Dear Married People,
Often I am confused about your existence. Not that you exist, which I am grateful for, but your existence as a functioning, happy couple. How do you do it? How did you go from being a single, alone individual to sharing a car and a TV and a bed?
Being someone who is not married but would like to be married someday, I need all the instructions I can get my hands on. Therefore, please respond accordingly to the following questions I have about you and your life:
- How do you share decorating preferences? What if my decorating preferences are different from my spouse’s and this eventually drives us to resenting each other?
- Do you miss sleeping in your own bed? My favorite thing possibly ever is getting into my own bed at the end of the day where I can stretch everywhere I please and there are no expectations on me except to enjoy my own pajama’d company and sleep.
- Also, do you have to chat every time before bed? That sounds kind of nice, but also mostly when I go to bed I just want to go to sleep.
- Do you really kiss in the morning before either party as had a chance to brush their teeth? Isn’t that slightly awful for both of you?
- What do you do when you just want to sit by yourself and binge on your favorite TV show? Do you include the other person? What if your spouse doesn’t like the show you like? What if you already started that show a long time ago and they’re coming in in the middle and you want to be nice and start over but at the same time you really know you will never do that?
- How do you possibly ever be okay with not spending Christmas with your family?
- How do you include your spouse in your family traditions and not just take over your spouse’s Christmas with everything you want to do, like mimosas and stockings and then presents? What if your spouse isn’t okay with being told what to do on Christmas and how to celebrate?
- How did you not feel weird about leaving your life and moving in with someone and now sharing everything and not having your own space? As an only child, anything sharing-related is deeply troubling to me.
- What’s it like to never be alone again? Is this a good feeling or a bad and scary feeling?
- How are you personally avoiding being a “boring married person”?
- Did you give anything up when you got married? I’m not talking about that porcelain poodle clock, but deeply meaningful things like moving to New Zealand for two years to live on a sheep farm and find yourself?
- Are you still in love like, years into this? How do you keep that alive, if so?
- Does marriage just get better with time or more difficult?
I used to think that married people had figured something out that I had not. I used to think people who chose to get married knew something about each other, themselves, and marriage that I didn’t. They knew some magic formula, some great mystical promise, that freed them to know their marriage would work out and they were undoubtedly picking the person meant just for them.
I’m really glad to say I now know this isn’t true.
People who get married are still people, and at the end of the day they do not have some deep knowledge about marriage and an ability to be in a marriage the rest of us do not possess.
People who are married were still individual, broken, quirky, self-focused before they got married. In many ways they might still be that person, except now they’re married. And that’s okay, because marriage is surely a process of refinement, of slowing getting your sh*t together alongside another person, to the best of your ability, every day.
What questions do you have about marriage? Whether you’re married or not married, what’s something important you have learned about marriage?