Next week will be my one year anniversary with John. Next week we will also be heading out on our belated honeymoon. Since I’ve made a bit of a habit of updating you on these personal aspects of my life, I thought I’d also go ahead talk about a few things I’ve learned in my new phase of life.
1) Guys Actually Care about Stuff Other than Sex
I’ve mentioned in the past that I grew up in the purity movement. I realize you may have read some horror stories about how the purity mentality makes women afraid of sex. I can certainly see how this can and has sometimes been the case, but let me assure you, for me, it was the polar opposite.
I built up sex in my head, a lot. I had all these plans and ideas for when I was FINALLY having sex, and some of them were… a little off base.
First of all I thought that all guys ever wanted, ever, was sex. You can blame it on the purity movement, or you can blame it on media, or you can blame it on my overactive imagination, but somewhere alone the line I decided that guys just wanted sex ALL THE TIME.
So imagine my shock when John and I got to the point in our relationship where he could say things like “well, I’m actually in the middle of writing a paper right now” or “just let me finish this chapter”. Sometimes he even wanted to just cuddle (gasp)!
What was this?? This was not what happened in the movies! What was he doing? Being a person? With interests besides sex? What was the world coming to??
Don’t get me wrong, sex is still the awesomeness I always imagined it would be, but it was eye opening for me to realize how I had internalized such a common gender stereotype without even realizing it.
2) Sometimes, Disagreement is Okay
I remember having this checklist of things a guy had to believe and want in life before I would seriously consider marrying him. That’s really not a bad thing in a lot of ways. At the end of the day, marrying someone means doing life together, so it’s a good idea to have at least a general agreement on those subjects. But I’ve realized that some of the things I thought were make it or break it weren’t actually things I could control in the long term anyways.
Individuals are always in a state of change and growth. Doing life with someone means being willing to grow together. To be okay with not always agreeing on dogma, or ideas, and being respectful of the other person as they seek truth in their individual journey as well as their journey with you.
When John and I were first together I would get worried anytime he changed his mind on anything, or questioned a previous opinion he once held. Now, I’m learning to trust him enough to want to learn from his thoughts, even when I might disagree.
3) Fun Matters
Well obviously fun matters, but seriously, fun matters a lot. I remember when I was still dating people (or rather “getting to know people” because I didn’t actually do a lot of traditional dating) I would get all worried about the “big” things. I wanted to discuss our beliefs, the way we wanted to raise our kids, what we wanted to do for work, etc, but I somehow forgot to put “fun” on my checklist.
Good thing I got lucky.
The best part of being married is, hands down, getting to have fun with my best friend. Yes, I love sex. Yes, it’s great that we challenge each other to be better people (iron sharpening iron and all that jazz), but my favorite thing is that he makes me laugh everyday. He even makes me laugh when I am furiously angry with him! It is both the most frustrating, and most wonderful thing to not be able to continue scowling at someone because they are making you laugh too hard.
4) Marriage is kinda like Having a Roommate
We had quite a few people warn us that “the first year can be really hard”. I realize now that a lot of what they were talking about was the actual living together part. It can be really hard to learn to live with someone when you have very different ideas about how your weekly schedule should look, or how your home should function.
This is where I would tell anyone out there who wants to get married someday to live with a roommate while still single. Seriously, roommates are fantastic practice for marriage because at the end of the day marriage is just living with your best friend… that you also have sex with. You need to learn compromise, problem solving skills, selflessness and a bazillion other things that you can start learning any time you truly invest in making a friendship (or any kind of relationship) better.
I’ve only been married one year, but so far it’s been the best year of my life. I get to wake up next to my best friend every day. What could be better?
I realize in a few years I might look back on this post and laugh at how easy I thought once this marriage gig would be, but for now, I just want to be thankful for the things it’s already taught me.