With summer a distant memory and shorter days creeping upon us, I realise that in just a couple of short months Andrew and I will be celebrating our first year anniversary. Just a few months ago I let you all in on how I had been finding the first 6 months of marriage and how I had struggled to come to terms with my new identity as a married woman.
One house move, a job change and numerous date nights later, just how have we been settling into our new roles as husband and wife? Well, here’s what I’m thinking, 9 and a half months in…
The Best Day of my Life
Yes, I’m back on that old chestnut again. 6 months ago I admitted that I had been perturbed by the feeling that our wedding day hadn’t been the ultimate best day of my life. Immediately after the event I was confused that I didn’t instantly feel a warm nostalgic glow towards our special day. Sure it had been amazingly special, but so had so many of the other days we have spent together, just the two of us.
Well, I think I’m finally understanding where this cliched affiliation comes from. It seems to me that the more time that passes since our wedding day, the slightly less clear the memories become. There are some that will stay sharp and vivid in my mind forever, like the squeeze of Andrew’s hand on mine at the alter, the cheers of guests as they showered us in confetti outside the church, and the children of family and friends twirling on the dance floor later in the evening. But there are some small, insignificant details that become more and more vague as time goes on.
Ironically, in losing some of the details from memory, this makes those little things that you do remember, all the more magical. You begin to look back on your big day in snippets, moments; remembering feelings and emotions rather than facts and a step by step account of events. And as you muse in fondness, it so easily trips off the tongue with a sigh, “that really was the best day of my life.”
The next step
In my blog on the first 6 months of marriage, I mentioned that I had struggled to place myself in an appropriate category or community of people. That I struggled to define new goals as a married woman, and tried to look ahead at what’s next.
In the few months since my last post on the subject, I have since found myself in a community of women committed to making their marriages work. I have found a number of great fellow marriage bloggers who concentrate on making the moments count, and enjoy dating their husbands on a regular basis. By and large, this is what I’ve busied myself with in the last few months.
Andrew and I have continued to enjoy trips away, surprise days out and romantic date nights. Following our New York honeymoon, we have been conjuring new dreams together – letting our imaginations run wild on a bucket list of sorts. All in all, I’ve spent the last few months establishing and settling into my identity as a wife.
Despite all of this, there is still something I can’t quite settle in my head, and that’s the possibility of what’s next. The unknown of when our lives might change again, and the new identities we may need to form.
9 months and just us two
I make no secret of the fact that Andrew and I are keen to start a family. In actual fact, we were both determined to start trying (or rather stop not trying) as soon as we got married. I have always been realistic about the realities of conceiving. Averages say it can take a year, my guarded side reminds me that it’s not a given, and it may never happen at all. But amidst all my practicalities and pessimisms, part of my mind allowed itself to imagine the possibility of conceiving straight away: a honeymoon baby.
Unfortunately, no such luck for us as yet. So what do you do in the meantime? How do you make plans when you’re trying to conceive?
As my regular readers will know, we recently moved house (for the second time since getting married). We moved to a 2 bedroom house: one room is the master bedroom and the ‘spare’ room I have always had in the back of my mind as a potential nursery. For now it doubles up as Andrew’s home office.
When we moved in we were reluctant to do much to the room, just in case we would need to re-purpose and redecorate it. As such, this room came to symbolise the very waiting game that I have had in my head for the last 9 and a half months. The fear and inability of making plans, just in case the very best happens and we have to change those plans.
Problem is, there is no certainty about when, or if it will even happen for us, so if we’re not careful we could wind up 8 years down the line having not properly lived, just living on pause, waiting for the next step in our lives to kick in.
This weekend, I decided I needed a fresh mindset. We can’t continue to live on hold, hoping for a miracle. In practical terms, this meant committing the spare room as Andrew’s office, at least for now. Investing some time, and a little money, into making it a usable and defined space in the home.
In reality, this marked a shift in thinking. We shouldn’t be holding back. We shouldn’t be living any aspects of our lives on pause, waiting for something that we have no control over (ok, we have some control – I listened in biology class!). My point is that I want to continue to dream with Andrew. To make plans and get the most out of every day. Making plans is what drives me forward, something tangible to look forward to, to aim for. Plans can always be changed after all, what’s the big deal?
To the next few months
So far, our first year of marriage has been a roller-coaster for me. Not from a relationship point of view, but from a personal one.
Getting married really has felt like the start of something new… and it is. Even though we were together before, Andrew and I have fully committed to doing this thing called life together, side by side, through it all. And I believe that in so doing I’ve asked myself a lot of questions about who I want to be, as a wife and a partner in life.
I’ve re-evaluated my values, thought about the things I want to achieve both on my own and as a spouse; dreamt of the places I want to go and the things I want to do with Andrew.
I’ve struggled to find my new identity, and not quite fully committed to it yet, in anticipation that as soon as I do, I may be thrown into another role. Until then, the date nights will be plenty and our dreams will grow, making plans to fulfil them one hope and wish at a time.
Are you in your first year of marriage? How has it been for you? Have you felt a shift in your own thinking? Have you struggled to identify yourself as a wife? What does being a wife mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.