What I have learned in the first 6 months of married life….
Married life is different for every couple I’m sure. I’m always told its “full of ups and downs” and although I am sure eventually we will have to face a down, we are lucky in that the last 6 months has been full of ups! I have learned a few things, I’m not really sure if any are specific to military life but I’m guessing they’re pretty generic:
1) Don’t listen to too much advice.
Even when things are going great people will love to give advice; often unsolicited, in my experience this is mostly people who aren’t in relationships or theirs isn’t going so well. A little advice is good but you will find your own feet, we were lucky marriage has so far been pretty easy for us. No marriage is the same so what works for one person won’t work for another.
2) It’s okay to spend loads of time together or not… it’s totally up to the two of you.
My favourite piece of unsolicited advice is when people encourage us to spend time apart: I married my best friend, we like spending time together so we will continue as we are, thank you! Equally we both have full time jobs and our own hobbies so if we want to spend the whole weekend together watching TV, or at the aquarium, we can. Quite often we socialise together but that works for us, other couples not so much. The weirdest thing for me is when people offer me some “husband free time”… I’m okay thank you. I’ve always been a believer that time alone is healthy but I must admit running, boot camp and control of the TV when he is at poker night is enough for me!
3) Not everyone will be happy for you.
This one came as a shock to me, but probably shouldn’t have. In the run up to the wedding people weirdly made it about them, in strange ways and at strange intervals. I’ve even lost a few friendships. Weirdly some people don’t like to see others happy I think, and others can’t let others be happy unless they are playing the lead role. It’s a weird situation and I’ll never wrap my head around it. I think you just have to go with it.
4) It makes thing easier (this is a military thing).
You’re officially a family member/dependant, the army acknowledge you exist. Living in quarters rather that traveling to and from all the time. Actually getting to live where he works is fab! If he has to move I can follow.
5) The name change is harder than you think.
Bureaucracy… the paperwork… the cost … the constant phoning of people….sending off my marriage certificate. There must be an easier way?? The signature change weirded me out a bit.
6) Even if you think it’s not for you, it might be the thing for you.
Getting married was Karl’s idea, he knew he loved me and wanted to be with me. Being married made that easier in the army and although he always said marriage wasn’t for him, he suggested we got married. Now he constantly tells me how happy he is. He loves being married and loved our wedding day. And takes a lot of pride and smugness in calling me his wife.
7) No marriage or married couple is the same – and that’s okay.
We don’t really argue… more often than not it ends in us laughing at each other. Some people argue, some don’t I don’t think there is a correct amount to agree or disagree. Some people seem to be in a constant grump with each other. We share the household chores in a way that works for us. we are affectionate and may share the odd public snog when no one’s looking but definitely don’t partake in massive public displays of affection, other couples not so much. I think there is a danger when you start to compare your relationship with others. Judging theirs or your own can only lead to trouble I’m sure.
8) Be a unit.
You’re a team. We make a conscious effort to not agree plans before we have had a discussion. I’m very lucky to say Karl’s my partner 100% … although every now and again I do get the public blame for why we left a party early but I’ll take that one!
9) It’s give and take – and that works for us.
This one sounds obvious but I seriously think this is why we haven’t had any hiccups so far. No one likes to be the one who does everything. We have a good system. Karl wants to go to the mess and knows we will probably be there till late at night (I’m not a big drinker), the next day is a “Bella day”. If I’ve dragged him round the shops for hours, its football and I’ll refill the beer/brews as and when.
So that’s it really, the last 6 months have been fabulous and I’m sure the next 6 will be even better.