When in the past I’ve asked newly-wed friends if marriage changes things, most of them have said ‘sort of but not really’ or ‘no’, having been living together before the marriage for an extended period of time.
It’s my experience that it changes everything. But then, our marriage occurred in rather unusual circumstances, and so the changes I feel can not necessarily be attributed to the act of marriage itself.
Unlike most couples I know, we married after not seeing one another for 11 months. After we married, one of us moved half way around the world to join the other. We then moved into a new apartment together – not the first time we’d lived together, but the first time we lived in a place that had more than one room (it has two), allowing for us to be a little more expressive without fear of being squashed between walls (i.e. we can hide from one another if need be in the other room, separated by a frosted glass sliding door).
It’s been exciting. Fascinating. A bit scary at times. Everything has been up for discussion.
I found myself feeling moved by *Twinkle*s concern for me, her wanting to hear my take on things, her concern for my feelings, and her willingness to compromise. It’s not that she was never willing to listen or compromise before, but I felt that now she was taking it to a whole new level.
I wondered, was this the result of conscious effort on her part, because we were now married?
When I asked her, she said no, she was just being the same old *Twinkle*, but then she said to me, but you’re making a special effort, aren’t you?
I laughed at that – I was just being me! Then we both laughed. It would seem that if indeed neither of us have changed the way we act towards one another, what’s happened is that marriage has either changed the level of appreciation of the other, or it has changed our perception of what is a ‘normal’ level of care to show towards the other.
There’s a strong sense of responsibility that we both have, responsibility to make it work. The wedding left us feeling that a lot of people were investing in us, believing in us, were with us, giving us strength but also helping us appreciate what a big commitment it was that we were making. Now it’s time for us to act on that.
I think one of our most important roles is to help the other get through the difficult times. I’ve been struggling with self-doubt and a sense of insecurity re. my potential work. *Twinkle* has been doing a wonderful job of helping me see the ‘reality’ of the situation, that is, reinforcing what I know is the case anyway (that I will do very well in my work), and helping me take action to make abstract job prospects into concrete appointments with students.
Likewise, *Twinkle* sometimes gets discouraged in her work, and then it’s my turn to bring her back to a bright reality, where she is capable and doing the right thing. (It’s also my job to make sure she gets out of the house on time in the morning).
The fact that we are now married means that long term plans have become a lot more meaningful. In fact, planning in general. We’ve spent several hours this week sitting at the kitchen table making our short, medium and long-term plans. It’s a fairly long process, and is often hijacked by actions that need to take place now before the planning can proceed further (e.g. contacting the phone company to find out what my new phone contract will really cost on a monthly basis).
There’s also a lot of secretary-type stuff to do (I’m definitely the secretary around here). Things like setting up savings plans, sorting out various insurance policies, creating budgets. I had thought that all of this could be done in a single day, but with documents missing and uncertainty as to what current arrangements are it’s taking a lot longer. For me, this is all a part of the marriage package.
So to sum up, it’s all good. An exciting adventure – can’t wait to see where it leads us next!
Anyway, I am now going to attempt to make a loaf of bread in the manner demonstrated by my daringu wifey last night.
I’m certain that both of you changed during the 11 months you were apart. I know for a fact that being apart makes you appreciate and value each other more. That doesn’t mean you didn’t appreciate or value each other before, but rather that you have a solid sense of the suffering you feel when you’re apart. The longer you’re apart, the more profound that feeling is and the longer it stays with you. I know because it is still with me nearly years on.
Being married didn’t change my relationship with T., but being together after a long separation certainly did. I think most married people can’t relate to your circumstances since few endure such separation, and all relationships are different.
“I wondered, was this the result of conscious effort on her part, because we were now married?”
Maybe, it was an unconscious effort on her part?
I think when we are wearing different uniforms/roles we unconsciously change to fit the social role/uniform. This is true in every culture, but even more so in Japan I believe.
But, whatever the reasons are for the pleasent changes that have trasnpired in your marriage I am happy for you two.
“*Twinkle* has been doing a wonderful job of helping me see the ‘reality’ of the situation”
I don’t think any one can encourage someone like their spouse can. So, I am happy she can and is encouraging you.
Few people can be objective enough to distance themselvfs emotionally from the situation they are going
through enough not to worry. So, I think there is nothing wrong to struggle
“with self-doubt and a sense of insecurity”
I do think it is a good thing to take one’s time when looking for a job. Much of life is spent(or will be) on the job so it should at least be something we enjoy.
My experiance is somewhat like yours:
I met my wife(to be) in university and then after graduation, when she returned to Japan, I was separated from her for a little over a year. When we were re-united I felt the dynamic of our relationship had changed in a major way. Also, birth of my daughter and son changed our marriage. I have no idea if this is the same or not in other marriages, but seeing my wife give birth to our children has really had an effect on me. And, I think we are even closer after children.
Thank you both for your comments. I’m thinking that yes, it’s the separation more than anything else which has changed things.
Interesting to hear both of your experiences, interesting parallel with yours Brian.
I think we’ll wait a bit for the baby thing, but really looking forward to it!
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