3 Years

This month we are celebrating three years of marriage. And by “celebrating” I mean I wrote most of this while lying in bed wondering how on earth I got through pain even worse than this on our wedding day. Is it really possible to have such an adrenaline rush? Amazing.

I still maintain that there is only so much you can say about your marriage in particular before your seventh anniversary. But there are already a few things I now know which would have surprised me three years ago.

My life is incredibly–perhaps completely?–Josh-centric now. I never would have guessed that.

I thought of complete absorption in the other as a shallow risk of new infatuations. Little did I know it can also be the result of marriage.

It is perhaps most dangerous at this phase. I instinctively consider Josh in everything, but I cannot possibly know him well enough to have these subconscious considerations always match well with his reality.

Another aspect of this is that I now know what loneliness is. Marriage has enabled me to be more than I ever was by myself, and that means that I am now incomplete in an entirely new way.

The most peculiar thing of all is that this is apparently health rather than dysfunction. Who ever would have guessed that health–and indeed happiness–would have so much in common with the sickly obsessiveness of youthful romance?

And on a more obvious note, we are childless. I would not have guessed that 3 years ago. Sure, I would have said that it would most likely be wise to wait, but I do not recall ever claiming to be wise. And you know how other people somehow find ways to justify buying a house before they are ready, or expensive toys because they can make it work in the moment even though it really isn’t wise? I don’t think that I am better than them, just that I want different things. Oh wait, I just called a child a thing. Oops.

I knew that it was likely that we would not be ready in August, 2010, but I am not sure I have ever been ready for anything in life, and somehow it happened anyway. If nothing else, we certainly found a way to get married before it was wise, so why should I have thought that adding more people to our family would be any different?

One thing that does not surprise me is my body, though it is true that I could not have understood how much my sickness would cost Josh. In order to look smarter at predicting things that can’t be predicted, I am going to go on the record now with the expectation that my sixth anniversary will be spent without debilitating menstrual pain. Because who really needs to reenact the way they felt on their wedding anyway?

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18 thoughts on “3 Years

  1. Mandi

    We just celebrated our first anniversary and while I can say I enjoy married life, I definitely feel like I can’t say much about married life, especially since I feel like this first year is an anomaly (my husband won’t always be a grad student, we won’t always be moving every year for his school – hopefully) so I’m not sure what “normal married life” will be like. I really appreciate and can relate to many of your observations (especially the part about being husband-centric and feeling lonely). Congratulations on your first three years together and I hope you have many more happy years to come!

  2. Michelle

    Congrats on your anniversary! I’m sorry you are in pain…physical or otherwise. I remember thinking that three years wasn’t much and who was I to say anything about marriage at that point. But, I think your observations are good and you have much to say about marriage. And I like it. :)

  3. Katarina

    This is profound !Happy anniversary !
    I used to wonder at people who said the first five years of marriage were difficult

    While i haven’t found them earth shatteringly difficult – i did not expect to change in such phenomenal ways as i have .

    Am so sorry for your pain – and i wish you many many Josh – centric years :-)

  4. Elizabeth

    Happy Anniversary! We also just celebrated our 3rd! (yesterday)

    I completely understand what you said about feeling husband-centric and loneliness. It’s pretty crazy when I think about how much my outlook/priorities have changed these past 3 years. We are also in a similar boat in regards to children (none yet), but we can’t wait to finally be in a place where we can start a family.

    I hope you feel better and have lots more pain-free anniversaries!

  5. Christine

    Happy Anniversary! I wish you many more – hopefully all without pain!

    We’re going to be celebrating our third wedding anniversary next week (who knew that we got married 1 week apart?) and it’s crazy how time flies!

  6. CM

    Rae- I guess I don’t have your email, but I was going to tell you to feel free to use one of the pictures for your desktop. Thanks for asking first! :)

  7. alison

    congrats on your three years! i hope your surgery proves to help a little more with your pain a little quicker than year 6 but, as always you seem to have a positive perspective on things. “I am not sure I have ever been ready for anything in life, and somehow it happened anyway”….ain’t that the truth. i wish i had something more profound to say, but congrats nonetheless!

  8. Kacie

    Happy Anniversary. We hit six years this summer, and since then have been watching our good friends, the ones we lived with for most of the last two years, go through adultery and it seems they are headed towards seperation. It’s so …. surreal. I can’t make sense of it. It was a marriage that seemed and tested as very healthy, and then sin enters the picture, becomes a habit, gets worse, and now….. he is a different person, will not speak to any of his friends, and is leaving.

    It’s frightening. I have to remember that while I’m thankful, so thankful, for my husband and our marriage…… my true stability is in the Lord.

  9. Brad

    Rae, I just saw this post, and I don’t know how I missed it. Congratulations on your third anniversary. To co-opt a popular meme, “It gets better.” I’m sending out my world-famous positive karma to you. Get well soon.

  10. Elise

    Happy Anniversary! Having just had our first wedding anniversary I can totally see the whole husband-centric mentality as well. It’s really amazing how much you change once your married, but its a good change that makes your relationship stronger!

  11. practicinghuman

    God grant you many years!

    I’m wondering if you could unpack your observations around loneliness a bit further. Many people would posit that marriage is an answer to loneliness. While I’m not surprised that marriage taught you about loneliness, I’m wondering how you understand loneliness :)

  12. Julia

    Oh my gosh, this is going to sound like the most creepy-stalker thing ever (especially coming so late after your post!), but it has to be said.
    I had been following along with your blog awhile back but had lost the URL and only just found my way back here. And scrolling through the posts I’d missed, I realized… I’ve seen your wedding pictures before!
    You were married while I was engaged and looking for wedding photographers and we came thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to hiring the woman who shot your wedding. I remember your pictures because I LOVED what they showed about your wedding and your relationship; you and Josh gave me the last little push I needed to really take on my Catholic wedding in a way that felt authentic to the Catholicism that I live in my bones. (Does that even make sense? Live in one’s bones…)
    Not too shabby for some pictures on a wedding photographer’s blog! Who would have ever thought I’d get the chance to tell you that?
    So happy (belated) anniversary. I’m sorry for your pain and encouraged by your honesty. And thank you for sharing it.

    1. Rae Post author

      This is fabulous. Josh will never believe me that this sort of blog stalking is normal and thinks that I am the only one who does it, so now I can show him your comment as a bit of proof that I am not the only one. ;-)

      And thank you for your kind words about the wedding pictures. Photography was/is my one big wedding regret so it is good to remember that we did at least get some good pictures which captured important aspects of the day.

      Happy belated anniversary to you as well!

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