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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Does marriage really change anything?

My wife and I got married on May 20th of 2006 after being together for roughly a year and a half. We did the long distance thing and then very untraditionally got engaged. This consisted of us talking about getting married, which took the spontaneous beauty of a proposal out of the picture in my opinion.

Ever since getting married, everyone asks "what does it feel like" or
"does it feel different now?"
If you ask my wife and me, it doesn't change anything. We still feel and act the same way we did before the wedding. Yes, it's official now but it doesn't mean we change who we are. It just changes the state of our relationship a bit, legally speaking. Kacy changes her name so I guess it would affect her more than me. We always laugh when people ask that because it makes us wonder if we're the only ones who feel this way.

Think about celebrities like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn who've been together for more than a decade but remain unmarried. Of course, there's also KISS bassist and "lord of the tongues" Gene Simmons who has somehow escaped marriage to Shannon Tweed even though they have two children. I totally understand Gene; who would want to marry a former Playboy playmate who genuinely wants to be married to you? He pokes fun at it with their annual "unniversary" while the children wonder how they ended up with such a clown for a father. At one point, Shannon performed an ambush wedding on Gene but once again he escaped.

However, we're not celebrities. Somehow, the veil of Hollywood casts an evil spell on all who attempt to enjoy wedded bliss. We working stiffs somehow have the ability to make our marriages last longer than a football season, if we're really committed.

To me it's simple.
I grew up in a broken home which is a lousy term for that situation.
I would see my dad on occasion, usually when it was convenient for him. As a kid, I didn't know any better though so it never affected me. I'm not the kind of guy to let my past dictate my future so these days my dad and I are good friends. Later in life, my sister finds it necessary to call my dad out for his lackluster performance. You see, she's my half sister as we have the same mother but my father was husband number two for mom. Needless to say, she and my dad had very different views on life and communication was an issue. Both of our parents have been married at least twice, my dad on his third. I think I can speak for both my sister and myself in saying that the experience had us coming away with more respect for marriage. She has been married now for more than eleven years, which is more than either of our parents have achieved thus far. Sure there have been some bumpy roads along her path of marriage, but she and her husband have found ways to continue down the road together and I couldn't be more proud of the example they're setting.

Marriage is something that I felt I had to be successful at, not only to learn from my parents, but to prove to myself that I could commit to someone and make it work no matter what. Little did I know before meeting my wife Kacy that marriage would be relatively easy. I don't think it's a matter of perfect compatibility, it's a matter of two people who truly believe in marriage and happen to just simply get along very well. There are instances of tension, but mostly caused by sarcasm or misunderstanding. Kacy told me long ago that she thinks the secret to marriage is to never go to bed angry. For all of you reading this, go ahead say it "gee, why didn't I think of that". It sounds so simple, but somehow divorce still exists in discouraging numbers.

I think that the introduction of a child is what changes the dynamic of a couple. There is so much to discuss and agree upon that never gets done until the baby is crying and there is no milk ready and someone forgot to pick up more diapers. That's when a couple starts to turn against each other if they're not prepared. Case in point, my sister. I think that before my wonderful nephews came around, she and her husband had their share of communication breakdowns but when it came to parenting styles the true wall was built inside each of them. It took them a while, but I feel like they're doing well overall.

I guess marriage and all that comes with it will be a different story for every couple out there.

So, I'd be interested to hear from our married friends or anyone who's married that wants to share.........."does it feel different to you?"

I personally think that even though I feel the same as I did before the wedding, a marriage is a very important experience to have. It teaches you how to work at something you believe in to keep it healthy. As for divorcees, I can understand that there comes a point when the relationship is not salvageable (in the event of cheating, as an example.) However, so many people these days are much too quick to throw in the towel. How about trying to work it out? Call me whatever you want, but I call myself an optimist. I also just believe in marriage as an institution that you need to maintain, rather than just something to do if you've been together long enough.

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