If someone had told me three years ago that I’d be a married woman by now, I would have said that they were out of their mind. No, really. I never thought that marriage was for me. I had had enough relationships to know that I was just not compatible with anyone. (Am I a difficult person to get along with? Maybe? I don’t know!) It all started on that fateful Thanksgiving day about three years ago…
I had just moved to the metro Phoenix area about 4 months prior. My new friend was having a sort of party at her house for Thanksgiving and seeing that I was all alone, she invited me to come over and hang out for the holiday. I wasn’t so sure because I am really uncomfortable around large groups of people, especially when I don’t know anyone, but I figured what the heck, it couldn’t hurt. I accepted the invite and brought a mango quinoa salad to share.
I arrived at her house not knowing what to expect. In fact, my social anxiety almost took over and I almost canceled; but determined to break out of my shell, I pushed my self to go anyway. I arrived and of course she was busy with the typical Thanksgiving dinner. She said a quick hello, shoved a glass of wine in my hand and pushed me out onto her patio where her husband and a couple of his friends were desperately trying to figure out how to fry a turkey. I made my way over to the corner, where I am most comfortable in these kinds of situations, where I could observe the situation. As I watched, one of the friends spotted me and came over to chat. After the usual get-to-know-you chat, I gave him the music test. Yes, I have a music test that I use to test potential suitors and he so passed it, which meant he won a date. And then the rest is history. Within months of knowing each other, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. It is just that type of fairy tale that we all dream of as little girls. We agreed that we didn’t want anything formal, that it was more important that our day was fun, that we get to relax, and have a good time. The most fun idea we could come up with was running away to Vegas on Halloween and getting married in costume. Which was just what we did. And it was awesome.
Since I am the last of my friends to get married, I have been told by all of them that marriage is really hard. Really hard? I had some trouble understanding why. One friend said it was the whole name change thing. Another said she no longer had any social life. It couldn’t be that bad, could it?
Now that I am a one-year veteran, these are my conclusions about the whole thing. I do agree, about the name thing. I hyphenated my name because I just couldn’t bear to give up my maiden name. Since my name has doubled in size, I do get lazy and just sign things with just my husbands name now and then. Changing everything that has your name on it is a pain in the butt, especially going to the social security office. The whole social life thing? I’m not so sure that it does kill off your social life since, being a homebody, I didn’t have much of one to begin with. So I guess I’m safe there.
There are a lot things I have learned in my first year of marriage. I believe the most important ones are how to have patience, how not to be selfish, and how to listen and communicate better. All of these things tie into each other and are really crucial in any relationship, not just marriage. We challenge each other to be better people, to chase our dreams; and we are extremely supportive of each other’s goals for life. I don’t know what the secret to a healthy marriage is and I feel it’s probably different for everyone. I think that it does take work but if you’re married to your best friend, maybe it won’t feel like work.
What’s my advice to singles and engaged couples? Don’t settle, it’s worth waiting for that person that puts a smile on your face everyday. Listen with your whole, undivided attention and try to understand where your partner is coming from. Don’t sweat the small stuff, if it won’t affect your future, it’s probably not worth picking a fight over. Most all, appreciate the little moments that make your relationship amazing and tell your partner you love them every moment you can.
Maybe I’m still in newlywed bliss, but so far, this is a change I can get used to.
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Photo: June Cambell via Flickr; Krystle Troia-Alvarado