It’s funny how people will tell you that when you get married, you should be prepared for some big changes. For some that’s probably true, especially those who have been living separately prior to being married. For couples like Matt and me, I kind of gave a “Psh, yeah, as IF!” to that thought. We’ve been together for nearly 8 years now and have spent 5 of those years living together (and last June, bought our house together), so we were pretty much already living the “married life”.
In the days and weeks after we got married, I didn’t feel any different. It was exciting to be able to finally call Matt my husband, and to be his wife, but it wasn’t like it changed our lives in this insane or epic way. What’s weird is how the whole “being married changes things” actually came to be somewhat true, but in a really positive way.
Matt’s been having a hard time at work lately, mainly because his best friend who he works with is leaving his company. He also lost his godmother and aunt and is still trying to figure out how to deal with it. Throw in him having to get some dental work done, dreading an upcoming business trip to NYC, along with our newer healthier lifestyle and well.. he’s really overwhelmed. I can’t say I blame him, either.
The other night we were talking about things and Matt mentioned in passing that he had to leave his desk to take walk while at work because he was close to having a full-blown panic attack.
Uhhh, bwah, what? Why didn’t he tell me (especially when we were talking on gchat as this happened and all he mentioned was a “brb”)? I was slightly hurt to think he didn’t turn to me when he was close to a panic attack, so I asked him why he didn’t tell me, and told him I could have at least run downstairs from my office and given him a hug or talked or whatever he needed (oh yeah, we work around 2 blocks away from one another).
Matt responded with, “Well, you have a lot on your plate right now and I didn’t want to overwhelm you with my problems.” I stopped him right after that and told him, “No, that’s not a reason to not tell me you’re so overwhelmed you’re near panic attack level, we’re married and you.. you can’t do that when we’re married!”
Like, that’s when it came out and hit me: we are married, we are a team, we have to support each other. Of course we’ve been there for each other prior to being married, but for some reason him not coming to me right then and there, as his wife and other half, that really bothered me. We had a long discussion about it, about how we need to be there for each other, even if we’re both having a hard day/week/month. That’s when it’s hardest; when you’re both looking for the support but the other person is so overwhelmed that they can’t give you what you’re looking for.
We talked about what we each needed from the other person, what kind of support was necessary, and how no matter what kind of day each of us is having, if you need support, ask for it. I made Matt promise that if he gets to that point again, to please tell me. I also promised him that if something is bothering me, I won’t hold it back either.
This is what being married is about. It’s about loving someone so much that you will tell them what’s bothering you, even when you think it might be a little overwhelming. It’s sometimes just listening, not giving advice, but just flat out listening to the other person talk their thoughts out. It’s supporting them even when you’re having a shitty day yourself. It’s giving them the hug they need at the end of a long day.
Marriage is also a lot of other things, and I’m sure I’ll touch upon them in the future. I’ve learned, even just in the 8 months that we’ve been married, that making it “official” really does change certain things. I don’t know what it is that made some sort of little light bulb go off inside of my head, but it was probably one of the first moments I’ve had in my new marriage where I’ve thought, “Waaaait a second, now that we’re married, this is how things should be!”
Really, I’m glad being married changes things, but in a good way. It’s strengthening our relationship and I’m still learning something new about Matt every day. Sure, we’re new to this whole being married thing, but I think we’ve gotten off to a really awesome start.