Matt and I were the first of our friends to get married.
Prior to our wedding in June of 2016, we’d celebrated one or two other marriages, but for most of our friends — and definitely for our friend groups as a whole — we were entering unchartered territory. I was 25 and Matt was 26, and while that’s definitely on the younger side, we had already been together for seven years by the time we said “I do.” It felt like it had been a long time coming! We threw a great party and felt so much love, and because I didn’t have other weddings to compare ours to throughout the planning process, I basically just did exactly what I wanted to do. This freedom to plan the wedding that Matt and I wanted (because I generally had no idea what I was doing) was the cherry on top of an already special time for us.
Two years later, it feels like we are finally smack in the middle of the ongoing wedding season that I’ve heard so much about from others. So many of our closest friends have celebrated engagements over the last year or two, and now we get to dance at their weddings! It’s a crazy time, but a fun and emotional one, too. This past weekend, we traveled to Chicago to kick-off the festivities! Both the bride and groom went to college with Matt, and since Matt and I were together throughout that time, these two are very close to my heart. We’ve already made so many memories with them, and I know there are so many more to come. After a few years of being the only married people in any friend group, Matt and I love welcoming other pals into the club!
With all of these weddings coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about marriage so far. We celebrated our second wedding anniversary in June, and I know I still have so. much. to figure out. Still, I like to think there’s value in every small step. I’ll probably have wildly different wisdom to share about marriage five years, ten years, twenty years — even just one year! — from now, but in the meantime, it’s fun to capture what I’m realizing along the way.
Don’t try to have big conversations (AKA attempt to resolve an argument) in bed. I am entirely guilty of this. Matt’s much more likely to agree to set a problem aside even if we haven’t discussed it from every possible angle. Me? Not so much. I like to squeeze all of my apologies in and attempt every potential analysis of the issue, even if we’ve technically called a truce… and sometimes that lasts until the final minutes before bedtime. A few months ago, Matt and I agreed to stop having these kinds of conversations in bed. If either of us feels unsatisfied with a discussion after we’re under the covers, we ask the other to get up and get back into it somewhere else in the apartment. Especially given my sleep issues, we need to keep our bedroom as calm and relaxed as possible — and we don’t need to create space for conflict late at night.
The way you communicate with your partner changes over time. Just when Matt and I think that we have each other totally figured out, one or both of us realizes that we can do even better in the way we interact with each other. We’ve learned to be really open with each other about our relationship, and we work together to strategize our marriage the way either one of us would strategize individually about our work. If it feels like one or both of us needs to adjust our approach to each other or to the relationship, we talk it out!
Collective goals can be a moving target. Six months ago, if you’d asked me where I thought I would be at the end of August, I would tell you that Matt and I may have made a bigger move to a different city by now. I would tell you that a move like this would have taken some pressure off of both of us with our work, totally changing up that oh-so-hard-to-perfect balance between career and life. Earlier this year, that was our plan, and Matt and I are both so stubborn that we each mentally dug into it. Instead of having really honest conversations about what actually made the most sense for us, we each gritted our teeth and powered forward. Today, we couldn’t be happier about our collective decision to stay in New York and start kind of fresh with a new apartment. In order to get there, we both had to let go of the expectation that we see a somewhat arbitrary plan through to the end and to stop worrying about what other people might think about that decision.
Laughter can get you through almost anything. Cracking each other up has always been a major piece of Matt and my relationship, but I’ve learned recently just how important that humor is. We had a lot to figure out this year — see my last point! — and if I’m being totally honest, there were moments when things weren’t totally comfortable between us. No matter what, though, we found ways to make each other laugh, which helped us move forward on the days when we both felt frustrated.
Marriage makes everything feel more intense. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and everything in between is a lot more fun than it was before.
What relationship advice do you have to share?