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Dawn's Column - The Newlywed Word

POSTED February 7, 2012 11:29 p.m.

Are we still newlyweds?”
My husband and I looked at each other and asked that question when we recently saw our pastor who officiated our marriage ceremony. He greeted us with, “Oh, there are the newlyweds” and then he remembered that it’s been over a year since our wedding. In fact, it’ll be two years in just a few months. He quipped that he must have tied the knot good for us.
Newlyweds. Hmmm.
I don’t know if we’re still newlyweds. It sounds funny being called a newlywed at my age. I don’t think it ever really sounded normal to me. I always think of 20-somethings whenever I hear that term. Although, when I was in my 20s, marriage was the farthest thing from my mind.
I think of newlyweds as being young and carefree. Well, that pretty much describes 20-somethings in general though, doesn’t it?
I guess being defined by that term also sounds strange to my ears because my husband and I dated for quite some time before we got married. Since we’ve been together for several years, it somehow feels like we’ve been married longer than we actually have been.
However, I have to say that it does seem like I was just writing columns about getting engaged and planning our wedding just a few months ago. It’s been two years since I was in the throes of wedding planning and sometimes it feels like I’m still recovering.
And, like any 20-something newlyweds, my husband and I have definitely gone through a period of adjustment. Living together we’ve had to get used to sharing closets, decide whose home decor stays and whose gets yard-saled, and come to grips with the fact that certain things about each other are no longer a mystery.
Unlike younger couples though, I think because of our maturity we’re less impetuous and we’re pretty cooperative on things like cooking and cleaning without getting too bent out of shape about which one is doing more or less.
When our pastor made that remark about being newlyweds, he had this big grin on his face. It seems like people generally like the thought of newlyweds. Being around newlyweds probably stirs a certain amount of nostalgia in some people who’ve been married a long time. I imagine that it must stir a sense of accomplishment for them as well. Life can bring about a lot of bumps, and even potholes, in the road and they’re still going.
Some people who were standing nearby overheard the newlywed comment and it was like this spotlight was shined on my husband and I at that point. They all chimed in with how long they’d been married. That was cool because it felt like they were being cheerleaders. I get the impression that the longer someone has been married, the more they like to share with others how long it’s been. It’s something that people are typically happy about. For those who grumble about years and years of marriage, I think it’s just a cover and that they’re secretly proud of it.
One lady happily shared with us that she and her husband had been married for 33 years, so in her mind, my husband and I are definitely still newlyweds, she said.
Even though we haven’t celebrated our second anniversary just yet, my “new” husband and I will be having our eighth Valentine’s Day together next week. Can you understand why I get tripped up on the term newlywed? We’re planning a pre-Valentine’s weekend getaway. He made the suggestion, as well as the reservations, for our relax-and-recuperate escape. Yes, I married a great guy.
At what point do you bypass being a newlywed?
I’m not sure I can answer that. Perhaps it’s different for everyone. Maybe, like age, it’s not the number of years but more like a state of mind.
I don’t feel like we’re a boring, old married couple… Well, maybe we are sometimes, but that’s probably just because we’re not in our 20s anymore.
I guess that means my state of mind isn’t in its 20s anymore either.

Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at dhenley@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.

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