I got married five years ago today. I was thirty-six. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m still not sure I know what I’m doing now.
I never really wanted to be married. It wasn’t something I dreamt or fantasized about. I only played house when the other kids made me. When I was on my own I played upstairs apartment. Sometimes it was above a bar. I lived in the apartment alone.
As far as I could tell, nothing interesting seemed to happen to married women, but it’s good to know now that I was wrong about that. It’s good to know that maybe for me, all the most interesting things happen when you’re married.
It’s hard to write about marriage without seeming maudlin, especially if you like being married, which I do. Especially if you have a happy marriage, even though I’m not really sure what that means. No marriage is happy all the time. Marriage is a hard thing sometimes, but I think all the best things are.
When I look back, I feel like I stumbled into my marriage, blind and half-asleep. It felt like taking a risk, but maybe it always is.
I guess after five years, here’s what I’d have to say to my thirty-six-year-old self: “Good call. You made the right decision. You made the right decision because with each passing year, you feel luckier and luckier about the person you picked. A little bewildered, but in the best possible way. You’ve learned things about yourself you probably never would have on your own. You’ve learned that you like to be hugged, tightly and with great frequency. That it’s okay to store the drinking glasses right-side-up instead of upside down. That you like to sleep with your foot pressed against someone’s calf. That one of the best ways to enjoy a city is with a late (or early) afternoon pint at the bar.
“You’ve learned that you can seek comfort and receive it. It’s okay. You’ve learned that needing someone doesn’t make you weak. You’ve learned that the stability and comfort of two-ness makes possible more things than you ever could have imagined on your own.”