Thursday, June 30, 2011

more lessons

Lesson #86: Everyone should have the right to marry.

Okay, so this isn't exactly something we've come to realize since we were married. I've been behind marriage equality since I realized that people had different sexual preferences in middle school. However, since we've been married, the importance of marriage equality has become even more evident. For months, I heard fellow bloggers/newlyweds go on and on about how different it feels to be married. And for months, I didn't believe them.

Well, they were right and I was wrong because it is different.

In addition to the heightened emotional connection and the fact that I get to use the word "husband" when I introduce him to people, the legal rights we've been afforded are comforting. It's not like I'm claiming his pension cheques, but even little things like the fact that he can call in a prescription for me or the fact that I get a "spouse card" for his health insurance through work make me feel more connected to him. My elation over the spouse card may be silly, but nonetheless, I can't even begin to imagine how I'd feel if I were denied these connections to the person I love.

I knew marriage inequality was a big deal before we got married, but since we were afforded the privilege of signing that marriage license without question, it feels even more unjust that so many people are denied that same privilege.

Which is why I'm thankful to live in a country that became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and why I'm happy to see our neighbors to the south making strides in the same direction.

When you look at the big picture surrounding this massive political, ideological, religious (etc.) debate, it makes me wonder why it's a debate at all.


Lesson #109: Sometimes being selfish is a necessary evil.


Although we started to realize it well before we were married, compromising is a necessity. (Most of the time) we both do our best to compromise our needs with those of the other. It's tough, but necessary. We've been and continue to be around other relationships in which one or both partners are terrible at, or simply unwilling to, compromise and we've seen the kind of strain that puts on a relationship so we do our best to avoid it. (Plus, I tend to think my husband is fundamentally incapable of ignoring the needs of others for his own in most cases. Stupid Mr. Awesome.)

The lesson we've come to learn since being married, however, is that this desire to take the needs of another above those of your own can be difficult. With a case of the flu a few weeks back, there was no end to the feelings of guilt I experienced when I needed to depend on him for everything. I do my best to be independent, but when you're up at 3am unable to leave the bathroom for fear of throwing up everywhere else, you don't have much of a choice but to rely on someone else. So I got over it and realized that for the next few days at least, he would have to pull double duty. In addition to working a full day, he would have to pick up my responsibilities of cleaning and cooking. Add onto all that a wife who is (even more) whiny and needy when she's sick and I'm surprised the poor man survived that week.

But ultimately, I realized that if the situation were reversed, I would want him to depend on me so he could focus on getting better. The feelings of guilt persisted, but they were toned down ever so slightly.

Besides, I took comfort in the fact that in next 50 years of so, he'll likely manage to pay me back for it. Probably 10 times over, since he's a big baby when he's suffering from a man cold.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

lessons

Lesson #1: Vacations rock.

Seriously, they do. Take one.


Lesson #17: Merging finances isn't hard, it's just annoying at times.

Since I'm still in school and the husband is the sole-bread winner, merging our finances wasn't too difficult. We spent an hour signing papers and voila! I'm attached to his account and mine was soon to be closed. Joint accounts all the way. For us, there was no alternative. However, being the spender of the relationship, talking to the saver of the marriage is tricky sometimes. Its a little (more than a little, sometimes) annoying to discuss every financial decision with one another. But that's the selfish part of my personality talking. I know, in the long run, it's better to make decisions together so neither of us is blind sighted. Plus, we help reel one another in, which is always good for our pocketbook.

Lesson #54: Baby families rock, but they're work to make.

I've talked about it before and I'll say it again... drama goes with weddings like cookies go with milk. Yesterday on APW, wedding undergraduate Nicole was talking about the two extremes of family relationships that seem to emerge in the course of wedding planning. On one hand, you've got the fluffy loveliness that accompanies a close family and on the other, you've got the dreary heartache that can be attached to families that ain't so cuddly.

We happen to fall mostly into the latter group. Although our issues don't stem from ideological differences like Nicole's, they still stink. We've come to learn that our new family has to be priority. And trust me, that's a hard lesson to learn and an even harder thing to constantly keep in mind.

Like Nicole notes, it's extremely tough to balance the boundaries created by the families we came from with the ones we're trying to create for our own family. Thankfully, I also find this difficult process to be one of the most rewarding parts of marriage. I love being connected to my family of origin while having them realize that we're creating our own family that has its own needs. Because the needs of our new family often clashed with those of our other families, we've constantly been emerged in a dialogue about what works for us, what absolutely doesn't, and how we respect ourselves without disregarding the needs of our families of origin.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the guest list drama we went through before the wedding. (Ugh, the guest list. Shoot me now.) Every side had an opinion but ultimately we needed to make it work for the two of us. We were made to feel as though we were being selfish, we were put on guilt trips, we had to deal with crying mothers, and pissed off relatives, but at the end of the day... it was our wedding. Not theirs. Just like this is our family, not theirs. If we don't prioritize our needs, we'll never be happy. So it's a constant balancing act.

Just my luck. I was never one for juggling.

happy anniversary to us!

It's official, we've been married over a year.

(So what if it's only been a year and two days? Saying over a year makes it sounds fancier, so sue me.)

And because we spent our official anniversary dog sitting for my grandparents, we decided to skip celebrations on Sunday and enjoy belated anniversary fun yesterday. Thankfully, we'd had the foresight to know that taking care of 8 dogs and 16 puppies (side note: this is normal... my grandparents own a kennel, they're not pet hoarders, I swear) for 3 days would probably take its toll on us and booked Monday off work. So we ignored the fact that our car needs to be cleaned and that we have a giant pile of dishes in our kitchen and left town for the cottage where we had our wedding.


Lovely sun, freezing cold water to swim in, and dinner on our way home = one sweet first wedding anniversary. That's one lesson we've learned in the past year, sometimes ignoring responsibility to be spontaneous is an excellent way to enjoy time together.

Speaking of lessons learned, we've been taught a few more things by the world of marriage and the world in general this year. There's been a lot going on. School, changing jobs, family drama, the possibility of a move ... uh, the list goes on and on.

In light of these lessons, many of which we're still living through, I decided to come back to the blogging world for a week to go through some of the stuff we've learned in our first year of marriage.

Don't get me wrong, we're not experts. Far from it, actually. Before we got married, I figured we had a pretty good sense of what our lives would be like and how we'd handle the crap that was flung our way. Pffft, what the hell did I know?