime apart. The more obvious adjustments are minor, of course: the reality of waking up together every morning, the fact that there are chores that have to be done now that either of us didn’t have to do before, the nuances behind dealing with our parents and in-laws (on second thought, this is anything but minor), and so on. In more practical terms, the biggest adjustment is in our personal finances, now that every decision has to be made with utmost care and weighed against the uncertainty of tomorrow.

But the real changes lie with the imponderables that come in lockstep with marriage. Do I live up to my vows? Am I doing what I can to meet my obligations as a married person? What else can be done to make this union a thing of beauty? Heavy stuff, to be sure, but that right there is the challenge that is marriage.

At the same time, it so happens that my friend was right, too. The wife and I have gotten to know each other so well throughout our courtship and engagement that the transition from “it’s complicated” (kidding) to “married filing jointly” (if you know what I mean) couldn’t have been smoother. Thus confronting all that marriage entails — together — has been a joy. Spend a decade to get to know the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with? Still sounds like a good bet to me.

So what’s it like to be married?

It’s been great. Challenging. Hard. Exciting. Nothing’s changed. Everything’s changed. The honeymoon won’t last forever, but everyday can still be its own little episode of human bliss.

And did I mention I’ve been domesticated?

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