The Fallacy of Newlywed...ness

    The other day, I was telling someone some story about Caleb and I, and they laughed and rolled their eyes and said, "Oh, you two are obviously still newlyweds." It made me stop and think because for one, no we're not. And for another, this person was shocked that Caleb and I are so nice to each other. That, obviously, is something that will go away with time. When we're done being newlyweds, and on to truly despising eachother, as we should be.
    I posted a link to this blog post the other day because it was something I've been wanting to write about, but of course he just says it so much better than I ever could. It basically just talks about how we all have this idea that men should respect their wives, but it doesn't work the other way around. I remember right after we got married, a lot of people asking Caleb, "So has she left you yet?" "Has she gone running home to her Mom yet?" Or some other equally insulting variation of that. Even though they were clearly kidding, it was a little bit strange that so many people asked him, yet nobody joked about that with me. Because, see, as the wife, when I got married I became burdened by this goofy, lazy oaf of a man who does nothing but drive me crazy as I cook for him and clean up after him and work hard so he can sit on the couch and watch the game.
I don't know how this started, but I'd say sitcoms are a safe bet.

According to TV, husbands are lazy and useless, and do nothing but sit around and drink beer all day. But that's ok, because this husband is married to a wife who is profoundly more intelligent than he is. She is left to micromanage every aspect of his life: his hobbies, his friendships, his career. When he inevitably messes things up like the big buffoon that he is, she steps in and makes everything better, and it's all just so darn entertaining.
    I hate to get on my soap box over something so trivial, but I can't help but feel a little bit offended for my husband, for husbands everywhere. What's worse, is it doesn't stay on TV. When we are bombarded with these images, we tend to become them. I can't tell you how many men I've seen fall into that role simply because they felt that's who they were supposed to become. Or how many women I've seen belittle their husbands with no regard for their feelings because they feel embarrassed by every little thing they do. I have all too often heard people say their husband is just like another one of their children.
     (Sidenote: I saw a meme about this on Pinterest the other day, so I was searching for the picture and accidentally stumbled across an article titled: "10 Reasons Your Husband is Just Another Child." It was full of such gems as "He gets hungry on long car rides and you have to give him snacks from your purse." and "You have to remind him where things go in the kitchen." Thank you for proving my point, Google.)

   We have to change our way of thinking. How is it ok that we demand respect from men, but don't feel any reason we should have to give it in return? 
   That was just my little segue into the other issue the comment mentioned earlier made me think about: this fallacy of being "newlyweds" or in the "honeymoon stage" of your relationship. I won't say it doesn't exist: being newlyweds is obviously very different than when you've been married a year, or five, or twenty. But that's only because of the newness. You appreciate each other more. You notice the little things in everyday more, the things that slowly go away or seem less important as you fall into a routine together.
Caleb and I love are a little bit obsessed with How I Met Your Mother.

    In one of the early episodes, Lily is upset because she's afraid she and Marshall have run out of "firsts." They've been together for years, and a lot of the newness is gone. I have to say, I would have been jumping up and down and cheering at this point. Maybe I'm weird, but man do I hate that newness. I hate first dates, I hate feeling uncomfortable or not myself. And man I hate getting dressed up everytime, worrying he'll come over early and see you without makeup, worrying you'll accidentally burp if you drink soda, accidentally burping when you drink soda. (Nooo, I'm not speaking from experience here. What?) I much prefer the closeness that comes with a long relationship. I can truthfully say Caleb is my best friend, and I'd take that over a first kiss with someone any day. 
   Still, I have felt the way Lily did myself from time to time. Not necessarily wanting a brand-new relationship all over again, but also wanting to avoid becoming an old couple that doesn't like each other anymore. Yes, I've felt like there was no in between. But then I realized something.
  When you're with someone long enough, your relationship is bound to change. But rather than focusing on the ways you've grown apart, why not focus on the ways you've grown together? Sure, you might fall asleep at night with a foot and a half of space between you, but before you fell asleep did you stay up late talking about your day? Do you dream about your life together, your shared goals? Do you congratulate each other on wins, and console each other during losses?

  I was blissfully in love the day we got married, but I had no idea what was in store for us. All I knew was we were both in it for the long haul, I had finally found someone I could spend forever with, someone who would love me unconditionally, through thick and thin. I thought I understood that. I was ready to commit, promise I'd be there for him too. But our first year of marriage really put it into action. It's one thing to say you'll love someone unconditionally, it's another thing to really love someone unconditionally. We went through so many ups and downs our first year of marriage. We disagreed about things. I got upset about dirty dishes. We stayed up too late and were too tired the next day. We did big things too: we bought our first home. We got a puppy. I got a new job. We lost a baby. All those things did so much more than bond us. They knit us slowly together into the family we agreed to become the day we got married.
  It's not going to be easy. You're going to drive each other crazy sometimes. But you don't have to get rid of all that "newlywed"-ness. You don't have to talk down to your husband just because he's your husband and you can. He doesn't have to spend all day in front of the TV just because you expect it. You don't have to become the couples you see every day on TV who treat each other badly and don't have an ounce of respect between them. Those couples are a dime a dozen. Instead, treat each other the way you did on your wedding day. Speak kindly. Hug them for no reason. Treat them like they are the greatest gift you've ever been given, not some burden weighing you down.
  You don't have to be a newlywed to act like one. And don't let anybody tell you that you should wish you were one again: all the ups and downs you've been through together since then are so much more bonding than that feeling ever was.

1 comment:

  1. Perfectly stated! If you give Respect and expect Respect in return, it is much easier to rub along and still like each other years down the road.:)