The day after our wedding, we were taken to the station by some of our closest family, and were seen off having been showered in confetti (again!) on the platform. The fleecy hood of my coat was covered in little specs of gold, navy and white paper which just stuck.
We had told hardly anybody where we were going, and asked everyone we did tell to keep it a secret. Honeymoons should be secret, after all! One member of our family had the details of the hotel we stayed in, and was instructed to ring the hotel only if someone had died. We planned to turn our phones off, and keep them off, until we got back. The intention was to have a few days of complete quiet, just to ourselves, after a very demanding period of our lives.
Edinburgh, where we went, was just wonderful. It was the perfect break. When I’m a bit down, I think of Edinburgh. When I’m tried, frustrated and utterly bewildered at the actions of my new housemate, in my mind, I take myself back to Edinburgh. We explored somewhere together and had nobody to please but ourselves. It was just delightful and it still makes my heart swell just thinking about it.
But all that confetti that has stuck in my coat? Over the past 6 months it has begun to fall away. I suspect that I have gradually dropped a couple of tiny bits of paper every where I have gone. I wear that coat most days, and every time, I think of the wedding, the station platform and Edinburgh. But it’s nearly all gone. I knew there would come a time when there would be no confetti left in my coat, and when that day came I felt that I would have thoroughly settled into marriage.
So now that the confetti has nearly completely faded, what have I learned?
It’s easier than being engaged. About 6 weeks in, I realised how much easier marriage is than being engaged. Being engaged is super exciting, but ultimately, it’s temporary. Nathan and I were 100% committed to each other when we were offered curacies together in neighbouring parishes. My theory is that other people only saw us as being this committed once we were married. But in my heart I was no more committed to Nathan when I went to sleep the night of the wedding than I was when I woke up that day. I was emotionally signed, sealed, delivered, long before that. So overall, I find marriage a smoother ride than being engaged.
That being said…
‘It’s been harder than we dreamed but I believe that’s what the promise is for’ – Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson. It’s the day to day stuff that’s hard. When storms blow, we can pull together and use the experience to become stronger. But in the day to day mundane, it’s easy to neglect each other. Whilst we were engaged, when I got the opportunity, I asked as many people as I could what advice they would give someone who was about to get married. I got bucket loads of great advice, from the well known ‘don’t go to sleep on an argument’ to ‘buy him/her a Freddo once a week, not flowers twice a year’. But what has really stayed with me is what my Mum said; ‘It’s about being the right person for your spouse every day. Again, and again, and again’. It’s no good being nazzy because I was patient yesterday. I need to be patient again. It takes work and most days I fail, but I know I want to be better.
A room mate is different to a house mate. So different. We may have spent a lot of time together in college, but we never shared all our space and it can be really tricky! But, apart from the awful Bible puns, the farts, the random sleep shouting and the inability to understand why one should separate washing into different piles based on colour, what’s not to love?!
We are family. Again, weird. If a decision needs to be made about turning off my life support (heaven forbid), it’s his call. But in all seriousness, the shift to a new next of kin is surprisingly difficult. As is calling a new place ‘home’.
Settling down. I have never appreciated until recently the power of these words. They have a variety of connotations for people, something restrictive, something dull, something to aim for, something way off, something around the corner. But I do feel more settled in this new phase of life. I guess with so much change recently, it’s nice to have something permanent.
So as the confetti fades, and the honeymoon phase is well and truly over, I find myself reflecting on the journey that came before this point. It was full of all kinds of bumps and scrapes, but it got me here and I love it. I love him. I love our daily teasing, frustrations and ‘minutes’. A ‘minute’ is a minutes cuddle on the sofa in the middle of a very hectic day. ‘A Minute’ is sometimes all we’ve got together before we flop into bed exhausted.
As the confetti fades, the excitement of the wedding might be over, but I feel a steady contentment which is even better than that.