I’m still settling in and adapting to this new aspect of my life called marriage. People frequently ask me, “So how’s married life?” My answer usually includes the words, “It’s an adjustment.”
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it very much and it’s been good for both my husband and I. However, while I went into it with my eyes wide open, there are some things that I had not considered. And although those things wouldn’t have made me change my mind, if I had thought of them prior to saying, “I do,” I may have been able to make some preparations.
I was single and independent for a long time. I didn’t have to answer to anyone. It was all on me. I remember shortly after we were married, there was an occasion where I was about to make a fairly large personal purchase. As I put the pen to the check that still had only my name on it, I realized something … that I had gotten married. I said out loud, “Oh! I should probably talk to my husband about this first.”
Oh yeah. I almost forgot about that.
The clerk looked at me and agreed that it was probably a good idea.
I’ve been with this man for several years, so perhaps you can understand how I could still think of our relationship as it had always been — which didn’t include sharing paychecks, bills, or bank accounts.
I’ve procrastinated on a lot of important stuff, too — because I’ve been busy adjusting. I only recently got my social security card changed and I’m proud to say that, five months after our wedding, I now have an appointment with the DMV to get my license with my new name on it. I’m still working on getting all bank accounts and other important papers altered so they contain my new name and his name, as well. It’s a work in progress. Well, that is when I actually work on it. It’s a total drag to go through all the name change business. He hasn’t had to do any of that.
One of the biggest changes for me since getting married has been the addition of a commute since moving into my husband’s home. What once was a five-minute commute to work has turned into a 45-minute commute. The extra hour-and-a-half spent in the car each day seriously taps into time that I previously took for granted. My husband frequently and graciously takes care of making dinner when he’s not traveling.
Since my husband and I lived in different towns prior to our marriage, it wasn’t very convenient to see each other all that much during the week. To help make up for this, we talked on the phone every evening around a certain time. We’d talk for 15 or 20 minutes, other times it was an hour. Regardless of that, I had a significant amount of “me” time. Now, it’s pretty much always “we” time. I can no longer talk to this man only at 9 p.m. for a half hour on weeknights.
I’ll admit that conducting a serious relationship over the phone for any length of time presents significant challenges and I don’t miss that at all. However, I come home now and I need to interact with this person from the moment I walk in. I can’t just go to the bedroom, close the door, turn on some music, and paint my toenails.
All that time that I used to spend on myself — plucking my eyebrows, waxing my legs, and doing some sort of workout — has practically disappeared. I’m sure he’s having some difficulty adjusting to the new, hairy me as much as I am.
I’m dealing with other domestic things I’d also never considered. Things like, where are we going to put all our new dishes and serving pieces we got for the wedding? Neither of us owned a buffet or china cabinet but we’re going to need to get one soon. I never thought about needing an entire piece of furniture to house dishes before.
We also recently had my dining table and chairs refinished and reupholstered. I would’ve never considered doing such a thing as a single person.
The worst, most unplanned for, adjustment has been the grocery bill. My husband was a single dad of two boys. He was busy with his job and coaching his sons in baseball and football for many years, and he relied heavily on convenience foods. As the kids got into high school, they ate more. And more. And they continue to feed.
I expected the grocery bill to be larger than my bill as a single person, but it’s crazy ridiculous. I almost choked when I recently calculated a month’s worth of grocery receipts. When I was single, I could rent an apartment for that. My husband has now signed us up on some coupon website. Maybe I’ll become one of those people who has so many coupons they get the groceries for free …
Nah, that probably wouldn’t happen. Would it? I really don’t think I’d have a problem adjusting to free groceries.
Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.