When does “newlywed” end and just “married” begin?
As a new wife, I think I’m coming up to the transition. I can feel it. Things are settling. The early compulsions of brand-new, uneducated wifehood are changing.
It’s definitely a thing. I’d say it’s a good thing.
Are you recognizing these signs, too?
1. You’ve appropriately grieved the fact that your wedding is done, over, past.
There is a grieving process coming out of a wedding (did you know?):
Joy: Hallelujah the wedding is over!
Shock: OMG THE WEDDING IS OVER.
Sadness: I *sob* can’t believe *sob* the wedding is over!
Nostalgia: We had the most beautiful, perfect wedding, and it is now over.
Anger: Why is my one wedding of my lifetime OVER?
Indifference: Weddings. Whatever.
Generosity: Since my wedding is over, I’ll help other people plan their weddings!
2. You’ve given yourself permission to use paper plates.
At the wedding showers, you shone opening every new coffee mug. Something about claiming ceramic bowls and full-size dinner plates as your own inspires Downton Abbey-esque hospitality. You get the urge to host dinners and get out the gravy boat (not because you’re serving gravy, but just ’cause you’ve got a gravy boat).
A day does come where you get a guilty idea: paper plates. *oh!* Where did that thought come from? I love my dishes, I really do!
There are support groups for these kind of things. The guilt is real.
Give it a few months to learn the healthy balance between using a place setting and a paper plate. It’ll come.
3. You’ve (grudgingly) accepted the help of a crockpot.
It was tempting at first to make fancy dinners laden with special ingredients from the store. Homemade roasted red pepper sauce for your pasta. Risotto. Hand-breaded chicken tenders. You sought to win your husband’s heart with a whisk and a ladle.
You labor, sweat, spend the first six months of marriage washing dishes and mincing garlic and pulling obscure recipes from every cookbook on your shelf. You set a place before him. He eats. He walks away. It dawns on you: he is not impressed.
Slowly, you recognize a secret: your husband doesn’t expect you to cook like his mom. *Sigh of relief* Your husband will eat anything. Burned pancakes. He’ll say they’re not so bad. Grill him a burger or buy him Burger King, it doesn’t really make a difference.
You didn’t expect this. You settle for a happy medium: throw stuff in a crockpot and out comes dinner. High homemade factor, low effort. Everybody wins.
4. You let your husband be a boy.
At first, you butted heads, played mom, and overall got real bossy:
(at the grocery store) Um, no, nasty, I am not buying pizza rolls.
(bedtime) Seriously. Go brush your teeth!
(dinner table, at the appearance of an iPhone) Helloooo? Who came to dinner with us?
You thought if you called out the boyish things, he might say, How incredibly immature of me. Thank you for your comment.
Contrary to where you had hoped you might be 10 months in, your husband still catapults ice cubes at you during dinner. He enjoys serenading you with original, exclusive performances of Nonsensical Lyrics To The Tune of Famous Hymns. You get it now. It’s a case of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
He’s a Man/Boy. Let him be.
5. You can relate to Ma Ingalls.
When you read the series as a little girl, you dreamed of being best friends with Laura – making corn cob dolls and maple syrup candy.
Pa was the fun, brave one – with his fiddle and his farming. You thought Ma was a shadow in the background.
But now you see she was the backbone.
Now you think of Ma Ingalls and just want to give that woman a hug. Long-suffering angel! She killed chickens and cooked them for dinner. Some nights, you can barely get a frozen pizza in the oven for your one husband. You think of Ma, fending off the indians! You picture her heating water for her children’s baths over the fire, bucket by bucket, as you scrub your toilet. You don’t even have kids! You really don’t have it that hard by comparison.
You picture a marriage surviving in a lean-to on the prairie with few neighbors and many hardships.
If being a newlywed has been all unicorns and bubbles (or not), either way, you know that being a wife is not easy. Life promises hardship. Marriage, and homemaking, takes effort.
On the cusp of transition to a more settled period, you accept this: you’re in it for the long-haul.
Bring on phase 2.