I’ve been trying to write this retrospective post for about two weeks now. This is, in fact, the 26th attempt according to WordPress. Which amazes me as I’ve never had any trouble writing any post for this blog, even the heavier topics that I’ve tackled. So I decided to take a deep breath and just let the words flow on their own- without thinking much.
Since we’ve been married for a year now, it only seems natural that I write about what’s happened since then and how I’ve come to adjust to this huge life change. After all, isn’t that (mostly) the purpose of this blog?
I want to tell you that I can’t believe it’s been a year since we had our first dance to Paul Anka’s Wonderwall. I want to tell you that I can’t believe it’s been a year since we traversed the streets of Berlin, caring about nothing else than having a great time together. I want to tell you that I can’t believe it’s been a year since we moved into our apartment, our very own space in this world. I want to tell you that I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I added on Ahmad’s last name to my work email signature and some of my social media accounts.
But the truth is, I do believe it’s been a year. I’ve taken in every single moment of the past 366 days- and am I ever glad that they’re over.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably going to think that I don’t like being married- or that I even regret making that decision. But while I never expected to be a wife at the age of 24, I have no regrets. In fact, I feel very fulfilled.
But if every publication and opinion is to be trusted, the first year of marriage is supposed to be the best. After all, you’ll only get this one year to bask in the newlywed glow before all the responsibilities (namely that of a family) begin to pile on. It is that first year that is so fundamental to ensuring your relationship with your partner grows and develops so that it doesn’t crack under the pressure of what will come later.
If those sources are in fact credible, I have failed at being a newlywed. I cannot think of a single moment after the honeymoon where I got to bask in that newlywed glow.
In fact, I like to think that I’ve hit the ground running since day one, trying to prove to myself first and foremost that I can have and do it all: I can be a good partner, I can be successful at my job, I can manage my house with little help, I can cook every single day of the week, and I can still maintain my interests and relationships with family and friends.
And I don’t know to what extent I’ve succeeded at doing all of the above.
I unexpectedly went through a period of “wedding withdrawal.” I say unexpectedly because the wedding in itself was not a huge priority of mine- but once it was over, it finally hit me that it had occupied such a huge part of my post-work life and interactions. After the first two months, when it was still acceptable to discuss that night, I found myself having very little to say. And it was my mistake for failing to immediately fill in that time with something productive.
As a result of that, there have been more days than I would like when I didn’t have a constructive conversation with Ahmad, when I was highly unproductive at work, when the house went without cleaning for a week, when we had to order in or eat out. And many more days when my interests took a backseat as I succumbed to my self-made conflict of trying to manage everything at once (the lack of blog posts is one way to show for that).
But then again, maybe it’s just me. I’ve always been too high-strung and full of unrealistic expectations for myself: never really giving myself a chance to adjust to something and learn how to be good at it, gradually. If the results aren’t immediate, I feel that something is wrong with me and tend to abandon whatever project it is.
Except with this particular project, it really doesn’t work that way. I realize that maybe I’ve spent far too long looking at things from the wrong perspective: marriage isn’t about being perfect- it’s about being happy.
And the many, many happy moments we have spent together this past year were ones when I wasn’t focusing on proving things to myself and everyone around me. It was about just us. Those are the moments that have been a reaffirmation that I’ve taken the right step, that I’m with a person who reciprocates my love- and wants our happiness to come first at all times.
I can safely say that it has taken me a full year to adjust to all the changes and that’s only normal. It was ridiculous of me to think it would take any less and to let my inner perfectionist put a damper on a chunk of our first year of marriage. There should not be a limit to how long you can feel like a newlywed, no matter what life throws at you- and since our return from Prague, I’ve felt just like when we came back from Berlin a year ago: excited, full of hope, and my heart bursting with love for Ahmad.
This is why I’m relieved that this “adjustment” period is over. Because now, it can go back to being about just Ahmad and I, once again. And that, I’m very much looking forward to.