Helloooo everyone! I’m popping my head back in here for a moment to talk about newlywed bliss (or lack thereof) after some encouragement from the bees of the board.
Mr. Dragon and I have been married for just over four months, and I’m still getting congratulations from people around town. We didn’t put out any kind of formal marriage announcement, but pretty much everyone in our little town reads the newspaper and noticed that, as a reporter, my last name changed on my byline back in September. Every time I run into someone who hasn’t seen me since then I get another, “Hey, you got married! Congrats!”
The question that follows is usually along the lines of, “So, newlywed life is awesome, huh?” or, “Is the honeymoon over?”
The last time someone asked me how married life was, I answered honestly. The person posing the question is a really forthright dude and in the relatively early stages of married life himself (though not as much of a newbie as me) so I figured he’d get it when I said, “Kind of aggravating…but, kind of awesome, too.”
I got this in a fortune cookie, posted it to Facebook with, “I’m already married!” and lots of people laughed at me.
He chuckled and said, “I was gonna tell you that, but I thought I’d wait.”
Mr. Dragon and I had our first big fight about three days into our honeymoon. I found myself sitting on the deck of our hotel room, facing the water, taking in the beautiful scenery…and fuming, while Mr. Dragon sat inside on the bed, upset because we were fighting on our honeymoon. I vaguely remember the whys—I think I was being hungry and impatient and he felt like I was being a bully (and I probably was) and I felt like he was being whiny (and he probably was). Anyway, that was the end of our ability to say “We haven’t fought as a married couple!”
Thing is, we’re pretty volatile. We always have been, even though Mr. Dragon hates to fight and I am allegedly non-confrontational. Our good days obviously outnumber the bad and we always kiss and make up…but seriously, seriously, the last few months have felt HARD.
While I hear all about couples who never fight and see the happily-ever-after romantic candlelit dinners and rainbows and puppies on TV, it doesn’t match up with my personal experience of newlywed life thus far. I didn’t think being married would change anything—we lived together for a long time before marriage, we have already seen the worst of one another—but it did.
Being husband and wife doesn’t make those, “Will you put your damn socks in the laundry basket already,” “Why are you spending so much money on groceries,” and “Can’t you just give me some private time?!” fights go away, in my experience. In fact, it makes them all the more important, in my view, because instead of just hearing, “I forgot to put my socks away when I got home,” I hear, “I forgot to put my socks away when I got home and you married me so now you will be surrounded by filthy unwashed socks FOREVER TILL DEATH DO US PART.”
Truth: In a moment of desperation after another argument, I started reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Truth: I felt really awful when I realized that a lot of the “this is a really bad thing to do” behaviors apply to me, or Mr. Dragon, or both of us.
Truth: I think we have always kind of behaved like this…so it’s not that scary, because I know we have toughed it out this long, and with the right attitude adjustments we can keep on truckin’ (and we are doing better already).
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed with marriage and conflict I look around online for a bit of help. One piece of advice I read said, basically, marriage is hard and if you expect it to be easy you are in for a big ol’ nasty surprise. Having a ring on my finger doesn’t make me impervious to all of the frustrations and annoyances and breakdowns we experienced as boyfriend and girlfriend, or as engaged people.
However, said ring on my finger is a good reminder that we have made a loving commitment to work through all of our rough stuff, together, always, till death do us part (and I actually rallied against having the whole death do us part thing included in our ceremony because I intend to harass Mr. D in the afterlife, too).
Because amidst those gloomy, difficult days, we have a lot of light in our lives now that we’re married. We tackle challenges head-on as a team (we’re just working harder on that “love is a battlefield” issue).
Mr. Dragon always tells me, “One day we won’t even need to speak these words anymore, because we will have been together for so long that we’ll just understand.” It makes me wonder how many of those lovely gray-haired couples I see walking hand-in-hand had a rough start, that they can look back on now and chalk up to being a feisty newlywed.
This is, of course, not intended to scare people who are soon to be married and expecting a 100% awesome time as a newlywed, or to cast any kind of shadow on people who are blissful all the time.
But much like Mrs. Wizard noted, people don’t often share the more challenging parts of a wedding day. I don’t think a lot of people share the darker sides of newlywed life. I think there are those out there who still have their bad days among the adventures and shared breakfasts and car rides and dreams. I am definitely not afraid to admit that I am one of those people.
So, newlyweds—how is it going? Is it what you expected? And those who are still planning, I want to know—do you think your relationship will change post-wedding, and if so, how?