Dear Wedding Well-wishers,
I would like to propose that we think of a better way to inquire after a newly-married person’s life. I include myself in this think-tank because I am just as guilty as anyone in this regard. We mean well – we want to extend congratulations and see how the new man and wife are getting along – but asking, “How’s married life?” puts a new bride or groom in a tough spot.
Let me rephrase that. It puts an honest person in a tough spot. When most of us are just wanting to be nice and acknowledge the person’s new status, why ask a question that promotes the idea that marriage is a bed of roses? The truth is, marriage takes work. Acclimating to marriage, especially in the first few months, can be challenging. Married life is full of adjustment, compromise, and self-sacrifice – all of which can be rather hard at times.
The difficult aspects of marriage do not diminish the joys and pleasures of married life (and aren’t those what we’re actually asking about when we inquire after a newlywed’s well-being anyway…). For myself, I love being married to my best friend, living in the same house, sharing the same bed. Those benefits of marriage can coexist quite happily with the tough parts. However, I think most people don’t vocalize both sides to the married life coin as often as they are asked about it after the wedding.
When well-wishers like yourself asked me how married life is, I may have shocked them with my answer: “Being married to Tim is wonderful, but married life is challenging right now.” Tim and I, especially, faced a lot of transition and unknowns within the first few months of our marriage, which probably contributed to my transparent answer.
I realize not every couple has this type of start to their married life. We didn’t have a home to call our own, and neither of us had permanent jobs. Two months after we got married, we still had no idea where we would be moving.
I also realize that you well-wishers are well meaning. But, if you’re looking for a one-word answer or small talk, you may want to rephrase how you ask about married life. When you run across an open person, their answer may take you by surprise.
You can find all my letters here.
For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.