Alternative Title: Getting Nostalgic on Wedding Cake.
Today my husband and I celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary.
Our wedding was a glorious day filled with declarations of love and commitment in front of our family and friends. It was also a drunken mess that ended with me throwing up in the bathroom of a bar during our post reception party (still wearing my wedding dress, I should add). It was only the second time in my life that I do not have a reliable recall of events for a significant part of the day.
Oh, the memories!
I’m in one of those nostalgic moods where I like to look back over the past and reflect over it. I blame the wedding cake.
Josh and I are still early in our marriage and neither of us profess to be any sort of expert. There were things that I expected from marriage that came true. But there were other things that I did not expect would happen that did. Such as:
I adjusted to my new married name more quickly than I thought I would
I was never 100% sold on changing my maiden name upon marriage. My last name and I have been hanging together all my life. It’s a reflection of my Nigerian heritage. All of my coolest nicknames came from it. It’s how people immediately recognized or remembered me. How could I just start going by something different?
Well, for starters, our son had my husband’s last name because the idea of trying to hyphenate a last name with a combined total of 20 letters would have caused a lot of anger towards us by the social security department. It became tiresome having to correct people who assumed that we had the same last name. Besides, I liked the idea of us having one family name.
And, surprisingly, it was a really easy change. Like, really easy. For all the horror stories one hears of the social security office and DPS, it took less than an hour at both places (combined) to update my social security card and driver’s license.
And, once I opened up to the idea that I was gaining something rather than losing something, it wasn’t even emotionally that difficult to make the change. I realized I wasn’t giving up my heritage or my identity by taking my husband’s name.
Moving from a mine to an ours
I’ve always been an extraordinarily independent person, especially when it comes to finances. I’m lucky to have a job that’s stable, secure and pays well and, because of that, I always assumed that even if I found someone I wanted to marry, I’d want to keep everything separate, such as our bank accounts and our possessions. I never thought I’d be with someone I trusted enough to share bank statements or passwords.
That’s not the case with Josh. Partly due to the necessity of constant joint expenses with a baby and a wedding to pay for, we moved to a joint bank account even before we were married. And being married just cemented the fact that I felt so comfortable sharing everything with him.
This is no judgment on the couples who choose to keep things like bank accounts separate. I’m a firm believer in doing what works best for your long term relationship. The point is that, for me, my concerns about sharing that information came from a belief that I would never find anyone with whom I had that level of comfort. It’s reassuring to know that I was wrong.
Some of the stereotypes are true… and that’s not always a bad thing
We tend to exhibit characteristics of the quintessential old, married couple. Josh and I are that couple that tries every night to stay awake after we put the kid to sleep but then end up passing out to Netflix at 9PM. We talk about our son constantly (Josh may be even worse about that than I am). We plan trips to decor stores on the weekend and wake up early on the planned date because we are just so fucking excited. We have arguments about the dumbest shit sometimes. I’m still working on my research paper complete with verifiable sources as to why our son WILL DIE if Josh continues to leave forks and knives with the sharp edges up in the dishwasher.
We may not always be the most exciting couple. But when you get to our point in the relationship, sometimes sleep is just way better than sex and no one can convince me otherwise.
We gladly got rid of the stereotypes that didn’t work for us
Both of our sets of parents had traditional marriages. While there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it’s something we knew we wanted to stay away from. We both cook, we both clean, we both bathe our kid and get him ready for bed. Now I will say that we are still working on the subject of equal division of the mental and emotional labor of running a household (blog post about this subject coming soon). But, for the most part, I feel like our relationship is pretty egalitarian.
On top of that, we both maintained our friendships that we had before the relationship, including our individual friendships with members of the opposite sex. Josh has a couple of female friends that he regularly has lunch with on his own. I have a few male friends who I’ll meet up with for lunch or grab a beer without Josh. It’s a stereotype for a heterosexual couple to be expected to lose all friends of the opposite sex upon marriage. That’s not our thing to get controlling or jealous about things like that and I still find it amusing when people are shocked about us us having close friends of the opposite sex outside of the relationship.
What are some other things that you’ve learned from your marriage or long term relationship?