(Cheers with wedding present wine)
Shortly after we got married, I remember talking with Peter about how long the newlywed stage would last. I thought it might be about two years for us.
Something big shifted for me internally when we got married. Saying our vows made me buzz and bubble up inside, and I felt the hugeness of making that commitment in front of everyone we loved the most. But I'm not sure I really felt like a newlywed in the months and years since. That giddy "Oh my goodness, you're home!" feeling (along with the "Oh my goodness, would it kill you to clean the bathroom?" feeling) came when we first moved in together in New York, three years before our wedding.
I am thrilled we did it that way, of course. When we returned from our honeymoon, we got right down to the business of changing my name, admiring our shiny rings, and drinking lots of left over Prosecco. We were still thrilled to see each other every night, and had long ago figured out the cleaning schedule. It was awesome. But I felt like I was missing the big shift. I spent a lot of time reading about relationships and marriage, looking for secret advice about how I was supposed to act now that we had a marriage to think about.
The shift in my thinking was slow and internal. I share the following not to offer advice to anyone - I'm really in no position to do that - but instead to articulate what I think I've personally learned during this fuzzy newlywed stage.
The first big shift in my thinking occurred when I realized that there was no marriage. There is not an external or tangible thing that Peter or I can focus on or work to improve. It is just the two of us - a tree of love never sprouted up through our now-joined hearts. I can only focus on and work to improve myself by thinking hard about what makes me happy, and where I want to go, and how I can best grow up. Peter can do the same if he chooses (and happily, he does), but I can't really worry too much about his process. When I am working to be at my happiest and best, I must have faith that is the best thing I can do for both of us.
That might sound selfish and a bit harsh. But in my mind, I couple that knowledge with this idea: I know what makes Peter happy better than anyone else in the world. Isn't that an incredible thought? Of course, many friends and family members have a good idea of what Peter loves. But I am the master-keeper of that special knowledge. And that is the thing I can focus on and work to improve. It's a pretty good gig.
Happy anniversary, my sweet.