People and the internet at large have strong feelings about men and women who choose not to wear rings despite taking the proverbial plunge. The most common opinion is that married individuals who eschew the band are looking to cheat.
As I pen what is sure to be my greatest work yet I sit in a coffee shop awaiting the arrival of a long-time acquaintance. This individual is someone I knew briefly in a past life at my first agency just after college. We’d lost touch some time after he moved on from his internship to get swallowed up in the world of limited graphic design careers in southern Minnesota. He has since moved on to a fairly successful UX path that led him to the Minneapolis pool I drown in.
I did it! I’ve been married for a whole year. Go meeeee! Or us I suppose. I guess The One™ has contributed a little bit. And now that I’ve been married for a full 365 days, I’m full of wisdom and advice and bullshit. And today, dear reader, I share those bullshit lessons with you. They may just put you on the path to a happier marriage. Because obviously I know everything there is to know at this point. You’re welcome.
Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time assessing the importance of Valentine’s day and what it means for the single among us. My opinion, more often than not, rested somewhere between Valentine’s sucks hard! and I love Valentine’s day; it gives me an excuse to wear pink and have a fancy “we hate men” dinner with my friends. And now, I’ve found The One™, so it’s totally different. There are bluebirds that swirl around me every February 14th. I receive entire menageries of stuffed animals and gardens of roses. Everyone in the world knows how in love I am.
This is the first Christmas Eve spent with just me and my dude. It’s stirring lots of thoughts and feelings, because everything stirs lots of thoughts and feelings in me. Yes, it’s the first year we’ll spend as a couple entwined by the bonds of paperwork, but honestly the Mrs. label doesn’t feel that different. It’s that we’re celebrating an evening traditionally reserved for family as just us two.
For years I spent Internet space lamenting the onset of the holiday season. Despite my unnatural love of cinnamon-infused aromas, hot chocolate, garish combinations of green and red, and sticking dead trees in the middle of my living room, being single during Advent meant I would come out on the other side of New Year’s feeling just a bit morose.
When I got married all of 9 Months ago, people were full of one question. Surprisingly and thankfully it was not “When are the babies coming.” Because that’s annoying, invasive and very well established as not okay. So stop it, mom. The real question everyone kept asking was “is it different?” The short answer: nope not really, but there are a few things that have changed. For me specifically. They may not change for you.
When I finally got mawiaeeed, there were a hundred reasons to keep my last name. Despite fueling immeasurable torment from immature boys, it had been oh so very mine for 30 years. It tied me to a family who had been by my side, dusting me off after boy after boy after boy after boy after boy after boy after boy after boy was gone. (I think I got ‘em all.)
I thought for sure after I had gotten married I would be rescued from the judgment of smug married people (SMPs) after all I’m in the club now. I’m an SMP! Huzzah! I can’t wait to be insufferable and offer wisdom-filled gems to the poor singles of the world, like “when you stop looking, you’ll find love” and “you really have to love yourself first,” and “you just have to open yourself up to love,” and “he didn’t deserve you.” Okay that last one is always dripping with truth, so I get a pass when I say that.
A few weeks after I got engaged I was at the salon getting my hair did and swapping anecdotes about planning for the fabled “Big Day.” My stylist almost immediately warned me about the one terrible pitfall of the celebrations. It had nothing to do with the weird family dynamics. Or the fact that vendors are surprisingly unresponsive considering the thousands of dollars you want to throw their way. Or the glitter that will become more permanently embedded in your life than your spouse.