The Only Thing Constant is Change

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Continuing to examine the reasons I was hesitant to take the matrimonial plunge again, we come to the “don’t screw things up” argument:

Heart-shaped leaf on wooden slats

image via stock.xchng | photography by eglanvil

Things are fine the way they are, why rock the boat?

This is, possibly, one of my greatest fears about taking the marriage plunge for a third time. Mainly because of the changes that occurred the first two times around.

~~~Story Time~~~

For most of my childhood, Mom was a single mom. She has a strong, dominant personality–a force to be reckoned with–and she raised my brothers and I to be responsible, independent individuals.

Being the rebellious teen, I did the exact opposite. I didn’t want to be a strong, independent individual! I wanted the picture of family I saw at church: strong husband, demur wife, kids and family abounding.

So that’s what I asked for, and that’s what I got. Sort of. Kinda? Okay, not even close, but there’s more to that story than is pertinent to today’s discussion.

The second time around I thought I’d learned quite a bit more about myself and what I wanted out of life. After being on my own for three or so years I had learned a certain amount of independence but, oh, I longed for the picture that had been painted for me all those years ago about the “perfect” marriage and family. I was a bit saucy, a bit daring, willing to try new things and go after what I wanted.

Until I signed that marriage certificate.

It’s like a switch flipped and I was back to being (trying to be, that is) the demur little wife.

If he considered my disagreeing with or correcting him a sign of disrespect, regardless of if he was wrong or not? Okay, I’d keep my thoughts to myself. Those who know me, now, wonder how I managed to do that. But I did. For close to three years.

~~~Back to Reality~~~

I wasn’t me when I was married.

More to the point, I was trying to be something completely different from how I’d been raised because I was caught up in what I thought a wife should be. And I really didn’t like it.

In fact, when Mr. Road Trip and I made the decision to move in together, I was scared that switch would flip again. What if I don’t want to cook dinner one night? What if I don’t clean up as much as he wanted me to? What if? What if? What if?

I knew how to have roommates and I knew (more or less) how to have a husband–I didn’t know any in-betweens.

But we’ve worked it out. We take turns cooking dinners and if one of us feels like bailing one night, we deal with it. It just so happens that we really like sitting down to dinner, together, every night so the fend-for-yourself nights are few and far between. Neither of us are neat freaks, we each do our own laundry and keep our own checking accounts and clean when necessary and don’t rag the other about something left undone.

Still, marriage changes you–even if you’ve been living together as good as married for years (which, we recently found out, is still technically illegal in the State of Florida–the hell?!), that piece of paper, the change in Facebook status, whatever, is going to change the way you see yourself, your partner and your life. I’m still a little scared of flipping that switch again, with the introduction of a marriage license. I’m hopeful, though, that the foundation we’ve built together will serve us pretty well so that after the party we’ll continue as we were but with more: more love, more days together, more fun to be had.

After making a new life for yourself, it’s hard to let someone in–truly in–to your life again. When it’s houses and leases and contracts it’s even harder. Suddenly you go from being the only decision maker back to decision by committee. That’s why Mom never remarried, or even dated, after Dad was out of the picture. Change was just too much of a chance.

But, you know, change isn’t always a bad thing, is it?

Did you ever experience a “Stepford-wife” syndrome?
What steps did you take (or have you taken)
to keep from having a repeat experience?

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