You see the true person. You grow tolerant of annoying quirks that come with sharing an apartment and a bed with another person. I forget to put things in their normal place and to close cabinet doors; something Matt is only too quick to point out to me. Laughing in an exasperated way, he points out my fault as he shuts the offending door. When Matt leaves stuff out from dinner that I find bleary eyed at 5 in the morning, I scoff sleepily, bemused and irritated. He is either terribly forgetful or a mastermind manipulator; I find I'm cutting myself off mid-sentence: "Matt can you put away din- oh, forget it, I'll do it." He's well trained me in the mindset: "If you want something done right (or at all), you have to do it yourself."
The quirks may irritate you to the point of annoyed banter, but you grow to tolerate them to some degree. You learn how to push each other's buttons and to ignore it when they do so... Most of the time. It’s trial run of working out the kinks, testing the waters before making that commitment…... But it really isn’t. If you live with someone, you know eventually you are probably going to become a married couple. It’s just a wait period before marriage. See how far you can push each other and still survive.
Matt and I are both more content to stay at home most of the time. One would say our lives are mundane and predictable. They are, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. A co-worker has said she'd never get married. But there's some stability in it. You have someone to lean on financially, even if neither of you have much. You have someone to come home to, to cook for. Someone to buy that candy bar for. Someone to tidy the apartment for. There's that consistency some people thrive on.
I know I'll plan and cook meals most days of the week. I get to cook whatever I want to make or feel up to making. After a twelve hour work day Matt is just happy that he doesn’t have to cook anything. He'd eat buttered toast if that was what I'd planned on serving. Actually, I'm pretty sure he's done that more than once.
It might be average but if Matt were reading this right now he's say "That's why they call it average."
That’s one thing long term and married couples probably don’t tell you. Most nights are spent in comfortable clothes cooking a simple meal and sharing their day. It’s cozy and comfortable.
There's something about being with someone for 6 years that barely scratches the surface of how love should be. Love starts out as a fireworks display of always wanting to be near that person. Infatuation. But after that fizzles out what do you have left? It reminds me of a line in the song The Book of Love.
“The book of love is long and boring/ And written very long ago
It's filled with flowers and heart shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know”
You learn over the years that love isn't supposed to be the firework of initial attraction. When that fades, what's left? Marriage isn't a whirlwind of travel, dates, first kisses and extravagant restaurants. It’s mostly long and boring with sparks of spontaneity. My cousin’s grandparents have been married for over 70 years. What’s their secret? Matt and I both know love evolves and changes over time. But it’s the couple’s job to see that it ages like wine and not milk.
As we approach the two week mark before the wedding, I find myself in the throes of Nervous Bride Syndrome. Whenever I speak of wedding plans at work, I become short of breath. Excited, nervous, anxious to get it all done and on time. I think about the wedding and about marriage almost constantly. I wonder what the hell I'm going to do with myself after, as the past year my identity has been "Bride". It presented endless chances to connect with regulars and new comers alike at work. People would cheerfully ask how many more days I had left while I got their coffee. It's an easy talking point for someone as shy as myself. Planning a wedding broke me out of a shell. I still hate speaking on the phone, but it's a little easier now. I was The Bride. Making plans and following through with e-mails.
I relished it in moments in trying on extravagant wedding dresses, make-up shopping and registry shopping. I loathed it when fights arose when Matthew and I could not or refused to see the others' point. I felt competent and functional shooting off half a dozen competent sounding emails.
But I don't feel like a Bride. I didn't bother too much with diets or gym trips. Never considered tans or waxing. I don't love diamonds or drunk bachelorettes. I
But what happens after the wedding? After the trip is over and we come back not as Bride and Groom, but Husband and Wife. The Good Family.
So, now what? Do we, as women go from Daughter, to Girlfriend, Fiance, Bride, Wife, Mother, Grandmother?…… Well, that's too feminist and philosophical for the moment.