“And then we can take it back to your house.”
“You mean our house.”
“We should go see my family.”
“Yes, I would like to see our family, too.”
“I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep paying this student loan payment…”
“You don’t need to figure it out, we will figure it out and take care of it.”
I have officially been married for four months now. To be honest, it seems like years ago that we stood in front of our friends and family. But it was four months. Sixteen weeks. In terms of time, it’s been nothing!
And it’s also been everything.
The above is just a snippet of conversations that have happened in that short time period since we said “I do.” And you can recognize the obvious trend. Marriage is so many things, I’ve discovered. It’s comforting. It’s funny. It’s full of love. It’s daily effort. It’s joyful. It’s constant communication. And it’s becoming a team. I love the idea of us being a team. The first time I heard my husband make this proclamation, I felt a sense of peace and belonging. But it wasn’t until my husband was constantly correcting me that I realized… I’m playing this game but I’m not even letting myself be a part of the team. Our team.
Since the moment I graduated high school and hit the road, I have desperately wanted to be independent. I worked almost full time through college to pay my own rent. Buy my own groceries. Have fun with my friends on the weekends. Luckily, my parents were there to bail me out whenever a crisis struck. Typically in the form of me destroying whatever car I was driving. (Sorry Dad!) But I digress. I wanted to say I did it on my own. I hated asking my parents for money when I came up short. And it didn’t just apply to my checking account. I wanted to make the right decisions. I didn’t want to just survive on my own, I wanted to thrive. And I wanted to show everyone that I did it without help.
My oh my, old habits are hard to break.
Ten years later, I still swallow hard when I realize I can’t do something on my own. Even in the years directly prior to becoming a married women, I still had to ask for help from time to time. And it never got easier.
And now, here I am, apart of a new team. On this team, I am not alone. In fact, my husband reminds me regularly that “we are a team.” Sometimes this makes me laugh. But most of the time, it makes my heart explode with love.
For years, I had no idea how much stress I put on myself to do everything on my own. To try to stomach every hurt. Carry every burden. To please everyone with my decisions. To be there when I was needed. It wasn’t until I started to let myself sink into the comfort of “our team” that I realized, truly realized, why two are better than one.
And because of it, I have so much more love. Surrounding me, given to me, and that I can give.
I clearly can’t claim to be an expert on marriage. Time or experience certainly doesn’t allow. But I would like to say of this simple thing I have learned:
To those of you who are seeking your “teammate.” All things aside, look for the one who always has your back. Look for the one who puts you first in every situation. And finally, look for the one who will stand next to you and gently remind you (however many times it takes) that together, you two are the ultimate team.
These days, I get a lot of practice telling people how married life is going. Naturally, it’s the number one question I get asked in this period of our lives. And yes, while I want to discuss how amazing marriage has been, from now on, I think I’ll simply smile and say “I’m on my forever team.” And really, that says it all.