Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Three Years Feels Like Ten

August 6, 2005
Three years ago, Rob and I were married. It was all very traditionally romantic and "weddingy." Victorian courtyard, harp music, pink rose bouquets. In a word, generic. I think this is a result of my trying to "get it right" with respect to our wedding, as though there were only one right way to have a wedding. As though having a "right" wedding would mask my feelings of uncertainty.

Our wedding didn't really reflect us as a couple because we weren't much of one at the time. Rob and I barely knew each other when we got married. We had met a year and a half earlier, but spent most of that time 3,000 miles apart. We'd get together for holidays and the occasional random weekend, but there was never enough time to really connect. Before we could go out to dinner together or see a movie, one of us had to get on an airplane. It was Extreme Dating.

The real "getting to know you" stuff happened after we were already an official, legally-joined couple. We had finances and cats in common, but (it seemed) not much else. I desperately wanted to be happy with my decision to move to a new city as a new bride instead of attending graduate school. So we went out to dinner together, and saw movies, and tried to connect. We had raised-voice discussions and the occasional fight as our goals and beliefs clashed. Rob seemed to embrace these points of opposition as eccentricities in our relationship, but I spent a lot of time despairing over our differences, sure that I had made a terrible mistake.

I wanted to leave. I would call my mother and just sob into the phone. "So leave," she'd say, "if that's what you really want to do." It was what I wanted to do, but it didn't feel right. Or fair. Rob hadn't done anything to deserve coming home to packed suitcases. What I really wanted was to be happy, and I couldn't be happy leaving someone who didn't deserve to be left. We went to an intensive couples' weekend workshop and learned some different ways of talking to each other. We had some hard conversations. We stuck with it.

Cozy and celebrating the wedding of friends

Right before I got pregnant, we were doing really well. We were finally in a "groove." That lovey-dovey honeymoon stage, where everything is shiny and awesome. Pregnancy threw a bunch of new tensions into the mix, which we dealt with reasonably well, until there were questions about jobs and money and who was employed and who was not and who would support our family and how.

After the baby-having dust settled, it was like Rob and I were strangers to each other again. Our priorities shifted, sometimes in different directions. And there was a third, tiny stranger living with us, pulling from our emotional resources. It was hard to remember that we'd ever liked each other. We would fight and sort of make up, and when we got in bed at night, Rob would say, "We made a baby." Part of it was just the awe of re-realizing that there was a person in the world who wasn't there before, but, more importantly, it was a reminder that we used to be a just couple. This little dude, whose sudden presence had jostled our relationship, was only here because Rob and I were together.

Parents and strangers for almost three months

So three years after being pronounced husband and wife, we find ourselves building our relationship again. Our time together is limited, and if we want to be alone, we have to make plans and figure out where and what time. For the first time in our relationship, Rob and I are dating. And it's pretty awesome.

I think he might be the one.



Kitchen Vixen said...

I just have to say, without being too sappy, thanks for putting up this post. My boyfriend and I moved in together after a year of dating- a year where we had been 1,000s of miles apart, and 9 months into living together, everything fell apart. It's 6 months later, and things are starting to feel like they're coming back together.
So thanks for putting your story out here as inspiration that it comes back together.

Melissa said...

I know exactly what you mean. (but without the whole baby thing.) Sometimes it's just so good to hear someone else knows what it's like.

aimee said...

thank you for the post. my husband and i have been married for almost seven years and just had our first kid - a son - three months ago. we had plenty of time to get to know one another, and i have to tell you that once you throw a baby into the mix - all bets are off. this morning my husband, just noticed that i got my haircut - i got it cut last week - i had at least 6 inches chopped off... i guess my point is we are all working on our relationships. i imagine that the moment you stop working at it is when you no longer care. my husband and i need to try to start dating again - hell, we need to try to notice each other again - thank you for the inspiration.

Baby in Broad said...

Thanks, everyone. You guys are all awesome.

People say that first year of marriage is hard. I think it's more like the first two, two-and-a-half. And having a baby is like hitting the "Reset" button.