Tag Archives: friends

How’s married life?

I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. “How’s married life?” I’ve gotten it multiple times even today.

Sometimes it’s from a closer friend with genuine excitement for our marriage—typically someone who has watched our relationship grow from the beginning, whether here in California or long-distance. In this case, it’s less about the question, really, and more a continuing celebration of the fact that Jeremiah and I are together. They like us, they like us together, and thus our marriage is generally a fun topic to bring up, especially for our married friends.

Other times, “How’s married life?” is a substitute for “How’s it going?” I usually say “good” or “fine,” as I know they have little interest in details, though this probably makes me appear rather unenthusiastic to some. I often wonder how else they expect someone to respond. What would they actually do with honest answers like “We had a fight last night”? Or “We’re having tons of sex!”? Hence, the question brings me amusement, despite my slight annoyance that my individual well-being seems to have decreased in relevance to the world, at least for a few more months.

Lastly, there are those who are genuinely curious. “How is married life (really)?” This is a mixed group, including everyone from near strangers to bridesmaids, but it is almost exclusively single friends who ask. I like to talk about marriage, so I don’t really mind the question—but it’s not the easiest to answer meaningfully.

From my perspective, early “married life” is going to be quite similar to two things:

First, it is like the engagement period and dating relationship and ordinary friendship that came first. We married each other; we have a history together. Marriage is just a continuation of that past. It doesn’t feel sectioned off in a profound way. We are us, the us we always have been. Married life feels remarkably like the entirety of our relationship, perhaps especially because we tried to make fewer artificial distinctions before our wedding. For example, we started pooling financial resources and making financial decisions together at least three months “early” and established our joint bank accounts about a month or two in advance. While many people wait for months after the wedding to do this—or question whether they want to at all—I would recommend that everyone try to transition into marriage with similar practices.

Secondly, the first few months of married life feel quite similar to having a new roommate—though one you’ve already been friends with for a while. You already know something of each other’s habits. You’ve experienced conflict. You already often cook together, study together, run errands together, etc. When you’re living together full-time there are always new things you must negotiate. How do we do chores? (Er, do we do chores?) What about bedtime routines? Do we need to ask the other person before having someone over? In my experience, learning to live with Jeremiah is remarkably similar to learning to live with my college roommate Kate. There is nothing very interesting to describe, as much of what single people seem to be asking about are things they can already answer simply from living with another person.

With these two items taken care of, there are really only a few questions that seem to lurk below the surface:

“Is it what you expected?”
Yes, actually, it’s almost exactly what I expected. Is that weird?

“Is it what I as a single person expect?”
This obvious depends on the person, so I answer accordingly. While some people do have overly fluffy visions of marriage, on the whole I find that many people are too negative about marriage. Many see marriage as something risky to be put off. Others, trying to inject something positive into a culture of serial relationships, emphasize that marriage is hard—almost to the point that you wonder if marriage is any fun. If your expectation is that marriage sucks the life out of you, then no, it’s not what you expect, or at least it doesn’t need to be.

“Are you happy?”
Yes!

While sometimes I’ve been frustrated to answer the same question so often, the repetition—and especially the additional questions I’m sometimes asked by people in Group 3—has forced me to reflect on marriage in our society. We are certainly in an interesting place, when it comes to how we talk about marriage, how that differs based on context, etc. It leaves me with the sense that even among those with better preparation for marriage itself, few have the knowledge of real-life marriages (and engagements!) that might be a useful point of reference, even for those who never marry.

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“Around You” by Ingrid

Today was an Ingrid Michaelson day.  I had three of her albums on shuffle/repeat from 6pm and 1 am, at which point I fell asleep on the couch listening to her her smooth vocals.  This was actually why I didn’t want to get in my bed:  If I stayed on the couch, I felt like I could leave the music on.  (I admit that didn’t really make sense, since I easily could have moved my speakers into my bedroom and turned the volume down and put the repeat off.)

While I’ve played Ingrid around my apartment before, this was the first time I was alone and doing relatively nothing (cleaning up a bit and catching up with old friends on the phone/online) with her on, and I think it meant I actually heard her lyrics (while chatting more than on the phone, I suppose).  I haven’t been an Ingrid fan for too long—my friends Lindsay and Kate were all into her in college, and I thought I didn’t like her until Kate pushed her on me again during Thanksgiving break.  (I don’t really remember what specifically happened.  But we listened to her again.)  Suddenly in December, I’d decided I liked her and wanted Kate to burn me her three albums.

One of my favorite songs of the moment (oh, but there are many!  expect some more song posts soon) is “Around You” from her oldest album, Slow the Rain.  I’ll let you read, then offer my thoughts.

“Around You” by Ingrid Michaelson/Slow the Rain

I call you my friend
And thats all that I do
Why do I have to pretend
To find ways to be around you?

You’ve been there all along
Holding my hand like you do.
Why do I feel that its wrong
To love to be around you?

And I think I’m losing my mind
maybe I’ve been hopelessly blind to your beauty
And you have a sweet sinful smile
I’m in trouble
Cause you turn me upside down and around and around

Do you feel what I feel? Well?
Do you feel this way too?
That every wound seems to heal when I am around you

And I must be losing my mind Maybe I have been hopelessly blind to your beauty.
And you have a sweet sinful smile
I’m in trouble
You turn me upside down and around and around and around

And I must be losing my mind maybe you have a sweet sinful smile
I’m in trouble
Cause you turn me upside down and around and around
Turn me upside down and around and around
Turn me upside down and around and around

My feet don’t touch the ground when I’m around you
When I’m around you you you you you

In a way, I can’t relate to this song at all, because it seems to imply that one day the song’s “narrator”  suddenly realized she was in love with one of her best friends.  I don’t actually know any case when that’s happened–in my experience when people fall in love with one of their best friends, it’s something that begins at the beginning.  So I don’t actually buy that this happens all the time in reality.  But it makes a really good song.

I do feel almost everyone relates to the theme of having a friend that they’re actually in love with yet not knowing precisely what to do about it.  There’s a lot here about inner conflict–loosing your mind in not only your intense attraction to the person, but also the complexity of the situation–and I think that’s something many people feel, at least for a season, as they try to sort out their feelings.  There’s this nice intensification in the piano and vocals during the initial part of the refrain, which really adds depth to this painful hope.

While in real life we all want these situations to have some closure (even if it’s “bad”), I like that there’s no closure in the song.  It captures the real emotion people feel in the moment, both the delight of love and the insecurity of indefinition in the relationship.

The piano here is simple and gorgeous.

I would like to dedicate this brief song analysis to Michael Adams, who may not be in love with me but is certainly in love with every other woman on the planet.  ;o)

Sidenote: The next song on the album, “Charlie,” has a couple extremely catchy parts I must mention, including “with the green lunchbox,” “lunch was the happiest 45 minutes of the day,” and “hello, hello, charlie, hello.”  These parts are fantastic precisely because Ingrid sings them so beautifully.

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Snippets

Things I’m really enjoying right now:
Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, Amy’s Mac N Soy Cheeze, 70 degrees, the newly repaired MacBook, reading about Islam, new (drinking) glasses from target, Paper Towns, wireless Internet, living in the city, my job and the fact that the government pays for it, developing friendships, mentally planning how to furnish/decorate my new apartment, $20,500 loans, pajama pants, Christmas money, sleeping, knowing I will have a dishwasher at this time next week, daily sunshine

Ways I’m meeting God:
catching up with college friends, Caedmon’s Call, miraculously being able to make ends meet, reading your blog, studying theologies of religion, giving, writing about seminary faculty and alumni and their amazing passions and accomplishments (one of the best advertisements for Christianity happens to be the community I live, study, and work in right now), not having to sign a statement of faith, envisioning the future, did I mention the sunshine here?

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