Tag Archives: friendship

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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5 Ways Facebook Has Improved Dating

A couple of days ago, another blogger discussed the many negatives that come with the intersection of Facebook and the dating scene: overanalyzing your crush’s posts, staying updated on your ex’s dating life, public beginnings and break-ups, having a digital record of relationship blunders, and the possibility of a significant other becoming jealous over posts to your wall from other people. I thought this was a really interesting take on Facebook/dating, as I might not be married right now if it weren’t for Facebook. Given my more positive slant (and also the irrelevance some of these items seem to have for adults—you’re jealous of your girlfriend’s other guy friends because of wall posts? Wow…), I have decided to dedicate a post to the positive impact Facebook had on my dating experience.

1) Solidifying a new friendship.
When Jeremiah and I first met at a Christmas party in 2009, we both were in need of more friends at Fuller. Thus, we friended each other within a couple days. This facilitated no fewer than three important things:

First, when I needed a ride from campus to my apartment complex one evening the next week and had already asked everyone in my phone/online that I actually knew, I (pathetically) used my Facebook status to try to recruit a ride. Jeremiah felt sorry for me and volunteered, which helped me decide he was a halfway decent guy rather than the arrogant pre-academic he appeared to be at the party.

Secondly, as we went on Christmas break, instead of a month of no contact, we continued to communicate through wall posts, article comments, and even chat. What one might learn during the first couple times hanging out with a new friend, I was able to do during our month off, through Facebook. I’m not sure if we had had a month-long gap in communication that we would have actually become friends during the next quarter.

Lastly, when I needed help moving to a new apartment in January and again, pathetically, had to ask for help on Facebook, Jeremiah again volunteered. He ended up being my primary moving buddy, and we ended up hanging out almost every day the next week, cementing him as my new best friend at Fuller.

2) Initiating conversation.
Jeremiah and I both post tons of articles on Facebook, along with our commentaries. When I was first getting to know him, I learned a lot about him just from reading articles he posted on Facebook, as well as looking through photos of his life pre-Fuller. When we hung out in person, sometimes the conversations sparked by Facebook would continue, usually on a deeper level. Also, even as we started hanging out all the time, we continued to chat on Facebook daily–during class, as well as most evenings (sometimes well past our bedtimes–but we won’t disclose any more embarrassingly gushy details!). Thus, while Facebook can’t be a substitute for real-life interaction, it was a positive addition to our growing friendship.

3) Introducing friends & family.
When we first started dating, my friends and family started friending Jeremiah and vice versa. Because we were both living thousands of miles away from home, everyone appreciated being able to get to know each other a bit. Between what we said about each other to our friends and their getting to interact online, see each other’s profiles, etc., a few closer friends actually ended up feeling like they knew us before we met in person. It was really neat to have them involved in our relationship from the beginning like this.

4) Sharing our story.
It was also cool to get to continue to invite people into our story as we moved toward marriage. Through pictures and status updates, people got to watch our relationship grow and even be present at our wedding from a distance. Clearly, it’s not the same as actually being there, but this was still really nice for us, given that we had many friends in California, friends in North Carolina, and family members who couldn’t travel to a Texas wedding.

5) Preserving memories.
Lastly, while I know it’s cheesy, I’ve really enjoyed having a record of our story. Since many of our first interactions were on Facebook, it’s been fun to look back and see posts from before we liked each other or before I had successfully convinced Jeremiah to like me back. Our relationship moved quickly, so it’s sometimes hard to remember the details of the process. For me, this makes it especially nice to have memories preserved through Facebook.

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Filed under Dating, Relationships